The number of worldwide consumer broadband connections will reach 364 million by 2010, according to analyst firm Gartner.
At the end of 2005, 12% of households worldwide had a broadband connection, and by 2010, Gartner estimates that figure will reach 21%.
The mature market segment of Asia/Pacific and Japan will continue to account for nearly 40% of worldwide broadband connections. In this region, Gartner predicts that three-quarters of households will have broadband connections by 2010, compared with around half of North American and Western European households.
“The rapid rise in consumer broadband penetration in recent years has been largely driven by price cuts of more than 10% a year as well as increased service speeds,” said Susan Richardson, an analyst at Gartner.
In that time broadband has become one of the key revenue generators for operators, helping to counter declining revenue from services such as traditional voice and legacy data services.
However, said Richardson, as penetration in some markets heads towards saturation point, telecom carriers are facing up to the fact that a continued focus on acquiring new customers will not be enough to make price cutting profitable in the future.
New broadband services, such as video on demand, will be needed to generate extra revenues.
The analyst said broadband has achieved mass market penetration in Western Europe, with France, Germany and the UK leading in terms of absolute numbers.
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