World Fixed Broadband Statistics Q2 2020: Growth recovers after recent slowdown

Point Topic has published Q2 2020 broadband subscriber figures

At the end of Q2 2020, the number of global fixed broadband connections stood at 1.136bn. Following a slump in Q1 2020 impacted by the pandemic, in Q2 2020 the quarterly growth bounced back and stood at 1.65 per cent, almost as high as in Q2 2019.

Summary of key findings

At the end of Q2 2020, the number of global fixed broadband connections stood at 1.136bn. Following a slump in Q1 2020 impacted by the pandemic, in Q2 2020 the quarterly growth bounced back and stood at 1.65 per cent, almost as high as in Q2 2019. Still, the extent of the recovery varied across different markets, with 26 countries reporting a decline in fixed broadband subscriptions in Q2 2020, compared to 28 in Q1 2020[1]. Overall, however, it looks like the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have not stifled the growth of fixed broadband markets. Not surprising perhaps, as a significant number of people all over the globe have been working from home and spending more time overall using bandwidth intensive solutions.

The main trends in Q2 2020:

  • Just over 53 per cent of all net additions in fixed broadband subscribers came from East Asia, which also retained the largest regional market share of all subscribers at 47 per cent.
  • At the country level, in Q2 2020, fixed broadband subscribers grew in 80 per cent of 131 countries covered in this report.
  • China added 9.2 million fixed broadband subscribers, along with 60 million 5G customers.
  • The highest fibre broadband growth rates were in the developing markets, with Ireland, Belgium and France also reporting significant growth.
  • Between Q2 2020 and Q2 2019, the number of copper lines globally fell by 11.7 per cent, while FTTH connections increased by 11.4 per cent.

[1] It is possible there will be restatements in the coming quarter/s and single period data should be viewed in that light. 

Global and regional trends

Figure 1. Trends in world broadband subscriber growth. Source – Point Topic.

In Q2 2020, the number of global fixed broadband subscriber growth recovered and stood at 1.65 per cent quarter-on-quarter, with the number of connections reaching 1.136 bn (Figures 1 and 2).

Figure 2. Global broadband subscribers and quarterly growth rates. Source – Point Topic.

Just over 53 per cent of all net additions in fixed broadband subscribers came from East Asia (Figure 3), which also retained the largest regional market share of all subscribers at 47 per cent (Figure 4). Compared to Q1 2020, East Asia increased its market share by 0.4 per cent at the expense of all other regions, except Africa.

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

Figure 4. Share of fixed broadband subscribers by region. Source – Point Topic.

In terms of quarterly growth rate, in Q2 2020 it was higher in all regions compared to Q1 2020. The differences were especially notable in Africa, Asia Other and Eastern Europe (Figures 5 and 6).

Figure 5. Quarterly growth in fixed broadband connections by region, Q2 2020 vs Q1 2020. Source: Point Topic.

Figure 6. Fixed broadband subscriptions: quarterly growth compared. Source: Point Topic.

Oceania maintained the lowest market share of global fixed broadband subscribers at 0.9 per cent. It was followed by Africa with 1.7%. With the lowest fixed broadband penetration at 3.7 per cent, Africa grew fastest in Q2 2020, though from a low base. Like in the previous quarter, the growth was slowest in the mature markets of Europe and North America (Figure 7).

Figure 7. Penetration and quarterly growth by region (size of bubble represents subscriber volume in Q2 2020). Source – Point Topic.

At the country level, in Q2 2020, fixed broadband subscribers grew in most markets (80 per cent of 131 countries covered in this report).


Figure 8. Growth in fixed broadband subscribers across different countries, Q2 2020. Source: Point Topic (Access the interactive map here).

The largest broadband markets all saw a positive growth this quarter, and in the majority of them it was higher than in Q1 2020, largely due to the increase in demand for broadband connections from home-staying workers and families.

Figure 9. Changes in quarterly growth in fixed broadband subscribers in the largest markets. Source: Point Topic.

Technology trends

Between Q2 2020 and Q1 2020, the market share of FTTH connections in the total fixed broadband subscriptions continued to grow – it went up by 0.72 per cent. The share of copper-based subscriptions (ADSL) continued to deteriorate and fell by 0.61 per cent. FTTx and cable subscriptions dropped by 0.06%. Copper based connections still dominate in Africa, while cable is the prevalent technology in the Americas and FTTH has the largest market share in Asia.

Figure 10. Technology market share by region. Source – Point Topic.

At the country level, in Q2 2020, the highest FTTH/B/P  growth rates were in the developing markets, in some cases from a low base, with Ireland, Belgium and France also reporting significant growth.

Figure 11. Top markets by FTTH/B growth rate in Q2 2020. Source: Point Topic.

In terms of additions to fibre broadband connections in Q2 2020, China led with 10.3 million. Brazil added 1.6 million fibre subscriptions, while France, Thailand, Viet Nam and Japan reported half a million or more quarterly fibre additions.

Figure 12. Top markets by FTTH/B/P net additions in Q2 2020. Source: Point Topic.

Meanwhile, FTTx/VDSL growth rates were predominantly in single figures this quarter. Several countries saw a decline in such subscriptions, mainly due to subscriber migration to direct fibre. China, New Zealand, Chile, Brazil, South Africa, and Denmark are some examples of this trend.

Figure 13. Annual growth in subscriber numbers by technology. Source – Point Topic.

In terms of annual changes, between Q2 2020 and Q2 2019 the number of copper lines globally fell by 11.7 per cent, while FTTH connections increased by 11.4 per cent (Figure 13). Wireless (mostly FWA) and satellite connections saw a healthy growth as these technologies are increasingly used to cover broadband ‘white spots’.

Top broadband countries

The top ten countries by total fixed broadband subscribers remained unchanged since Q2 2016 (Figure 14). China is approaching half a billion of fixed broadband subscribers, having added 9.2 million this quarter (Figure 15), down from 11.9 million in Q2 2019. The country is experiencing a dramatic growth in 5G subscribers, with nearly 60 million added in Q2 2020 alone, which should slow down the growth of fixed broadband connections even further.

Figure 14. Country ranking by fixed broadband subscribers in Q2 2020.  Source – Point Topic.

Figure 15. Country ranking by fixed broadband net additions in Q2 2020. Source – Point Topic.

The smallest and well developed economies are among the top 10 countries by fixed broadband penetration.

Figure 16. Country ranking by fixed broadband penetration in Q2 2020. 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.