China to steal broadband lead from Europe

Asia Pacific will knock Europe off the top spot in terms of broadband and IPTV subscribers during 2011, with China and India powering the region ahead, figures from the Broadband Forum show.
The data, released at the IPTV World Forum in London yesterday, places China at the top of the rankings for total broadband subscriber numbers and net additions for 2010, and suggests India could break the top ten countries in terms of user growth during 2011.
China’s 4Q was aided by a standout year in terms of global subscriber growth. An extra 55 million broadband lines were connected, taking total subscriber numbers to 523 million.
Oliver Johnson, chief analyst at Point Topic – which prepared the data for the Broadband Forum -, called China’s subscriber growth a “juggernaut” that “continues to overshadow other markets.”
He notes growth in the country is accelerating, with increases in 4Q10 outstripping performance in the same period of 2008 and 2009.
However, China was not alone in registering higher Q4 net additions, with the US, Japan and UK also faring better in the most recent quarter. Germany is noted as a reasonable performer, however growth in France and Russia is showing signs of slowing, the Forum notes.
Europe’s position at the top of IPTV subscriber lists is also in jeopardy as growth slowed during 2010 due to market maturity in countries including France and Belgium.
By contrast, Asia Pacific recorded growth of 50% year-on-year, and is tipped by the Forum to become the leading region during 2011. The Middle East and Africa saw higher growth of 63.5% over the year, but the Forum notes it had a lower starting point.
Despite the slowdown, France remains the world’s leading IPTV nation, with subscriber numbers passing ten million during 2010. The Forum predicts China will overtake France during 1H11.
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