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November 2007 | Volume 10/ Number 11
The VoIP Authority

Broadband Growth Underlies Adoption of VoIP, IPTV

The DSL Forum recently announced the results of a new research project at the Broadband World Forum Europe, which took place in Berlin. The research was prepared for the DSL Forum by industry analyst Point Topic.

According to the Point Topic numbers, IPTV users increased by 179% in the 12 months to 30 June 2007.

The report tells us that there are over eight million people connected to IPTV services worldwide. Europe added over three million subscribers over the research period, making it the strongest market both in terms of growth (231%) and total subscriber numbers, with almost five million customers.

Regionally speaking, Asia Pacific holds the second spot, with nearly 2.2 million subscribers.

“Top markets like France (2,550,000 customers) and Hong Kong (938,000 customers) show that IPTV can be deployed rapidly to large numbers of subscribers, if the market conditions are right,” said Point Topic Senior Analyst John Bosnell.

Bosnell believes that more growth is in the offing if IPTV providers stay focused on the customer. “Competitive and clear bundle pricing and content deals will help to attract customers to IPTV services,” he says.

“Developing and agreeing standards will help to simplify the delivery process and drive higher take-up in other markets too,” Bosnell added.

Next on the IPTV subscriber number “hit parade” comes The Americas, with combined IPTV take-up of just over 1 million IPTV subscribers across Canada, the U.S. and Latin and South America.

The research also measured the growth of broadband access. Point Topic’s research points out that DSL continues to dominate broadband growth with over 200 million of the world’s 313 million broadband subscribers connecting via DSL. The percentage of DSL’s market share lead is relatively unchanged over the course of the last year, with cable coming in with almost 22% subscriber share, and just over 10 per cent using FTTx.

According to the research presented at the Broadband World Forum:

Western Europe continues to have the most broadband users, with 72 million of the 86 million broadband subscribers using DSL. The Eastern Europe DSL market, while small (less than 14 million), is the region with the strongest growth (over 60 per cent in the 12 months to 30 June 2007).

The USA has the most broadband subscribers (over 63 million), but China tops the DSL subscriber list with over 44 million of its 59 million broadband users connected via DSL. 15 countries now have over three million DSL subscribers, and 29 have over one million subscribers, with Portugal passing the one million mark in the second quarter of 2007.

Speaking to the research, Robin Mersh, chief operating officer at the DSL Forum, stated, “The figures illustrate that DSL remains a vital tool in the successful delivery of bandwidth-hungry bundled services.”

More Growth, Closer to Home

Focusing our attention on North America, recent research presented by Paul Budde Communications shows that in addition to the continued increase in broadband, mobile growth too is the norm across North America. Budde’s research also bears out the fact that VoIP continues to grow in Canada and the U.S. This is significant to readers of Internet Telephony, as recent press surrounding providers such as SunRocket and Vonage would lead one to believe that VoIP was not enjoying widespread acceptance.

It also looks like North American cable providers are the real beneficiaries here, reaping the benefits of a consumer market looking for less expensive phone service coupled with added features and ease of billing.

Another interesting statistic I found in the Budde research is that while Canadian mobile carriers are able to offer wireless coverage to over 98% of the population, only 58% of Canadians were mobile phone customers.


• In 2006, the Canadian mobile and broadband sectors continued to enjoy double-digit revenue growth rates.

• During 2006, mobile subscribers increased by approximately 10%, compared with a 17% increase during 2005.

• Broadband subscribers reached 7.7 million by end 2006, placing Canada ninth in the world in terms of broadband penetration.

• Cable VoIP experienced significant subscriber growth in 2006, growing from around 270,000 to nearly 1.1 million subscribers.


• Mobile revenues grew by around 14%, driven largely by increased SMS and other data revenues and by increased minutes of use.

• At current DSL growth rates, the number of DSL subscribers is expected to exceed the number of cable subscribers during 2008.

• By end 2006, there were approximately 230 million mobile subscribers, up 10% from the previous year, amounting to a 72% penetration rate.

• VoIP continues to grow rapidly, reaching approximately 16 million subscribers by end 2006.

The key takeaway is that while some regions are experiencing higher rates of growth than others, the overall trend is overwhelmingly positive. Broadband, and in particular DSL, is growing around the world, driven in large part by customers’ insatiable demand for high bandwidth to support applications such as VoIP, IPTV and more. Wireless use is increasing too, to the chagrin of fixed-line carriers everywhere.

As we look ahead to 2008, let’s hope that we continue to see an increase in the availability of broadband so that users can continue to adopt new and exciting IP communications applications such as VoIP and IPTV. IT

Greg Galitzine is TMC’s Editorial Director.

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