Global broadband subscriber numbers – Q1 2013

Copper broadband subscriber numbers continue to fall in 2013

Point Topic tracks the take-up of fixed broadband services at country and technology level across the globe. This report looks at the latest growth trends up to the end of Q1 2013.

Global broadband subscriber numbers

At the end of March 2013, global fixed broadband subscriber numbers stood at 654.6m. So far in 2013, over 12.5m new broadband lines were added globally. Quarterly growth at the end of Q1 2013 was 2.0% and broadly consistent with growth in the previous three quarters.

Compared to the same period last year, subscriber numbers have grown by nearly 8%.

Point Topic - fixed broadband subscriber numbers - Q1 2013

Regional fixed broadband subscriber numbers

Statistics for each global region tend to be dominated by the performance of one or two dominant countries – as indeed do the overall global trends.

East Asia continues to have the largest market share, with 37% of the overall market in Q1 2013. This is primarily driven by the dominance of China within the overall broadband league tables.

Europe and Latin and Central America posted slower growth than in the previous quarter. All other regions have grown more rapidly than in the previous quarter. Market saturation and economic factors are playing a significant part in slowing broadband adoption in mature and western hemisphere countries.

fixed broadband subscriber numbers

It’s not surprising that those regions with the lowest penetration have the highest growth as they continue to gain customers from households without any fixed broadband subscription. In high penetration areas, the addressable markets (ie those that are in the footprint of fixed deployments) are often close to saturation.

East Asia accounts for 49% of all net additions across the world. This percentage has increased since the last quarter, due to slowed growth across Europe and North America.

Broadband subscriber numbers by technology

Copper based technologies (DSL, ADSL and ADSL2+) continue to be the dominant technologies for broadband access. However we continue to see their total subscriber numbers drop in 2013.

At the end of 2012 we reported the first drop in subscriber numbers for copper as 415k subscribers were lost in Q4. In 2013 subscriber numbers continue to fall but at a much greater rate, with 2.77m subscribers lost in Q1.

The other main technology groups are cable and fibre. Within this analysis, we distinguish between fibre to the home (FTTH) and other forms of fibre (FTTx). We also track subscriber numbers for wireless, satellite and other fixed broadband access technologies. In most reporting here we focus on the three main technologies of fibre, copper and cable.

Point Topic - fixed broadband subscriber numbers by technology - Q1 2013

Fibre technologies continue to dominate the overall trends in growth, with fibre (FTTH and FTTx combined) experiencing a growth of 9.8% within the quarter. The overall market share of fibre technologies is now 22%, making fibre the second most popular access technology after copper. The market share for cable remains static at around 19%, as both cable and fibre take subscribers from copper services.

FTTx has grown much more rapidly than FTTH in the quarter. Countries posting the highest growth are Belarus, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Spain and Turkey. In particular, the United Kingdom has contributed significantly to FTTx net additions, as the incumbent BT continues the national roll-out of its VDSL network.

Find out more

The data used in this summary report is taken from Point Topic’s Global Broadband Statistics service. Customers have access to the actual database as well as the full version of this analyst report. Please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail for more details.