World broadband statistics - Q4 2008

There were 13.77 million broadband lines added in Q4 2008 taking the world total to 410.9 million lines.

The global economic turmoil had a significant effect on growth almost across the board, but while growth was down compared to the same quarter in 2007 there were many countries that improved on their performance in Q3 08.

Figure 1: Top 10 broadband countries - total lines


France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Singapore and The Philippines all grew more quickly than in Q308 and there were strong numbers from Czech Republic, Belarus, Croatia and Slovakia.

Overall however worldwide growth was down on Q308 due to significant slowdowns in net adds in many of the countries that have been the powerhouses of 2008.

Growth in China halved in the quarter, the US continues to slow but while India, Brazil, Russia and Mexico were all down on Q308 they still reported impressive figures against the backdrop of restricted credit and recessionary pressure.

Regional view

The days of double digit quarterly growth in the regions of the world are over, certainly for the foreseeable future.

"Given the installed broadband base in the world today it's unlikely that any regions will grow that fast in the current climate," says Fiona Vanier.

Figure 2: Regional totals and quarterly growth Q308-Q408.

With China and India making up such a large proportion of the lines in South and East Asia the drop in growth in those countries meant that the region as a whole ranked fourth for growth in the quarter and the slowdown in the US had a similar effect on North America as a whole.

Western Europe and Asia Pacific were the only regions to increase their growth rate in the quarter. Strong numbers from Germany, France and Italy and to an extent the UK contributed to an improvement.

Taiwan in Asia Pacific showed a drop in subscriber lines, we will be reviewing these numbers as more detail becomes available but the evidence is that there is technology substitution taking place with DSL lines dropping and fibre growing.

Latin America was the fastest growing region, with Mexico in particular reporting healthy growth. While it has been a volatile region economically in the past there are indications that broadband can be very strong there in 2009.

Technology view

DSL continues to be the most popular broadband access technology.

Figure 3: Technology market shares: Q408 

However DSL and cable market shares are being slowly eroded. Fibre has grown twice as fast as cable or DSL in the 12 months to Q42008 and this pattern should continue given the number of new implementations and consumer and business preference for higher speeds.

 

Value addded services enabled by the bandwidth fibre offers, like IPTV, are proving strong drivers for FTTx uptake and have driven it through the 50 million mark worldwide.

Wireless and other broadband access technologies (including satellite, private circuits etc) are growing too, although starting from a low base.

This analysis is from the report World Broadband Statistics: Q4 2008 available to registrants to download here.

The full details on broadband and IPTV subscriber numbers down to the operator level are available to subscribers to the Global Broadband Statistics service.

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