The number of broadband subscribers around the world shot past 600m in Q1 2012, indicating a further boost in growth as more than 100m new lines were added (20pc of the total) in less than 18 months, new figures show.
The report published by the Broadband Forum and prepared by broadband industry analysts Point Topic reveals that globally, the growth in broadband during Q1 of 2012 was estimated at 16,118,210 lines, up from just more than 14m in the last quarter of 2011.
This represents a quarterly rise of 2.7pc and an annual increase of 11.48pc.
"This is another significant milestone in an exciting arena that shows no sign of slowing down," said Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum.
"It is just 18 months since we celebrated the 500m subscriber watershed and even less time since IPTV subscribers reached 50m – yet in both cases growth is still accelerating.”
Regional broadband rankings
Asia is still the biggest overall region, with 262,080,147 subscribers, having added 8,575,397 new lines at a growth rate of 3.38pc in the quarter and 15.19pc in the year. Europe displayed a growth rate of about 9pc in the year.
The Top 20 Broadband Country Rankings reveal Russia, Brazil and India as continuing to show above-average growth rates both in the quarter and annually, with Ukraine and Turkey also showing high growth. Ireland has yet to rank on that top 20 list.
China houses the highest number of new subscribers, with annual growth of 26.4m (19.17pc annual growth rate).
The highest annual growth rates are Russia’s 27.43pc and Ukraine’s 26.82pc, with China, India and Brazil also posting double-digit annual increases.
Strong growth in fibre
"DSL is the most popular access technology on a global basis: although its market share has dropped by 0.5pc in the quarter, there is a long way to go before the copper-based access technology is overtaken," said Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic.
"For fibre, the cost-effectiveness, from the operators’ point of view, and the significant increase in bandwidth over DSL in particular, is hitting the sweet spot at the moment in terms of technology market share."
IPTV rises to 65.6m
IPTV, the most demanding application for high-speed broadband, now has 65.6m subscribers, up 3.m in the quarter.
The Asian market is advancing the fastest, with the strong leader, China, having added more than three times as many IPTV subscribers in the quarter as any other country.
This gap is likely to increase even further, though both France and the US are reporting strong numbers and accelerated growth in the report period, the report says.
Top 20 broadband countries
Global broadband image via Shutterstock