Week in Research: Broadband subscriptions pass 500 million; wholesale VoIP needs to get competitive

Broadband growth on target: The number of broadband subscriptions worldwide reached almost 509 million in the third quarter of 2010, the Broadband Forum announced in its Global Broadband and IPTV Industry update. China and India saw their second best quarters ever in Q3 and "vigorous growth" of more than 20 percent was recorded in developing markets. "The patterns of growth are shifting as some markets reach saturation and emerging markets show remarkable growth rates over this year," said Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum. "In more and more countries we are seeing more than 80 percent availability and huge take up of broadband." DSL remains the dominant technology in the broadband boom. News release.

Point Topic broadband chart

Searching for business customers: Fixed telephony, internet and broadband subscriber forecasts for South Africa remain unchanged for the final quarter of 2010, according to a Research & Markets report, but operators are actively searching for growth opportunities. Neotel, the country's second largest operator, announced in October that it would focus mainly on winning business customers, a strategy implemented after what some analysts see as a failure to win residential customers. State-owned carrier Sentech is jumping back into wireless broadband after a failed attempt that was shut down in Nov. 2009. News release.

VoIP quality up; competitiveness down: Wholesale customer satisfaction with the quality of VoIP service was higher than any other wholesale telecom product, ATLANTIC-ACM says in its newly released 2010 Metro Carrier Report Card. However, it was the only product that saw a decline in its score on price competitiveness. "Declines in VoIP pricing satisfaction are largely a matter of expectation," said ATLANTIC-ACM CEO Dr. Judy Reed Smith. "Wholesale buyers acknowledge that VoIP quality has greatly improved, but they expected VoIP pricing to decline at a faster rate than it has. In contrast, carriers report continued VoIP pricing pressure even as they have achieved these higher ratings for quality." News release.