Last updated: 27 Jul 2022 Update History
Report Status: Current
Report Pages: 502
Analyst: Stephen Marshall
The Covid-19 crisis between 2019 and 2022 delivered an overall positive effect on the fixed broadband market in Asia, with many people opting for that platform when required to work or school from home. Those countries with extensive fibre-optic networks already in place typically experienced double-digit growth in their fixed broadband services in 2020 and 2021, providing the operators with a strong return on their cable investment.
Countries with lower levels of penetration – chiefly in Central Asia – more often lack the physical infrastructure to support a fixed broadband service that matches anywhere the speed or coverage of the ubiquitous mobile option. Where services are available, DSL typically accounts for the bulk of fixed broadband connections. Once fibre networks have been deployed (especially FttH or FttP implementations), then the take-up rate quickly accelerates and the popularity of DSL or cable modem services falls away. Still, across most of the Asian region, this phenomenon is only being seen in high-density urban areas. Rural rollouts of fibre networks are exceedingly rare.
Some countries have introduced national broadband policies in the hope of achieving nationwide coverage (if not adoption) of broadband capabilities. But with the exception of Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), New Zealand’s Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB), Singapore’s Singapore One, and South Korea’s Ultra Broadband convergence Network (UBcN) initiatives, most countries are falling back on the reach of their mobile networks to achieve their lofty goals.
There is also the challenge of many countries in Asia having a low GDP per capita. This is reflected by a corresponding low level of personal computer ownership; the ability to access a fixed broadband service (even if the dwelling or street is cabled for it) is diminished by the absence of a suitable device to connect it to. Fixed broadband penetration rates in the most advanced markets (in terms of having practically universal coverage, such as Hong Kong and South Korea) nevertheless pale in comparison to what has been achieved with the mobile platform.
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