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World Broadband Statistics up until end of 2005
Wednesday 29 March 2006 11:41:00 by Andrew Ferguson

Today sees publish its analysis of the world broadband subscriber statistics for 2005. A short summary can be found here, with a longer document available to those who subscribe to the site.

A wide variety of ways of looking at the data is given, for example in the short summary, the UK does not figure in the table showing 'Broadband lines per 100 population', this chart is dominated by the Nordic, particularly as Denmark is very close to overtaking South Korea for the lead using this metric. The UK does figure in the table showing Top 10 countries by the number of broadband lines, which breaks down as follows:


Number of broadband lines

% Growth during 2005

USA 43,360,000 26.77%
China 37,504,000 45.44%
Japan 22,146,000 17.91%
South Korea 12,200,000 2.33%
Germany 10,707,000 55.12%
France 9,957,000 47.37%
UK 9,828,000 61.12%
Canada 6,855,000 22.65%
Italy 6,733,000 42.55%
Spain 4,848,000 49.27%

The UK is now on a very close footing with France in terms of the number of broadband lines, with the UK adding lines at a faster rate than the French in 2005. In South Korea there was actually a decrease in the number of DSL subscribers of around 3.6% during 2005, this seems to be due to the increase in Metro Ethernet type networks, bringing shared access to 100Mbps or 1Gbps connections for apartments.

Looking at the split of DSL versus Cable modem and FTTx technologies, it seems DSL is winning this competition at present, with DSL accounting for 66.28% of connections, cable modem for 24.29 and FTTx for 8.75%. Both FTTx and Cable modem services appear to have a linear growth, but DSL growth is accelerating, most likely due to countries with an existing PSTN network using DSL to roll-out DSL based broadband, rather than invest heavily in rebuilding the local loop to support FTTx for example.

The real question now for the industry is that with an availability footprint that exceeds many countries, why does the UK lag behind so heavily in the actual take-up side of things. It seems unlikely that we in the UK will ever reach the figures of above 70% of households having a broadband service that Hong Kong and South Korea have. But why is it that the Netherlands and Denmark can manage figures in the 50 to 60% bracket? Price and speed of service is often touted as the reasons, and Denmark may actually have a point since it is offering 128Kbps services for around £6 to £7 a month if the advertising is to believed. This is a lot cheaper than the UK, but also a lot slower than for example the £9.99 1Mbps service from UK Online.


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