FREMONT, CA – More new broadband subscribers were added in the third quarter of 2011 than at any time since early 2009, according to the Broadband Forum, an industry association. The 3Q figures show significant increases in FTTH and hybrid FTTx subscriptions.

Worldwide broadband growth during the quarter, according to figures prepared for the Broadband Forum by research firm Point Topic, is estimated at 17.4 million lines, bringing the global total to 581.3 million, a quarterly increase of 3.08 percent and an annual growth rate of 12.89 percent.

“These are very healthy figures for Q3, and they demonstrate the ongoing strength of the broadband market,” comments Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum. “We are especially pleased to see the trend in fiber technologies beginning to take off. Our GPON certification program, launched in Q3 and with first certifications already in place, has been very widely welcomed, and this is an indication that the market is ready for much further growth in this area.”

FTTx Gaining Ground
FTTx is now gaining ground on more traditional technologies, though DSL continues to be the dominant technology and added the most lines in Q3. In percentage terms, FTTH and FTTx hybrid technologies showed the largest growth – above 8 percent overall, compared with 2.2 percent for cable modems and 2 percent for DSL. FTTx added just under 19 million lines in Q3 2011 – more than double the number in the same period last year. The worldwide market share for fiber technologies, now at 16 percent, is quickly catching up with cable’s 19.5 percent.

Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic, says: “Hybrid FTTx will be where the action is over the next few years. Consumers are showing signs of being ready to pay for faster connections, and the hybrid solution set is a cost-effective way of getting relatively high speeds to them.”

Regional Trends
With a rise of almost 1.5 percent in the year, the proportion of broadband subscribers in Asia continues to increase. Asia has more than 246 million broadband lines in total, or 42.34 percent of the worldwide number.

Of the top 10 countries, the strongest growth continues to be in China. Strong growth also occurred in Russia, fuelled partly by increases in IPTV adoption, which brought Russia into the IPTV top 10 rankings for the first time.

The number of IPTV subscribers grew by 6.06 percent in 3Q 2011 and now totals 54.4 million globally. IPTV continues to grow steadily, generating significant additional revenues as service providers work hard to make IPTV an integral part of their product package.

Asia, once again, is the fastest growing region for IPTV but European markets are strengthening on an individual basis and while some saturation is taking place there is fundamental strength in the market which has driven the region to a three year high in quarterly net additions.

The Top 10 IPTV countries all reported strong growth. Russia is the major success story, entering the Top 10 for the first time and immediately occupying eighth place. Growth in France, the current world leader, is still very strong, in spite of the already high penetration rate, but China will soon take over the top spot by sheer force of market size.