Broadband users to hit 500m this year

Half a billion people will be using broadband connections within a year, figures released at the Broadband World Forum yesterday suggest.

Half a billion people will be using broadband connections within a year, figures released at the Broadband World Forum yesterday suggest.

The annual growth rate of 17% means 444.3 million people worldwide now have access to a broadband connection, according to figures prepared by Point Topic. They showed that Asia makes up 40% of the market, followed by Europe with 30% and the Americas with 28%.

The world broadband market added 12.9 million lines in the latest quarter, with the number of IPTV (television over internet) connections growing 11% to 26.9 million. The fastest-growing regions were Latin America (31.4%), Eastern Europe (29.4%) and South and East Asia (25.5%). Western Europe, which was the single biggest market at 110 million subscribers, grew 10%.

The leading countries were China, the US and Japan. The UK was sixth with 17.8 million subscribers, fewer than France or Germany.

DSL (digital subscriber line) continued to be the most popular transmission medium with almost two-thirds of connections, but fibre and wireless were each increasing their market share, the researchers said.

Broadband Forum chairman George Dobrowski said broadband adoption was not immune from the recession, despite the growth rates. "This year has shown that broadband expansion is not limited to the top industrialised countries, but is a key factor in assisting developing nations to gain a foothold in today's tough market," he said.

The figures were prepared for the Broadband Forum, the central body for next-generation IP network specifications.

The Broadband Forum

The Broadband Forum has around 200 members, including of most of the world's leading service providers, equipment manufacturers, chip vendors and other key organisations.

It defines and facilitates next-generation networks for local broadband access, mobile backhaul, business services, IPTV, gaming and other applications.

The Broadband Forum's formal BroadbandSuite release programme, technical reports and specifications are available on its website.

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