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Fixed broadband numbers near half billion

Stalled in Europe, boom in Asia

Growth in fixed broadband subscriptions has stalled in mature, already saturated European markets but is booming in the Asia-Pacific region.

The number of fixed broadband subscribers totaled just under 449 million in the second quarter of 2010, according to ABI Research’s most recent broadband subscriber Market Data.

This represents a 10 percent increase over the same period in 2009.

“The key fixed broadband subscriber growth was found in the Asia-Pacific region, adding approximately three million subscribers in the second quarter of 2010,” says digital home practice director Jason Blackwell.

Despite continued economic uncertainties in the European telecommunication market, European fixed broadband growth results were positive in the first half 2010.

However, growth was slower than that in 2009, especially in the saturated markets such as Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland.

According to research associate Khin Sandi Lynn, “In mature European markets, operators are resorting to bundled packages including TV, fixed telephone and broadband service in order to maintain ARPU.

“Overall European fixed broadband subscriber numbers surpassed 126.4 million at the end of 2Q 2010.”

In addition to price competition, the speed of the broadband package is still very much an important purchasing criterion.

Many operators are upgrading their existing networks to provide higher speeds.

For example, Jazztel, one of the leading broadband operators in Spain, has launched an Internet service offering up to 30Mbps based on new VDSL2 technology. Similarly, the cable operator ZON in Portugal covered 2.8 million homes with Eurodocsis 3.0.

In the Asia-Pacific region, China represents approximately 59 percent of total APAC broadband subscribers.

With 28 percent penetration, China’s broadband market has still enough room to grow, and Chinese operators may need to increase the current average bandwidth which is about 2Mbps.

Chinese broadband operators are gearing up to expand FTTx that would help to raise penetration as well as speed. ABI Research estimates that Chinese fibre broadband subscribers will total almost 34 million at the end of 2015 with a CAGR of 26.6 percent between 2010 and 2015.

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