The first billion: markets and technologies driving fixed line adoption today

Point Topic looks at the current and future trends in broadband take-up

In Q3 2018 the number of global fixed broadband subscribers exceeded 1 billion. This is part one of the analysis looking at where the next billion of broadband lines will come from.

Global fixed broadband subscribers – a milestone for the industry

According to the latest research by Point Topic, in Q3 2018 the number of global fixed broadband subscribers exceeded 1 billion, having increased by 2.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

The full report was published here, but to recap the main points:

  • Direct fibre connections (FTTP/B) continued to grow at high rates. Between Q3 2017 and Q3 2018, the number of subscribers using these technologies went up by 23%. Connections based on other forms of fibre grew by 6%, while those on copper dropped further by 8%.
  • Almost 82 per cent of global FTTH net additions came from China which reported a 6 per cent quarterly growth in fibre connections (25 per cent growth in 12 months to the end of Q3 2018). Elsewhere Argentina, Brazil, UK and France among others saw significant FTTH quarterly growth rates – 21%, 19%, 11% and 10% respectively. Meanwhile, Italy was one of the leading markets in terms of VDSL growth with a quarterly increase of 14%.
  • As in previous quarters, 70% of all new fixed broadband subscribers were added in East Asia which maintained the largest regional market share of all subscribers at 46%. Also, East Asia has again become the fastest growing region with a 3.9% quarterly growth rate. It was followed by Africa and Asia Other.

With Oceania and America Other being the next fastest growing regions, it appears that developing countries rather than the well-established European and North American markets is where the next billion of broadband subscribers will largely come from.

What happens next: broadband trends between 2018 and 2025

The current trends of fibre boom and of developing markets offering the highest broadband growth potential are confirmed by forecasts of broadband take-up in the next few years. Last month, Point Topic produced global fixed broadband take-up forecasts by technology for the first time. They cover projections of broadband take-up by DSL, FTTH/P/B, FTTC/VDSL, Cable and other technologies (mostly WiMAX, other wireless and satellite) for the period between Q3 2018 and Q4 2025.

The forecasts, which include data for the top 30 fixed broadband markets[1] and the Rest of the World (ROW), are based on Point Topic’s extensive historical data on fixed broadband take up, the trends in subscriber churn for various broadband technologies, the size of the addressable market at country level, and current and planned network upgrades.

Our forecasts predict that at the end of 2025 there will be 1.2 billion fixed broadband subscribers worldwide. Some 89 per cent of the fixed broadband subscribers will be in the top 30 broadband markets, ranked as such by the subscriber numbers recorded in Q2 2018.

Between 2018 and 2025, fixed broadband take-up in the top 30 markets will grow by 22%. Global take-up, including ROW, is expected to grow by 24%.

In the same period, fibre-based connections (FTTH/P/B) are expected to grow by 51% and FTTC/VDSL to go up by 28%, while copper-based connections (ADSL) are forecast to drop by 39%.

We predict that by end-2025 some variant of fibre (FTTH/P/B) will be used by 59% of fixed broadband subscribers globally, compared to 48% currently. In the same period, the share of DSL (ADSL) based subscriptions will drop from 19% to 9%, while the shares of cable and FTTC/VDSL based connections will remain largely stable at 19% and 12% respectively, despite the increase in their actual take-up figures.

In the next post we will look in more detail at the forecast broadband take-up churn by technology and country as well as broadband revenue – current and potential – across various markets.

Get access to full data

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 phone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail for more details.

[1] The top 30 markets are: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Romania, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam