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Worldwide fixed-line broadband subscriptions continue to grow at a healthy pace in 2013. According to ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com), fiber-optic broadband market share will reach 19% by year-end 2013, from 16% in 2012.
"The number of broadband subscribers is growing on all DSL, cable, and fiber-optic platforms. However, there is a marked shift in consumer adoption from DSL to fiber-optic as operators continue to extend the reach of their fiber-optic infrastructure," says Jake Saunders, vice president and practice director, ABI Research.
This trend is not only taking place in developed but also in emerging markets. China is anticipated to see a declining trend in DSL broadband adoption in the next few years as the country’s broadband operators, China Telecom and China Unicom, aggressively roll out fiber-optic networks. In 1Q-2013, total DSL subscriptions dropped by three million. In the same period, ABI Research has seen fiber-optic adoptions grow from 32.9 million to 37.6 million.
"ABI Research expects globally 25.6 million fiber-optic broadband subscribers will be added to eclipse 124 million subscribers in YE-2013. In the DSL broadband category, subscriber net addition is expected to drop by ~50% compared to 2012," says Khin Sandi Lynn, industry analyst.
Fiber-optic to the home, or even to the curb, is not a viable solution in every locale. In semi-urban and rural locales, routing fiber-optic is often uneconomical. Recently broadband operators such as Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia, and British Telecom are testing vectoring VDSL2 which can provide broadband speeds of up to 100 Mbps over copper network. Therefore, despite the rapid growth in fiber-optic broadband service, DSL broadband platform will remain as the dominate platform in the years to come, predicts ABI Research.