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Fixed broadband reaches over 500 million, IPTV moves past 40 million

There are two versions of the considerable truth about the number of broadband lines in the world, out last week, one from the Broadband Forum, compil

By PETER WHITE

Published: 13 January, 2011

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There are two versions of the considerable truth about the number of broadband lines in the world, out last week, one from the Broadband Forum, compiled for it by the UK’s Point Topic, which says there are 509 million broadband lines in the world as of the end of Q3 2010, and a rival version from In-Stat which says there are 763 million.

The difference between the two versions is that In-Stat says that it has included broadband wireless connections, so presumably there are around 254 million of those. However In-Stat doesn’t make it clear if this is data contracts, phones which can go online, phones which regularly go online or phones which have been online at least once.

There is further confusion when you read that the In-Stat report suggests there are 179 million broadband lines in the US, when of course there are only around 111 million homes, but we presume that it is also adding some 100 million phones to the mix, because Point Topic shows that it is actually around 82 million US homes, meaning In-Stat is suggesting that there are something like 97 million broadband wireless handset owners in the US.

We give more credence to the Point Topic numbers, if only because it has less potential for confusion by sticking just to fixed lines, which to us do a completely different job from most wireless broadband, though not always.

In the Point Topic report it shows China growing at an astonishing pace, up almost 20 million in the past year and China and India each having their second best quarters ever in absolute numbers and the fastest growing markets are in developing markets, with India, Russia, Vietnam, Ukraine and the Philippines all growing by more than 20% in the last 12 months.

Robin Mersh, Chief Executive Officer of the Broadband Forum, said, "The patterns of growth are shifting as some markets reach saturation and emerging markets show remarkable growth rates over this year. In more and more countries we are seeing more than 80% availability and huge take up of broadband. The Broadband Forum celebrates this major achievement and continues to work towards empowering new applications and developing enhanced deployment and management solutions to support the broadband and IPTV industries.”

Total growth across the globe was 6.7% taking numbers to 508,761,837, with over 14.3 million lines added in the third quarter alone, so signs that growth is accelerating, not slowing, right now.

The Point Topic report has the total broken into 323 million DSL lines and 104 million cable lines and 70 million fiber, with the rest split mostly across fixed wireless and satellite. In-Stat magically found another 48 million DSL lines and set that level at 371 million, so take your pick.

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