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Summary:

At the end of first quarter 2007, the total number of broadband subscribers was close to 300 million, and according to folks at Point Topic, we are way past that number by now. Thanks to strong growth in Eastern Europe and China, the broadband subscriber base […]

At the end of first quarter 2007, the total number of broadband subscribers was close to 300 million, and according to folks at Point Topic, we are way past that number by now. Thanks to strong growth in Eastern Europe and China, the broadband subscriber base is growing at much faster clip that most imagined.

Chart of international broadband subscriptions as of first quarter 2007Romania for instance has over million subscribers. Smaller countries like Slovenia and Lithuania are only getting started and we should expect to see the add more zip to the growth rate in EU. US remains #1 in terms of total subscribers, but China is nipping on its heels. France is the fifth largest broadband country in terms of subscribers, ahead of South Korea.

  1. That’s amazing. I’ve been wondering to myself who’s going to be using all these new Web2.0 apps (which are appearing with breathless frenzy). I guess the answer is the whole world will be using them, sooner or later.

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  2. pjentrepreneur Friday, June 22, 2007

    I am sorry to be a pest about this but what exactly is the definition of broadband here? more than 1 Mbps? More than 10 Mbps?

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  3. Pjentrepreneur makes a good point. Those numbers for U.S. broadband look way, way too high for even 1 Mbps lines.

    The FCC define broadband as a piddly 200K. The OECD, which does international rankings, uses 256K. That’s not broadband to anyone but a government bureaucrat.

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  4. Broadband is whatever the individual countries are defining it as – and if FCC defines anything above 200 kbps – well we are stuck with it.

    I have written about this a thousand times, but that isn’t changing the way numbers are being counted.

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  5. Although the growth of penetration of broadband in Lithuania and Slovenia may be significant, these countries have just 3.5 and 2 million population accordingly. In the next several years the main absolute growth in Eastern Europe will be in bigger countries: Russia (140M population), Ukraine (47M), Poland (38M), Romania (22M, mentioned), Belarus (9M).

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  6. I wonder what are the numbers for India.

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  7. Ivan,

    good point. we are trying to get more data on the countries you mention and hopefully will get a better picture going forward. thanks again for sharing your information.

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  8. Ivan, you make an interesting point. But I would strongly disagree that broadband in Belarus is mor important than broadband in Slovenia. Why? Two and a half points:

    GDP per person: Slovenia, Estonia and some of the other small countries in Eastern and Central Europe have significantly higher GDPs than the large countries. That means that these users are interesting as buyers and as consumers of ads.

    Euro/Eurozone: Related to point one some of the named countries are already use the Euro or will do so in a very short while. That makes them attractive to anyone already selling products within the Eurozone as no extra calculations etc are needed to trade here.

    (Half point) Membership of the EU: Obviously this includes Poland and Romania. However membership in the EU makes a large difference for small companies targeting the market, as there is a larger coherency of laws and standarts. When doing business in Poland as a company based in France (especially web business) I do not need special or extra knowledge and the instruments to make people pay bills etc are available. If I do business in Russia, which of course is very possible and is an interesting opportunity these days, I will have more problems as a small company because I do need expert knowledge and probably even an office somewhere in the Russian federation.

    Is there anyway I can prove my point in real life? Yes I can: The iTunes Store.

    Now this concludes into one point I would raise about the graphic at the top of the post. In my opinion it would make sense to include a number such as subscribers in the Eurozone in total. As the graphic is presented with the highlighting of US and China it gives the impression that Euope is less interesting for web business. However if you do sum all Eurozone countries, the Eurozone is easily the largest single entity in terms of broadband subscribers.

    What I also would find interesting is a second graph with the high speed mobile subscribers (EDGE, UMTS etc.)

    What also might be interesting is the total number of Broadband subrscibers in Arabic speaking countries.

    Lastly I think you should use a normal map, not to give the impression that broadband is important everywhere. It is weird that by now Africa and Southern America are of so little importance that they are literally off the map.

    Moritz

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  9. Don Vaillancourt Saturday, June 23, 2007

    The U.S. and China may be tops in the number of subscribers, but if you compare the number of subscribers to actual population, Canada and other countries are much farther ahead.

    And those numbers again differ if you compare that to actual users to have access to the Internet.

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  10. Moritz,

    Regarding your point about mobile subscription.
    “What I also would find interesting is a second graph with the high speed mobile subscribers (EDGE, UMTS etc.)”

    I think this is a very important factor in predicting future content consumption. There were figures presented at the Asia Broadband Summit in Bali this year showing +200M new subs in Asia via wireless over the next 3 years.

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