New broadband subscribers spike in 3Q11, says Broadband Forum

Service providers added more new broadband and IPTV subscribers in the third quarter of last year than at any time since early 2009, according to the Broadband Forum. The figures, supplied by market research and analysis firm Point Topic, also show significant gains in FTTH and FTTx.

The Broadband Forum says that approximately 17.4 million lines were added in 3Q11. The new subscriber brought the global total to 581.3 million, a quarterly increase of 3.08% and an annual growth rate of 12.89%.

“These are very healthy figures for Q3 and they demonstrate the ongoing strength of the broadband market,” commented Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum. “We are especially pleased to see the trend in fiber technologies beginning to take off. Our G-PON certification program, launched in Q3 and with first certifications already in place, has been very widely welcomed and this is an indication that the market is ready for much further growth in this area.”

The figures show xDSL remains the most deployed technology, adding more lines than any other in Q3. However, in percentage terms both FTTH and FTTx/hybrid technologies showed the largest growth with over 8% overall, compared to 2.2% for cable modems and 2% for DSL, the Broadband Forum reveals. FTTx added just under 19 million lines in Q3 2011, more than twice the number in the same period last year. Taken together, the market share for fiber technologies – now at 16% – is fast approaching cable’s 19.5%, according to the Forum.

Said Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic, “Hybrid FTTx will be where the action is over the next few years. Consumers are showing signs of being ready to pay for faster connections and the hybrid solution set is a cost-effective way of getting relatively high speeds to them.”

With a rise of almost 1.5% in the year, the proportion of broadband subscribers in Asia continues to increase. Results from other regions were more muted, although both Europe and the Middle East and Africa saw better numbers in Q3 than in the same period in 2010. The Americas also performed better in Q3 than Q2, with overall net additions in subscriber lines rising by 309,518.

Asia continues to dominate with over 10.3 million more subscriber lines added in the quarter, higher than in Q2 and the same quarter in 2010. With over 246 million lines in total, Asia now has 42.34% of the total market share in broadband.

IPTV subscribers grew by 6.06% in the third quarter of 2011 and now total 54.4 million globally, the Broadband Forum added.

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