Mobile technologies like LTE may be getting all the glory these days in the broadband access sector, but fixed broadband is far from dead. Analyst firm Point Topic counted 714 million fixed broadband subscribers globally at the end of 2014, and while the growth rate overall since mid-2013 has been less than 2%, it’s still growth.
Asia-Pacific is at the forefront of that global broadband development. Already home to half of the world’s fixed broadband subscribers, the region is now making strides towards the delivery of superfast broadband, as well as adoption of emerging technologies including software defined networking (SDN) and the Internet of Things (IoT). But the dramatically changing telecom landscape, as well as country-specific regulatory hurdles, will mean challenging times ahead for the region’s operators.
While Asia as a region is charging ahead full steam with fixed broadband, it’s worth noting that the region is far from uniform in terms of broadband maturity in various markets, according to Robin Mersh, CEO of global standards body the Broadband Forum.
“To many, Asia is considered the world’s leader in next-generation network deployment - however, the region is extremely diverse with many different countries and varied independent markets possessing their own strategies, economics and regulations,” he says.
“At present, Asia Pacific holds 50% of the world’s fixed broadband subscribers and continues to experience significant subscriber growth thanks to China, Southeast Asia and the emerging markets where broadband penetration continues to increase.”
Additional figures from Point Topic (see charts) also show that the majority of Asian broadband subscribers are using copper and FTTx for broadband services, followed by FTTH. By the end of 2014, copper reached 115.8 million customers; FTTx had 112.8 million subscribers and FTTH grew to 77.8 million subscriptions. China alone added over eight million FTTH subscribers in Q4 2014, with fixed-line incumbent China Telecom adding 9.5 million users in the last six months of 2014.
“The growth is a reflection of the importance of broadband connectivity in the daily lives of individuals and businesses, governments and other organizations throughout Asia as whole,” says Point Topic CEO Oliver Johnson.