Strong growth in both subscription and service revenue propelled the global fixed broadband market during 2011, says ABI Research. Significant subscriber additions last year were made by all fixed platforms: DSL, cable, and optical fiber. In some countries with a high penetration of DSL broadband service, the DSL subscriber base declined slightly, but it was offset by the growth in optical fiber subscriptions.
“Fiber broadband adoption has grown rapidly over the past years,” says Khin Sandi Lynn, research analyst, Broadband. “Consumers are becoming increasingly reliant on a number of data-intensive services such as high-definition online video services, IPTV, and online gaming.”
Broadband operators are upgrading existing networks to meet rising bandwidth demand, with some DSL operators going so far as to completely replace existing copper lines with pure optical fiber to offer fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service, or upgrading copper lines to offer higher-speed services such as VDSL. Nearly 5 per cent of DSL broadband customers worldwide had access to VDSL service in 2011.
At the same time, cable operators are aggressively upgrading networks to DOCSIS 3.0. Adoption of DOCSIS 3.0 service also continues to grow as cable operators race to compete with DSL and fiber operators. As an example, Germany’s Kabel Deutschland offers super-fast 100 Mbps DOCSIS 3.0 service as low as EUR 19.9 per month. North American cable operators, such as Comcast and Time Warner, are also rolling out DOCSIS 3.0 to compete against encroaching fiber-optic cable operators.
Competitive pressures to offer faster broadband access will spur the upward trend in 2012 with global fixed broadband revenue expected to generate $191 billion and reaching $217 billion in 2016.