Global Broadband Subscriber Trends in Q1 2016

The end of Q1 2016 saw a significant growth of fixed broadband subscribers with the global total reaching 793m.

The higher than usual 2.15% quarterly growth was mostly caused by the developments in the Chinese broadband market. In fact, following the new data on China, we had to restate our global figure of fixed broadband subscribers for Q4 2015 significantly upwards.

Global broadband subscriber numbers and growth

The main trends that we can spot this quarter:

  • China recorded around a quarter of a billion fixed broadband subscribers at the end of Q1 2016.
  • Copper decline is accelerating, while fibre is growing at an increasing rate. The number of copper lines fell by 16%, while FTTH connections nearly doubled between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016.
  • China alone has contributed to the FTTH growth dramatically, more than doubling FTTH connections in the last 12 months. Vietnam, Spain, New Zealand, France and Switzerland all saw FTTH quarterly growth in double figures.
  • Italy, Slovakia, Greece and Germany reported the highest quarterly growth in VDSL lines, at 23%, 18%, 12% and 11% respectively.

Note: Our current figures for China are based on the data provided by the country’s main broadband market players. This data however contradicts some of the figures reported by the Chinese regulator, so we had to make a judgement call. As a result, we may have to review some of the figures next quarter.

Global broadband subscribers

In Q4 2015, the restated quarterly growth in global fixed broadband subscribers was 4.25%, and it was followed by a healthy increase in Q1 2016 of 2.15%. In both quarters the growth was driven mostly by China, and in particular China Mobile which reported very high fixed broadband subscriber figures, especially those based on the FTTH platform.

Regional trends

As could be expected, East Asia continues to dominate the global fixed broadband market, primarily due to the sheer size of the Chinese segment and its rather dramatic growth. In Q1 2016, more than half of the net adds in global fixed broadband subscribers came from this region.

Net adds by region

Technology trends

Between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016, the number of copper based broadband lines fell by 16%, while FTTH connections nearly doubled.

Growth by technology

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. Customers using the service can analyse current and historical fixed broadband subscriber data from more than 120 countries at country, operator and technology level. Please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail for more details.