By the Numbers: Nearly Half a Billion Broadband Subscribers Worldwide

Slowly but surely we are inching closer to the half a billion broadband subscriber mark. Latest data from research firm Point Topic shows that there were 484.97 million broadband subscribers at the end of first quarter of 2010, up 3.2 percent from 469.92 million at the end of 2009. And if that growth rate held steady, the world may have already surpassed the half-billion mark during the second quarter. The worldwide growth of broadband had slowed through 2009 right in line with the downturn in world economies.

Q1broadband_netadditons.gifNow compared to 5 billion mobile connections, the 500 million number looks puny, but one has to put this in perspective. For instance, the 485 million broadband connections at the end of Q1 2010 represented 8.4 percent of the worldwide population penetration and a household penetration of 30.8 percent. Makes sense: a lot more homes are likely to have one broadband connection, though those home dwellers may have one or more mobile phones.

According to Point Topic, DSL still is the dominant technology with a 64 percent share of the global broadband market (roughly 312 million) followed by cable broadband with a 20 percent market share (about 98 million) and fiber-based connectivity bringing up the rear at 62.5 million connections or 13 percent of the total. China is the largest market for fiber-based connections (23.2 million) with Japan accounting for 17.6 million and South Korea with 8.3 million connections.

At the end of the first quarter of the year, China was the top country with 112.59 million broadband connections followed by the US, which had 87 million broadband subscribers.

From a regional standpoint, South and East Asia (which include India and China) now represent the largest region in terms of broadband subscribers, followed by Western Europe and North America. Of all the regions, South and East Asia represent the fastest quarterly growth — up 5.65 percent during the first quarter of 2010 versus the fourth quarter of 2009. Nearly 6.8 million subscribers were added in that region, while Western Europe and North America added 2.5 million and 2.1 million new subscribers respectively.

China added 6.05 million subscribers, India added 550,000 subscribers and Vietnam added 150,000 new subscribers during the first quarter. In Mexico, Telmex acquired 247,000 new customers while in Brazil, Telefonica de Brasil added 163,000 new subscribers and NET Servicos added 106,000 new subscribers.