Sure it took a long time, but it did happen. The broadband penetration is growing at speed which makes everything else look puny. (okay take wireless adoption out of the equation.) Point Topic reports that globally broadband lines have galloped past 123 million. The number of broadband lines worldwide increased by almost 55% to over 123 million in the 12 months to 30 June 2004. DSL lines increased by over 30 million, or 66%, to 78 million. Cable modem and other broadband lines increased by nearly 13 million, or 39%, to 45 million. One big feature of the market in the last year is the growth of broadband services over fibre, so called ‘Fibre-to-the-building’, FTTB, or FTTx to cover all the options. The FTTx share of ‘other broadband’ lines accounted for 9 million lines by 30 June, or 7.3%. Other technologies, mainly fixed wireless access and satellite, accounted for less than 0.3% of the total.
Some good news for USA which is still the world’s biggest broadband country, with over 29 million lines. China as growing faster but still 10 million lines behind. Growth in Japan is starting to level off and Korea is already almost static in total broadband numbers. Germany, Canada and France are all very close together with about 5.1 million lines each while the UK is about 750,000 lines behind, but growing faster. Italy has now overtaken Taiwan to be ninth out of the top ten, so the world’s top nine broadband countries are now the top seven economies plus China and South Korea. On the flip side, when taken broadband lines per 100 people, South Korea tops the charts, Hong Kong is next and well US is nowhere in sight.
So what does this all mean? Well for starters all those things Rafat talks about on his blog – content – is now a viable market. Add to that VoIP, IPTV and other emerging technologies, I think the market is now big enough to support innovation. So friends… go forth and innovate.