World Broadband Statistics – Q1 2017

Point Topic has published Q1 2017 broadband subscriber figures

In Q1 2017, the number of global fixed broadband subscribers grew by 2.36% quarter-on-quarter. The total number of fixed broadband subscribers stood at 875.1m.

Summary of key findings

At the end of Q1 2017, the quarterly growth of fixed broadband subscribers saw a boost and stood at 2.36 per cent. The global number of fixed broadband subscribers stood at 875.1m.

The main trends that we spotted this quarter:

  • In Q1 2017 the highest growth q-o-q was recorded in East Asia, Asia – Other, and Oceania. The boost in these regions was influenced by the double-digit growth in the number of FTTP connections: 19 per cent in Australia, 16 per cent in New Zealand, 11 per cent in Vietnam and 8 per cent in China, among others.
  • Copper decline continued, though at a slower pace than in the previous quarter. In Q1 2017, the fall was especially notable in Europe and Oceania, where due to the boost in FTTH and VDSL, the share of copper dropped by 2.1 per cent.
  • In 12 months to the end of Q1 2017, China added 76 million FTTH connections. This figure is almost twice as high as the total fixed broadband subscribers in Japan.

Global and regional trends

Figure 1. World broadband subscriber numbers and growth. Source – Point Topic.

In Q1 2017, the number of global fixed broadband subscribers grew by 2.36% quarter-on-quarter. The growth picked up compared to Q4 2016 and was almost as high as in Q3 2016 (Figures 1 and 2).

Quarterly growthFigure 2. World broadband subscriber quarterly growth figures. Source – Point Topic.

In Q1 2017, 71 per cent of all net additions in fixed broadband subscribers came from East Asia (Figure 3), up from 49 per cent in Q4 2016. The quarterly growth rate in this region was the highest among all regions and stood at 3.9 per cent (Figure 4).

Figure 3. Share of net adds in fixed broadband subscribers by region, Q1 2017. Source – Point Topic.

In Q1 2017 the next highest growth q-o-q was recorded in Asia – Other (2.5 per cent) and Oceania (2 per cent). In the case of Asia – Other, countries such as Vietnam saw particularly impressive growth driven by an 11 per cent increase in FTTP connections. In Oceania, New Zealand and Australia recorded 16 per cent and 19 per cent quarterly boost in FTTP connections.

Figure 4. Penetration and quarterly growth by region (size of bubble represents subscriber volume in Q1 2017). Source – Point Topic.

Technology trends

The share of copper based technologies (DSL, ADSL and ADSL2+) in the total subscriber figure continued to fall in all regions. In Q1 2017, the fall was especially notable in Europe and Oceania, where FTTH and FTTx, which includes VDSL, started to gain more ground. The share of copper in both these regions dropped by 2.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter (Figure 5).

Figure 5. Technology market share by region, Q1 2017. Source – Point Topic.

Overall, the share of FTTH connections in total fixed broadband subscribers continued to increase in all regions while the share of cable based subscriptions dropped slightly in Asia and Oceania as operators migrated subscribers from legacy cable networks to FTTH and VDSL platforms.

In terms of the annual changes, the number of copper lines globally fell by 7 per cent, while FTTH connections increased by 40 per cent between Q1 2016 and Q1 2017 (Figure 6). These figures are slightly less dramatic compared to the previous quarter but the trend of copper to direct fibre substitution remains prominent. The negative growth in FTTx lines was caused mainly by this technology being replaced with FTTH on a large scale in China. At the same time, fixed wireless technologies are increasingly giving way to 4G LTE based mobile broadband access. In fact, it is offered as one of the ways to get broadband at home in several countries and regions, for example Scandinavia and Eastern Europe.

Figure 6. Annual growth in technology subscriber numbers (%). Source – Point Topic.

Globally, from Q3 2015 FTTH is used by more broadband subscribers than cable. With an increasing number of fibre network upgrades to gigabit speeds being announced regularly by operators worldwide, this trend is likely to continue. As the same time, a number of cable providers especially in Canada and the US are responding with Docsis 3.1 deployments also capable of gigabit speeds.

Top broadband countries

The top ten countries by the total fixed broadband subscribers remained unchanged since Q2 2016 (Figure 7). However, in Q1 2017 France regained the fifth place in the rating. China passed a quarter of a billion fixed broadband subscriber milestone in Q1 2016 and continues to grow at impressive speed.

Figure 7. Country ranking by broadband subscribers in Q1 2017. Source – Point Topic.

Figure 8. Broadband subscribers added in Q1 2017. Source – Point Topic.

 China also dominates globally by the number of quarterly net additions in fixed broadband subscribers, mainly driven by FTTH rollout on a massive scale. In 12 months to the end of Q1 2017, the country added 76 million FTTH connections.

This quarter, Italy and India are the new entrants in the Net Adds Top 10 ranking.

Get access to the full report and data used in it

The data used in this report is taken from Point Topic’s Global Broadband Statistics service that allows customers to analyse the datasets covering fixed broadband subscribers in more than 120 countries at country, operator and technology level. Please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail simona@point-topic.com for more details.

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