As widely expected, the world passed the half a billion fixed broadband lines this summer, confirms research by broadband tracking analysts Point Topic. It found that at the end of June 2010, there were 498 million reported fixed broadband lines worldwide and with operators adding lines at a rate of 1 million lines a week, the half a billion mark was probably breached during the third week of July 2010.
Point-Topic started counting broadband lines in 1998 and says that by the end of the century there were only 1.3 million lines in existence. These were mainly in North America and delivered over the cable TV network. The development and widespread commercialization of xDSL technology changed all this of course, and it's staggering to think that in just over a decade we have added nearly all of these new broadband lines.
North America is even no longer the largest broadband market; China and the rest of Asia has now taken that mantel. On top of these fixed lines, we also are seeing more and more mobile broadband, either acting as a secondary line for some territories, or even as a complete fixed line replacement in others.
The quarterly report from Point-Topic looks at the latest broadband figures in more detail. Highlights of it include:
- Net additions were up 12% year-on-year from Q2 2009;
- Net additions in Q2 2010 were 12.75 million;
- Worldwide household penetration is now 31.6%, up from 28.2% a year ago;
- DSL is still the most common technology with 64% of total lines;
- Fiber connections are growing steadily and now stand at 13.2% of the total;
- The largest DSL market is in China and the largest fiber market is Asia;
- After China and the US, the next top broadband countries by total lines are: Japan, Germany, France, UK and South Korea.
After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.