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Global broadband growth remains steady

China is aiming for 250mn broadband users by 2015

New figures released today by industry body the Broadband Forum have revealed that global broadband growth remained steady in the first half of this year, with more than 29 million customers added in the six-month period to reach a total of 557.8 million worldwide.

The second quarter of this year also outperformed the previous three-month period, as countries like China continue to ramp up their broadband growth. India, Brazil and Russia were at the top of the growth rankings for broadband in the second quarter of this year, with India reporting quarterly growth of 6.68 per cent and yearly growth of 30.34 per cent. Brazil came second with a quarterly growth rate of 5.13 per cent and a yearly growth of 22.36 per cent by the same comparison.

Asia was the leading broadband region in terms of subscribers, and continued its sustained growth both in subscriber numbers and in percentage terms. The Asian markets have between them put on 55.5 per cent of the total net additions in the year to the end of June 2011, and 61 per cent of the net additions in the quarter. China continues to dominate the world rankings for broadband, accounting for over 45.7 per cent of all subscriptions added in the quarter and 39.9 per cent in the 12 months to June 2011.

Compiled by industry analysts Point Topic, the figures also revealed that the milestone of 50mn IPTV subscribers worldwide was passed in the first half of this year, with 9.2 per cent of the world’s broadband homes now subscribing to an IPTV service, as Europe continued to dominate growth in the second quarter of this year, with strong growth in France, Romania, Russia and Belarus.

The competitive and regulatory environment in these countries, together with a relatively high broadband penetration, mean that all these markets show good prospects for future growth.

Asia has increased its share of worldwide IPTV subscribers by nearly five per cent in the past year, according to the report, and is showing signs of accelerating in a number of markets. Indeed, Asia is described as being likely to overtake Europe in 2012 in terms of IPTV subscribers.

France still leads with 11.05 million IPTV subscribers – representing over 50 per cent of French broadband lines. In contrast, China’s 10.5 million IPTV subscribers are equivalent to around 7.6 per cent of broadband lines. Many of China’s IPTV subscribers are in Hong Kong and Shanghai, so there is “considerable” room for expansion, according to the report.

Growth in the remainder of the top ten IPTV nations is believed to be healthy, with all markets apart from Spain reporting “significant” double digit growth in the 12 months to June 2011.

G-PON interoperability is critical to expediting fibre rollouts, and there are many strong market drivers for interoperability, according to the industry body: the need to facilitate competition and promote G-PON as an open technology, the need to address various operators’ survives in multi-vendor environments, and the need to enable business models where the retail service provider may not operate the access network.

As a result of this, the Broadband Forum launched today a G-PON certification program, which is intended to address the above issues and expedite fibre network rollout. It is based on test plans developed by the Broadband Forum and work undertaken jointly with FSAN (Full Service Access Network).

Beta testing is now completing, and the Broadband Forum expects the commercial program to open to industry participation in October of this year. The program is open to Broadband Forum members only, and once certificates have been granted, the vendor is allowed to use the Broadband Forum certification logo. Testing will be made available through approved independent testing agencies – Iometrix (based in the US and China) and LAN (based in France).


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