Three-quarters of a billion broadband homes expected globally by 2017

The number of broadband homes worldwide will increase from 473mn in 2010 and an expected 578mn in 2012 to an impressive 745mn in 2017, according to a new report from UK firm Digital TV Research.

The study adds that two Asian economies will together contribute over half (57%) of the 167mn additions forecast over the next five years – China with 73mn and India with 22mn.

China is expected to remain the top nation by fixed broadband households in 2017, with 251mn homes – more than double the 120mn recorded in 2010 (when China was also the leader). The US will retain second place (101mn in 2017 – up by 20mn from 2010).

Global fixed broadband household penetration is expected to reach 49.2% by 2017, up from 33.5% in 2010 and 40.3% by end-2012. In 2017, household penetration will range from 93.7% in South Korea to 14.0% in India and Indonesia.

Report author Simon Murray said: “Perhaps just as interesting as the overall increase in fixed broadband household numbers is the shift of homes subscribing to faster download speeds.

“Many governments have initiated National Broadband Network projects, which involve extensive capital expenditure to build out modern (usually fibre) networks. In other countries, greater competition has encouraged operators to construct fibre networks from their own initiatives.”

Three-quarters of fixed broadband households received download speeds of less than 10Mbps in 2010, with only 2.3% above 30Mbps. The under 10Mbps proportion will have fallen to 58% by end-2012, and will drop to 31% by 2017.

In contrast, the greater than 30Mbps proportion will reach 7.2% by end-2012, rapidly advancing to more than a quarter of the total by 2017.

About a tenth of fixed broadband households will receive speeds in excess of 100Mbps by 2017 – up from 1.6% at end-2012 and 0.4% in 2010. Sweden (25.5%) will have the highest proportion, with India (3%) the lowest.

So there will be 75.7mn homes receiving speeds in excess of 100Mbps by 2017, up from 1.7mn in 2010 and 9.2mn at end-2012. The US (17.2mn) and China (15.1mn) will together supply 43% of the global total in 2017.

The declines in the less than 2Mbps category will be “dramatic”, says the study, with numbers halving between 2010 and 2017 to 71.7mn.

Chinese broadband users on speeds lower than 2Mbps will drop from 60mn to 37.7mn. India will actually increase – from 6.6mn in 2010 to 11.4mn in 2017. However, the US will fall from 14.2mn in 2010 to nothing by 2017.

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