2011 Asia Fixed Broadband and Internet Market and Forecasts

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Last updated: 23 Dec 2011 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 409

Analyst: Peter Evans

Publication Overview

This market report provides a comprehensive overview of the broadband Internet segment of the telecom market across the various economies of Asia. Asia makes a strong claim to be leading the world when it comes to the development of broadband Internet. In fact, after the mobile market, broadband has been the fastest growing telecom market segment in Asia.

The countries covered in this report include: Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, China, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam.

Researcher: Peter Evans
Current publication date:- December 2011 (7th Edition)

Executive Summary

Despite rapid growth a significant ‘digital gap’ remains in broadband markets across Asia

This market report provides a comprehensive overview of the broadband internet segment of the telecom market across the various economies of Asia. Asia makes a strong claim to be leading the world when it comes to the development of broadband internet. In some of Asia’s markets broadband has become the fastest growing telecom market segment.

The energetic expansion of broadband was for a long time, however, a phenomenon limited to the developed economies, with narrowband dial-up access being the norm in the majority of the poorer developing countries of the region. This is now changing rapidly, but for the time being there remains a ‘digital gap’. In those economies where the broadband market has created a strong presence, both DSL and cable modem platforms have both proved popular, with DSL establishing a clear advantage.

Asia has become the leading region in the world for DSL, with close to 40% of the global DSL subscribers to be found in the region. More recently, we have seen the advent of FttX as an alternative platform for broadband access in Asia. FttX already comprises over 50% of the high speed internet access connections in the leading technology markets of Japan and South Korea.

As broadband internet continues to extend its presence across Asia, the region’s broadband market finds itself dominated by six ‘players.’ These ‘High’ ranked markets are predominantly the economies of North Asia.

South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau, Taiwan and Japan, for the moment at least, have left the rest of the region behind in terms of both penetration and sophistication of their broadband services and infrastructure. The penetration gap is clearly seen in the Exhibit below.

South Korea has been the most remarkable example of the Asian broadband revolution in the leading markets. By mid-2011 broadband subscriber penetration had passed 35%, and over 95% of households in the country had very high speed broadband internet connections.

South Korea - broadband subscribers and households – March 2011



Broadband subscribers:


Total number of subscribers


Annual growth


Broadband (population) penetration


Proportion of all internet subscribers


Broadband households:


Residential broadband subscribers(e)


Proportion of all households


(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)

Another market of special note in the region is Singapore where the government has been implementing broadband internet access – wired and wireless - for the whole of the island state. The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), Singapore’s telecom regulator, has been reporting what it referred to as the ‘Household Broadband Penetration Rate’. This had reached 165% by May 2010.

In fact, it was becoming a meaningless figure and in March 2011 the IDA started reporting on the ‘Residential Wired Broadband Household Penetration Rate’. This measured the total number of residential wired broadband subscriptions per household, and excluded all wireless access plans previously included (3G, 3.5G/HSDPA, WiMAX and Wi-Fi hotspots).

The Residential Wired Broadband Household Penetration Rate was 103% as of May 2011, with 1.2 million wired broadband households.

Singapore - broadband subscribers and households – May 2011



Broadband subscribers:


Total number of subscribers


Annual growth (2010)


Wireless broadband (population) penetration


Proportion of all internet subscribers


Broadband households:


Residential wired broadband subscribers


Wired broadband household penetration


(Source: BuddeComm based on IDA data)

The regional broadband market in Asia consists of a large number of relatively small countries. There continues to be considerable activity in the internet and online markets across Asia ranging from China’s impressive progress in terms of sheer scale to Mongolia which has doubled household penetration to over 10% and implemented numerous e-government initiatives. China, with over 140 million broadband subscribers is still undergoing broadband subscriber growth in excess of 20% per annum despite already being the largest broadband internet market in the world.

For the economies that fall outside the top band of Asian internet markets, two distinct groupings appear in terms of broadband household penetration. The countries in the second band – roughly between 5% and 40% household penetration – are busily expanding their broadband capability.

Whilst the countries in this second group are closing in on the top six, for the time being there remains a clear gap - almost 30% on the household penetration scale - to be bridged before a position can be claimed in the top grouping.

Of the larger markets in this group, Malaysia and Vietnam are playing significant roles; in the last few years both operators and governments in these markets have started to give priority to expanding internet access and speed. There are a few relative newcomers to this group, too, Azerbaijan being one example of recent rapid growth. Although the clear leader with the number of broadband lines deployed, China remains in this middle grouping due to its huge population.

In the third grouping are those countries that, for whatever reason, have not yet ‘got their act together’ when it comes to internet. Of course, some are performing relatively well under difficult circumstances. Indonesia has major infrastructure challenges to overcome in providing internet to its citizens across a sprawling archipelago.

Sri Lanka is making a big effort as part of its recovery from the long-running civil war. India, like China, is struggling with its huge population and has focused on mobile telephony services. At the bottom end of the scale, however, a number of countries are simply managing with poor telecom infrastructure and generally underdeveloped regulatory regimes coupled with low GDP per capita.

Asia’s broadband markets ranked by household penetration − June 2011

Market ranking

Penetration range

(as proportion of all households)

Market (household penetration)



Singapore (104%)

South Korea (95%)

Hong Kong (83%)

Macau (88%)

Taiwan (70%)

Japan (65%)



Maldives (36%)

Malaysia (35%)

China (30%)

Brunei (29%)

Azerbaijan (26%)

Kazakhstan (25%)

Georgia (22%)

Vietnam (21%)

Thailand (15%)

Mongolia (11%)

Armenia (11%)

Philippines (10%)

Bhutan (6%)

India (5%)




Sri Lanka (4%)

Indonesia (3%)

Pakistan (2%)

Uzbekistan (2%)

Nepal (2%)

Cambodia (1%)

Laos (1%)

Kyrgyzstan (1%)


7 other countries in Asia below 1%


(Source: BuddeComm, estimates)

Peter Evans

December 2011


Mobile data and third generation (3G) mobile broadband services are covered in a separate report: Asian Mobile Data and the Wireless Broadband Market.


Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

The countries covered in this report include: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam.

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