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Summary:

The world will reach 500 million fixed-line broadband subscribers some time this year thanks to growth in developing countries, according to research firm Informa. Through 2014, the next 100 million broadband subscribers will come from places like China, Russia, Mexico, India, Brazil, Turkey and Argentina.

The world will reach 500 million fixed-line broadband subscribers sometime this year thanks to growth in developing countries, according to research firm Informa. What’s more, through 2014 the next 100 million broadband subscribers will come from those countries as well. When it comes to wired broadband additions, China, Russia and Mexico are the new stars.

The developed world has seen slowing rates of fixed-line broadband growth as markets there have become saturated, so in the meantime the focus has moved to the developing world. We talk a lot about mobile broadband being the wave of the future in developing countries, and how many in those places will skip the wireline infrastructure altogether, but when it comes to delivering high speeds necessary for video and even mobile backhaul, wired is the way to go.

Which means wireline growth will continue even as mobile broadband via 3G and 4G networks expands. The Informa report predicts that most of the wired broadband growth with come from the seven countries seeing the most growth in subscribers: China, Russia, Mexico, India, Brazil, Turkey and Argentina. For a tally of broadband subscriptions as of the end of September, check out Informa’s chart below.

Image courtesy of Flickr user ground.zero

  1. Indeed emerging markets will make up for the bulk of net broadband adds in the coming years. But a huge challenge in this lies at the regulator’s doorstep. Lack of last-mile unbundling coupled with the slow-moving incumbents conspire to deny the spread of broadband in these markets.
    And yes, before we forget, the definition of broadband is something that still needs to be resolved for emerging markets. For India it is speeds above 256Kbps , while for some South-East Asian countries (Indonesia, iirc), it is defined as any speed upwards of 56 Kbps !!

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  2. @ Subrahmanyam, You raise a good point about standardization of the meaning of broadband. I think there should always be a footnote or caveat when discussing broadband of emerging nations, or else people can easily be misinformed.

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  3. Thanks for the chart! I wish you had explored more the use of fixed line for mobile backhaul. I still am predicting that in about 5 years there will be more mobile ‘broadband’ subscribers than wired broadband, but even the mobile web needs to go terrestrial at some point. Also, a per capita chart would be interesting. For example, the US and Canada have about one broadband sub for every 3 people, if my math is correct. France is relatively sparse.
    -Brian

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