World Broadband Statistics – Q1 2018

Point Topic has published Q1 2018 broadband subscriber figures

At the end of Q1 2018, the quarterly growth of fixed broadband subscribers stood at 2.21 per cent. The global number of fixed broadband connections stood at 952m.

Summary of key findings

At the end of Q1 2018, the quarterly growth of fixed broadband subscribers saw a slight boost compared to the previous quarter and stood at 2.21 per cent. The global number of fixed broadband connections stood at 952m.

The main trends in Q1 2018:

  • Copper connections continue to decline, having dropped by 7 per cent in the last year, while FTTH/B/C connections increased by 28 per cent in the same period.
  • Around 78% of global fixed broadband subscriptions are fibre (FTTH/B/C) and cable based.
  • China continues to be at the forefront of fibre adoption. In 12 months to the end of Q1 2018, China saw FTTH connections grow by 26%. This figure constituted 80% of global FTTH net adds in the period.
  • Elsewhere Brazil, Italy, France and New Zealand among others saw FTTH quarterly growth rates in double digits.

Global and regional trends


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

In Q1 2018, the number of global fixed broadband subscribers grew by 2.21 per cent quarter-on-quarter. The growth picked up this quarter compared to Q4 2017 but was lower than in Q1 2017 (Figures 1 and 2).


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

In Q1 2018, 64 per cent of all net additions in fixed broadband subscribers came from East Asia (Figure 3), which also maintained the largest regional market share of all subscribers at 47 per cent. Overall, the market shares of all regions remained mainly unchanged since Q4 2017. The quarterly growth rate in East Asia increased to 3.1 per cent, compared to 2.8 per cent recorded in Q4 2017. The rest of the world experienced a slowdown except for the Americas where quarterly growth rate increased by 0.24 per cent in North America and 0.20 per cent in America Other (Figure 4).


Figure 3. Share of net adds in fixed broadband subscribers by region, Q1 2018. Source – Point Topic.

In Q1 2018, the next highest growth q-o-q was recorded in Asia – Other (3.05 per cent), where Indonesia alone saw a 9 per cent quarterly growth in the fixed broadband customer base.

Direct fibre connections continue to grow at impressive rates. In 12 months to the end of Q1 2018, 80 per cent of global FTTH net additions came from China. The country reported a 26 per cent annual growth in FTTH connections.  Elsewhere Brazil, Italy, France and New Zealand among others saw FTTH quarterly growth rates in double digits – Brazil and Italy at 16%, France at 11% and New Zealand at 10%.

Figure 4. Penetration and quarterly growth by region (size of bubble represents subscriber volume in Q1 2018). Source – Point Topic.

Technology trends

The share of FTTH connections in total fixed broadband subscribers continued to grow in all regions, with highest growth recorded in Asia and Oceania. At the same time, the share of cable-based subscriptions dropped slightly across all regions, as subscribers are migrating from legacy cable networks to FTTH and VDSL platforms.


Figure 5. Technology market share by region, Q1 2018. Source – Point Topic.

In terms of annual changes, between Q1 2017 and Q1 2018 the number of copper lines globally fell by 7 per cent, while FTTH connections increased by 23 per cent and FTTx by 5 per cent (Figure 6). The trend of subscribers dropping copper in favour of fibre, whether it’s FTTH/B or FTTC, continues.

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

It should be noted that high fibre broadband penetration does not necessarily mean consumers in various markets are offered equally competitive pricing. For example, the median residential fibre broadband tariff in China is almost twice as high as in Japan, with similar fibre penetration levels and direct fibre (FTTH/B) dominating in both countries (Figure 7). Among the selected countries displayed in the chart, Brazil, India and Turkey appear to be the most attractive markets for potential fibre providers as low penetration and high end-user price mean favourable competitive climate.

Subscribers to our Double Play and Triple Play services which include Global Subscriber Statistics and Broadband Operators and Tariffs can perform further analysis by combining these two datasets and draw their own conclusions. (Note: international US dollars at PPP rates were used for tariff comparison across difference countries).


Figure 7. FTTH/B/C broadband penetration and residential median tariffs ($PPP) in selected markets

Top broadband countries

The top ten countries by the total fixed broadband subscribers remained unchanged since Q2 2016 (Figure 8). China passed a third of a billion of fixed broadband subscribers and continues to record the largest broadband net adds globally (Figure 9).

Figure 8. Country ranking by broadband subscribers in Q1 2018.  Source – Point Topic.

Figure 9. Country ranking by broadband net additions in Q1 2018.  Source – Point Topic.

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. The data is also available as part of our Double Play and Triple Play service. Please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail simona@point-topic.com for more details.

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