2018 Global Fixed Broadband - Analyses, Statistics and Regional Overviews

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Last updated: 10 Sep 2018 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 178

Lead Analyst: Kylie Wansink

Contributing Analyst: Henry Lancaster

Publication Overview

On a global level fixed broadband penetration varies greatly and there are some markets which have large subscriber bases (e.g. China) and there are other markets which have large mobile penetrations but very low fixed broadband (Kuwait). It is important to have both infrastructure types and in many ways it is actually more important to have high-speed fixed broadband infrastructure, based on fibre. In this report BuddeComm explores this topic and offers a comparison of various countries “telecoms maturity” based on having both high levels of mobile and fixed broadband penetration. It incorporates BuddeComm’s Telecoms Maturity Index which measures and ranks the maturity of a country’s telecoms industry on a scale of 1 to 100. The report also provides valuable information, analyses and statistics on the overall global fixed broadband industry.

Subjects include:

  • Global fixed broadband analyses;
  • Key global fixed broadband industry statistics (subscribers, speeds, technologies);
  • Analyses of fixed broadband in relation to cuber-security;
  • Case study on a global leader: South Korea;
  • Regional fixed broadband market overviews for Africa, Asia, Latin America (including Caribbean), the Middle East, North America and the Pacific region (Australia);
  • Comparison of the maturity of telecom markets around the world using BuddeComm’s unique “Telecoms Maturity Index” (TMI) for Africa; Asia; Europe; Latin America and The Middle East.

Researchers:- Kylie Wansink, Henry Lancaster, Phil Harpur.
Current publication date:- September 2018 (15th Edition)

Executive Summary

Fixed broadband penetration varies vastly around the world

Many countries around the world have developed sophisticated mobile networks which are more than adequate for day-to-day communications and mobile broadband internet access. This is particularly evident in many of the emerging markets where mobile networks have thrived in contrast to the slow development of fixed broadband infrastructure. On the horizon is 5G, which is expected to significantly improve mobile services even further in terms of speed, capacity and latency.

With mobile networks becoming so sophisticated, it can be easy to wonder why it is still important to continue to invest in fixed broadband. It requires vision and the acknowledgement that there are important services emerging for society which depend on high quality broadband infrastructure. Examples include e-health, e-education, e-business, digital media, e-government, smart meters and smart city development. Fibre-based infrastructure which provides reliable high-speed broadband access is required to underpin the services which can help solve many of today’s social, economic and sustainability problems.

Most homes in the developed markets have both mobile and fixed broadband subscriptions. When out of the home, consumers connect to the mobile broadband network using 3G and in many cases 4G LTE or free Wi-Fi. Most heavy broadband usage on smartphones and tablets takes place in homes, offices, airports, schools, universities, internet cafes, etc.

In many of these situations the Wi-Fi networks are used for this, not the mobile networks - and all of these Wi- Fi modems are linked to the fixed network. The increased use of broadband access from tablets and smartphones will increase demand for fixed broadband access, and so the enormous appetite for mobile broadband will only increase the need for FttP networks.

With this in mind, it is encouraging to see that many of the emerging markets which rely heavily on mobile infrastructure are now seriously investing in fixed broadband infrastructure and developing national broadband strategies. In addition, many emerging markets are supportive of government initiatives to develop international high-speed links and are welcoming the opportunity to connect with large submarine and terrestrial cable systems.

BuddeComm has always maintained that mobile infrastructure and fibre infrastructure are both essential to our societies. This report provides analyses on this topic, combined with global industry statistics related to fixed broadband. The report also provides valuable insights into how fixed broadband is developing around the world, supported by regional overviews. It incorporates BuddeComm’s Telecoms Maturity Index for some regions and this measures and ranks the maturity of a country’s telecoms industry on a scale of 1 to 100, taking fixed broadband penetration into account. All countries are placed into one of three categories: Market Leaders, Market Challengers and Market Laggards, according to their Market Index score. Comparisons are also made between the mobile broadband and fixed broadband penetration of the various countries which comprise the regions of Africa; Asia; Europe; Latin America and The Middle East.

Key developments:

  • Fibre-based broadband infrastructure doesn't have the capacity limitations that the mobile sector is struggling to manage.
  • 5G will also require access to a fibre optic backbone in order to provide the affordable high-speed services which will emerge.
  • Use of international bandwidth has tripled since 2014 with content providers being one of the largest consumers.
  • In 2018 the majority of countries around the world now have a National Broadband plan or policy in place.
  • Asia continues to represent a massive presence in the global broadband market in terms of fixed (and mobile broadband) services.
  • China, South Korea and the USA offer some of the largest subscribers bases and/or fast average fixed broadband speeds.
  • Deployments based on Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) will continue to gain momentum as many countries continue to develop their National Broadband Networks (NBNs).
  • We are getting close to having 1 billion fixed broadband subscriptions globally.

Kylie Wansink

September 2018

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