IPTV Now Serves More Than 50 Million Customers Worldwide

News Highlights:

  • Broadband growth steady with 558M total customers; up 29M in first 6 months of 2011
  • Milestone achieved: IPTV global subscriber base passes 50M customers, and in the largest IPTV market- France, more than 50% of its broadband customers now subscribe to IPTV
  • FTTH and FTTx technologies now increased to 14.8% of the market share
  • Broadband Forum G-PON ONU Certification Program is launched

The Broadband and IPTV Growth Report presented at the Broadband World Forum in Paris, shows that broadband continued to show healthy growth in the first half of 2011. Prepared for the Broadband Forum by industry analysts Point Topic, the figures reveal the broadband subscriber total at the end of June 2011 now standing at 557.8 million subscriber lines, up by over 29M lines since the start of this year. The second quarter outperformed the same period last year, continuing the trend of stronger growth set in the first quarter’s results announced in June. The good news in broadband was compounded with the news that IPTV has passed a milestone: 51M customers now subscribe to IPTV services worldwide, with France in the lead as top IPTV country.

“Globally broadband continues to grow strongly and all indications are that as an industry it has weathered the financial uncertainties of the last two years very well. Increased competition, new markets and market sectors being developed and the recognition of broadband as a vital part of any household or business have all contributed to the continued expansion of the industry,” said Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum.

Fiber market share up as service providers push for PON certification

Broadband is delivered today over a variety of access technologies; DSL, fiber, cable and others. The network makeup is ever-changing to meet the speed and quality demands of the fast growing customer base. DSL continues to be the dominant access technology worldwide and continues to grow strongly. DSL alone, as distinct from the part copper plays in many hybrid deployments, was responsible for over 50% (52.65%) of the net broadband lines added in the twelve months to end June 2011.

What is news though is that fiber deployments, especially hybrid fiber/DSL access solutions are growing rapidly- reaching a 14.8% market share for FTTH and FTTx. This is still not fast enough for market demand though, and service providers are pushing for more PON product interoperability, to help drive out testing overhead and stimulate more competitive pricing for fiber products- ultimately expediting deployments and improving the business case for fiber access solutions.

The success of G-PON technologies has taken a significant step forward with the announcement today that the Broadband Forum has launched the market’s first ever G-PON certification program. To help the industry expedite fiber network rollout, this global G-PON ONU Certification program will pave the way for swift expansion of superfast broadband and the development of new technologies. It is based on test plans developed by the Broadband Forum and work undertaken jointly with FSAN (Full Service Access Network). Beta testing is now completing and the commercial program will open to industry participation in October 2011.

“G-PON has proven to be a viable and successful technology for access networks worldwide,” said Martin Carroll of Verizon, FSAN Committee Chair. “Fully endorsed by FSAN, the Broadband Forum G-PON Certification program will further substantiate G-PON capability to meet the growing demands of evolving operator networks.”

The BBF.247 certification program is open to GPON ONU products with Ethernet interfaces and is based on the Broadband Forum’s OD-247 test plan. It proves conformance to TR-156 using OMCI as defined in the ITU G.998, which are the most critical standards to interoperable implementations. Additional test cases and modules for other configurations and functionalities will be added in the future.

“This certification is key to speed up our FTTH deployments. It reduces dramatically the amount of specific testing needed before we choose and deploy new equipment. It will enable next generation systems to come to the market faster and with interoperability from day one,” notes Alain Maloberti, SVP Network Architecture and Design, France Telecom Orange.

Regional Broadband Growth Breakdown

Asia, the leading broadband region, continues its sustained growth both in subscriber numbers and in percentage terms. The Asian markets have between them put on 55.5% of the total net additions in the year to end June 2011, and 61% of the net additions in the quarter. China continues to dominate the world rankings for broadband, accounting for over 45.7% of all subscriptions added in the quarter and 39.9% in the 12 months to June 2011. In terms of percentage growth during the year, Brazil and Russia in fact outpaced the top 10 countries, with increases of over 20% for the twelve months to June 2011.

“India, currently at number 11, is likely to break into the top 10 by the end of the year at the latest,” predicts Point Topic’s Oliver Johnson. “Given the growth rates in India and Mexico currently and the headroom they have left to expand they could well force their way into one of the top spots soon,” says Johnson.

IPTV – now over 50M subscribers

Nine percent of the world’s broadband homes now subscribe to an IPTV service, an increase from 7.8% in June last year. Europe is still the leading IPTV region with strong growth in France, Romania, Russia and Belarus. The competitive and regulatory environment coupled with a relatively high broadband penetration mean that all these markets show good prospects for future growth. Asia has increased its market share by almost 5% in the last 12 months and shows signs of accelerating in a number of markets. Asia is likely to overtake Europe in 2012 in terms of IPTV subscribers.

France still leads the IPTV market with 11.05M subscribers, representing over 50% of French broadband lines. In contrast, China’s 10.5M subscribers are equivalent to around 7.6% of lines in the market. Many IPTV subscribers are in Hong Kong and Shanghai, so there is considerable room for expansion, as Hong Kong on its own has one of the highest IPTV penetrations anywhere in the world. Growth in the remainder of the Top 10 IPTV nations is healthy with all markets apart from Spain reporting significant double digit growth in the year to end June 2011.

For additional data, including charts and graphs related to this report, please check out http://www.broadband-forum.org/news/pressoffice/downloads/MidYear2011_BBIPTVSub_Report.pdf.

For further information please contact Brian Dolby on +44 (0) 7899 914168 or Sheila Lashford on +44 (0) 7986 514240 or by email to brian.dolby@proactive-pr.com or sheila.lashford@proactive-pr.com

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