Global broadband subscribers inches up to 600 million

The total number of global broadband subscribers is inching toward 600 million, according to data released by industry group Broadband Forum. They estimate that at the end of the third quarter of 2011, there were about 581 million broadband subscribers.

DSL Trembles (a Tad) As Fiber Rumbles

Fiber broadband is finally coming into its own, thanks to the growing number of fiber broadband deployments across the world. However, fiber broadband’s growing popularity is coming at the cost of DSL, one of the more widely deployed broadband technologies

How Realistic Is BT’s Fiber Broadband Plan?

Updated at the bottom: Unless you’re using Enron math, BT’s new plan to connect 10 million homes — roughly 40 percent of the United Kingdom — with fiber networks at a cost of £1.5 billion doesn’t quite add up. At today’s conversion rate, that’s about $3 billion — or $300 to wire up each of these proposed 10 million homes.

BT hopes this will help it stave off competition from rivals who have started to use their new backbones and the latest technology to eat into its broadband business. Cable operator Virgin, for example, plans to use DOCSIS 3.0 to compete with BT. The incumbent has been reticent about upscaling its infrastructure over concerns that it would spend billions and then be forced to share with upstarts, the way it does now. By comparison, the new plan is closely tied to regulatory concessions and includes some sort of investment protection from Ofcom, the British regulator.

The Guardian writes:

Under the current regulatory regime, BT must allow rival service providers to use its network on the same terms as its own retail arm. There would be a huge outcry if that “equivalence” was lost, following the battles between BT, its rivals and the regulators at the start of this decade when Broadband Britain was just an ambition.

Nevertheless, BT’s announcement is full of more holes than a wheel of Swiss cheese. Lets look at the deal from a distance: 10 million homes for $3 billion. In comparison, Verizon is spending about $22 billion to fiber up some 18 million homes. That’s a cost improvement of 9x, which means BT’s plan just doesn’t make sense, even if you take into account that somehow it will get massive sops from Chinese equipment maker Huawei. Read More about How Realistic Is BT’s Fiber Broadband Plan?