Demand for fixed broadband services slowed across all regions during 2Q12, growing only 1.9% to reach 604 million.
North America experienced the slowest growth at 0.45% quarter-over-quarter (its slowest to date), while Asia Pacific experienced the strongest growth of all regions at 2.9%. Western Europe also experienced its slowest quarter of growth at 0.72%, while both Eastern Europe and the Middle East & Africa held steady.
DSL remains the most widely deployed broadband technology, representing 63% of total subscribers, while cable broadband subscribers represent 19%, FTTx is 15% and other technologies represent nearly 2%. FTTx (which includes FTTP as well as FTTx + LAN, but does not include FTTB/FTTC) reached 93.3 million.
Net additions by type are shown below:
Demand for fixed broadband is being challenged by ever increasing availability of mobile broadband services – and perhaps more importantly – the proliferation of smart phones and tablets – which are eliminating the need for a PC in many emerging markets.
The ongoing challenge for many fixed broadband operators will be to continuously upgrade speed tiers – this has certainly been easier for cable operators as they move to DOCSIS 3.0, as well as FTTx operators. But at the moment, it is DSL operators that are and will continue to feel the pressure as many mobile broadband products are starting to surpass DSL in terms of speeds. During 2Q12 – DSL net adds were at their lowest levels.
Although solutions such as VDSL2 Vectoring alone or combined with bonding will enable DSL operators to offer more competitive products – they will ultimately need to migrate to FTTH in order to effectively compete (and stay ahead) in the longer term. We consider VDSL2 Vectoring to be an interim step before migrating to FTTH.
Speeds and a lack of bandwidth caps will always give fixed broadband an edge over mobile; while video services can help to cement consumer commitment. But will it be enough? The simple fact that Apple sold more than 2 million iPhone 5′s within the first 24 hours – speaks to the reality of just how powerful a device really can be to adoption of services.
Apple TV anyone?