Broadband subscribers to scale to 940 million by 2018, says Point Topic

By the year 2018 there will 940 million wireline broadband subscribers worldwide, according to a Point Topic forecast, up from 643.8 million at the end of 2012.

While the research firm said that its latest forecast is lower than previous estimates due to the slower uptake of broadband service in developing countries, they "expect that the 1 billion subscriber mark will be exceeded within this decade."

Point Topic broadband growth by region, 2012-2018

The two regions that will experience the largest growth will be South and East Asia. "Subscriber numbers will grow by 70 percent over the next five years," the research firm said. "In particular, this is due to strong growth expected in Indonesia and Thailand."

Alternatively, developed markets such as Western Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America will only grow "by 14 percent over the next five years."

From a platform perspective, hybrid fiber/copper VDSL2 and Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) services are rising as traditional DSL, including ADSL and SDSL, continues to decline. In a separate report that Point Topic issued in April, the total number of DSL subscribers fell from 366.95 million in September 2012 to 366.66 million by the end of last year. 

As ADSL line growth continued to slow down, all fiber and hybrid copper/fiber-based VDSL2 connections continued to rise, accounting for over 20 percent of the world's wireline broadband lines and growing over 26 percent in 2012. Interestingly, the advent of VDSL2 with vectoring was a major driver in Alcatel-Lucent's (NYSE: ALU) Q1 2013 Fixed Networks results, for example.

Despite the decline in traditional DSL, it still is the dominant broadband mechanism. As of the end of 2012, over 57 percent of the world's fixed broadband subscribers had a DSL connection at the end of 2012.

For more:
- see the analysis page

Special report: Grading the top 13 wireline service providers in Q1 2013

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AT&T Q1 consumer wireline revenues rise 2% to $5.5 billion on strong U-verse gains
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