Fiber and hybrid fiber has surpassed cable as the second most common broadband access technology after copper, according to the latest figures from Broadband Forum.
Fiber-based deployments accounted for nearly half of all new broadband sign-ups worldwide during the year leading up to Q3 2012, the industry group said in a new report.
The report, based on research from Point Topic, indicates that around 54 million new customers signed on for broadband services during the period - and 26 million of these are being served by fiber.
Hybrid FTTx accounted for a 16.77% share of the global broadband market, with pure FTTH making up another 2.93%. This compares to a 19.06% share for cable, and 57.81% for copper.
But in terms of subscriber growth, FTTx and FTTH were much closer. FTTx customers grew 26.8% between Q3 2011 and Q3 2012, while FTTH gained 22.5%.
Point Topic CEO Oliver Johnson said the global broadband market managed a growth of 12 million lines in Q3 2012 despite the harsh global economic climate.
“As the world gradually emerges from financial turmoil the continued growth of broadband has been a steady light in the storm,” he said. “We won’t see the triple digit growth of old but many markets are entering a phase of consolidation and consumer multi-service alignment.”
In news that lends credence to Point Topic's findings, research firm IDATE has separately published its own report suggesting that the European FTTH/B market grew a solid 15% in 2H12.
By mid-2012, the firm estimates there were nearly 7.3 million FTTH/B subscribers across Europe, and 33.8 million homes passed by fiber.
FTTB architecture now accounts for around 70% of FTTH/B rollouts, as this configuration allows operators to avoid the issues with negotiating access to private property to install lines, IDATE said.