2011 Global Broadband - Facilitating the Digital Economy

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Last updated: 6 Jul 2011 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 190

Analyst: Kylie Wansink

Publication Overview

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the global fixed broadband sector. The report includes analyses, statistics and trends. The report provides valuable insight into the key trends occurring worldwide and unique regional perspectives on the markets of North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

Subjects covered include:

  • Insights into how telecoms is transforming;
  • The importance of broadband to the digital economy;
  • Analyses of telecoms and the GFC;
  • Information on The Broadband Commission;
  • BuddeComm’s role in promoting broadband and trans-sector initiatives;
  • Insight into Open Networks;
  • Insights into National Broadband Networks;
  • Key global broadband statistics and trends;
  • Regional insights and statistics.

Researchers:- Kylie Wansink, Paul Budde, Lawrence Baker, Lucia Bibolini, Peter Evans, Lisa Hulme-Jones, Paul Kwon, Henry Lancaster, Peter Lange, Stephen McNamara.
Current publication date:- July 2011 (8th Edition)

Executive Summary

Access to broadband infrastructure continues to grow in many parts of the world

The emergence of the Internet was a major ingredient in changing the direction of telecoms, particularly when broadband was added to the mix. In no time, Internet and broadband penetration went through the roof, a clear indication that people were extremely interested in using these new technologies. More and more countries also began to recognise the social and economic importance of this infrastructure and that it needed to be managed properly.

A positive outcome from the financial crisis was that it resulted in global attention turning to new infrastructure developments; facilitating a unique opportunity to shift the broadband emphasis from a high-speed Internet service to a national infrastructure for the digital economy that will underpin a range of positive social and economic developments. Improvements in infrastructure will result in the growth of services such as e-government, e-health, e-education, social media, e-commerce and e-science, in addition to paving the way for developments in smart grids and other environmental opportunities.

On a global level, the uptake of broadband continues to grow and in 2011 there are around 1.9 billion households with Internet access and nearly 37% of these have access to fixed broadband. With more and more video applications being used in ever increasing broader markets; there is a widespread interest in upgrading to higher-speed services such as those provided by Fibre-To-The Home (FttH).

The Asia-Pacific region has the highest fibre broadband penetration in the world, followed by North America. Asia-Pacific represents nearly 85% of worldwide fibre broadband subscribers and is led by the key markets of China, Japan and South Korea. The European broadband market has also seen a considerable evolution during the last year, epitomised by the migration to higher-data services and from copper-based networks to fibre.

In order to promote the continuing role of broadband in society, an organisation called The Broadband Commission was formed in 2010. Its role is to define practical ways in which countries’ — in all stages of development — can provide access to broadband networks for their citizens, in cooperation with the private sector.

Open networks are also an important element to the future of broadband networks and this model is also becoming accepted as the next step in the evolution of telecoms infrastructure.  Open networks give users full control of the services and applications that can be made available over high-speed broadband infrastructure and also mean a democratisation of the telecoms infrastructure. The topology and the architecture of the open network should be such that infrastructure, service and content providers can all offer higher quality and different ‘premium’ products and services.

National Broadband Networks are now underway by a number of countries and Australia was the first country to get the (national purpose) vision right, thanks to government leadership. The USA soon followed and the EU (Digital Agenda for Europe), New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Korea and Sweden are showing real leadership as well. Economic and trans-sector innovations are now key items on the political agenda of these countries. There is no silver bullet and each unique situation generates its own alternatives, which in turn informs others involved in similar national projects.

BuddeComm’s new report, Global Broadband – Facilitating the Digital Economy, gives the latest insights into the fixed broadband sector including key statistics and analyses on its importance to the overall digital economy. It explores key issues and opportunities and provides analyses, statistics, forecasts and trends. The report also includes a unique perspective into how the broadband sector is unfolding differently around the world by incorporating regional overviews written by BuddeComm’s senior analysts.

Examples of key insights:

  • Fixed broadband will be a critical economic and social infrastructure backbone for any country.
  • Some kind of trans-sector development will take place and the economic and social benefits from this will be substantial.
  • Fixed infrastructure technology is pointing towards fibre
  • The concept of smart communities is based on intelligent infrastructure such as broadband (FttH) and smart grids, and allows connected and sustainable communities to be developed.
  • Estimated fixed broadband penetration in Latin America was 6.5% at end-2010, below the world average of 8.0% but ahead of other developing regions such as Asia and Africa.
  • ME governments recognise the opportunities for social and economic growth inherent in faster communications. Large scale FttX deployments are focused in the Gulf states. Different business models have been used, such as the vertically integrated or wholesale access.
  • 3G mobile broadband is replacing DSL as the preferred access method in Africa.

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

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