But the degree to which home high-speed internet has been adopted across Europe varies considerably, reports David Davies. New research issued by Futuresource Consulting indicates that the total number of subscribers of fixed home broadband worldwide is on track to break the 500 million barrier next year.
The report highlights developments in a number of key countries and regions. India is expected to see a five-fold increase by 2013, to nearly 25 million lines, while Africa and the Middle East are set to experience 33% growth this year.
In Europe, household penetration of fixed broadband averaged 42% last year and is forecast to reach 52% by 2012. However, this figure should not be allowed to mask substantial intra-regional variations.
"When drilling down to the country level, there are significant differences, with Denmark and the Netherlands leading the way at around 80% household penetration each," Patrik Pfandler (pictured), senior market analyst at Futuresource Consulting, told IE Residential.
Meanwhile, download speeds are said to be the "next broadband battleground" for internet service providers (ISPs) worldwide. While Japan and South Korea both enjoy average download speeds of approximately 30Mb/s each, the US has some catching up to do with a national average last year of only 2.7Mb/s.
With specific reference to the European market, Pfandler observed that "broadband speeds continue to play a critical role for the ISPs, who are using speed to differentiate against competitor services."
Source: Futuresource • Image: Futuresource, copyright 2009