The pace of global broadband adoption is accelerating, with the number of broadband users climbing 14.5% over the past year.
Figures from a Point Topic report, commissioned by the Broadband Forum, showed the number increased by more than 16 million in Q1 to pass 600 million. The previous year, 14 million subs were added in Q1.
"The figures show no sign of slowing down," said Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum. "It is just 18 months since we celebrated 500 million subscribers and even less time since IPTV subscribers reached 50 million - yet in both cases growth is still accelerating."
With more than 262 million subs or 42% share of the global market, Asia continues to have the largest number of subs. The region grew at 15% last year, adding 8.5 million new lines.
Few changes emerged in the top 20 country rankings. However, Russia, Brazil and India all posted above-average growth. China alone picked up 26.4 million new subs - a 19% annual growth rate, - increasing its total sub base to 164 million. Russia grew at 27% and Ukraine at 27%. Five Asian countries in the top 20 (China, Japan, Korean, India and Taiwan) together have 239 million broadband subs.
DSL, by far the most popular access method, saw its market share drop 0.5% in the quarter. But there is a long way to go before the copper-based access technology is overtaken, said Point Topic CEO Oliver Johnson. "For fiber, the cost-effectiveness, from the operators point of view, and the significant increase in bandwidth over DSL in particular is hitting the sweet spot at the moment in terms of technology market share."
IPTV grew by 3.8 million subs in the quarter to 65.6 million. The Asian market was once again the fastest growing region. China added more than three times as many IPTV subs as any other country (expanding by more than five million subs in 2011), increasing the gap with other markets - something that is likely to continue for some time.