Broadband adoption across Europe continues to grow at an impressive rate, despite the harsh economic climate, according to the latest figures from the Broadband Forum.
The research, undertaken by analyst firm Point Topic, was announced at the Broadband World Forum in Paris, and shows that Europe is the second largest broadband region in the world. Subscriptions grew 13 per cent in the past 12 months to reach 135 million.
Global broadband uptake grew by 12.9 million lines in the second quarter of 2009 to 445 million, with Asia taking the lion's share at 39 per cent of all broadband customers.
IPTV growth remained strong at 11 per cent, reaching 26.9 million subscribers spearheaded by Europe which saw 51 per cent growth over the 12 months to July 2009.
The report highlighted healthy IPTV growth of six per cent in Western Europe and 12 per cent in Eastern Europe, where new services in countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Russia are seeing strong demand.
"This report shows that, while broadband adoption is not immune from the state of the world economy, the technology continues to move forward," said George Dobrowski, chairman and president of the Broadband Forum.
"I believe this year has shown that broadband expansion is not limited to the top industrialised countries, but is a key factor in assisting developing nations to gain a foothold in today's tough market."
Although DSL retains around two-thirds of the access technology market, the use of fibre is starting to see significant uptake, overtaking new cable connections, although still lagging far behind in overall connections.
Related research unveiled at the show from the Fibre-To-The-Home Council Europe revealed that Sweden leads the line-up of the top 10 adopters of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services with more than 10 per cent penetration, followed by Norway, Slovenia, Andorra, Denmark, Iceland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Finland.
Despite various announcements from several service providers such as BT and Virgin Media, the UK and other larger countries like France and Germany have yet to break into the list.
"The ranking clearly demonstrates that Scandinavia and the continent's smaller economies are continuing to dominate the FTTH list," said Thomas Kallstenius, chairman of the FTTH Council Europe's marketing and intelligence committee.
With the ever growing demand for faster internet access speeds, spurred by the increased use of high-bandwidth applications such as hosted services and high-definition IPTV, the use of fibre is expected to see even greater adoption over the coming years.
"The Broadband Forum continues to drive broadband innovation and, with our latest work around IPTV network and service assurance, we continue to ensure that the industry has all the tools and specifications it needs to optimise networks and to capture the full potential of broadband and IPTV worldwide," concluded Dobrowski.
"We have also undertaken several initiatives in areas such as energy efficiency this year, which will help facilitate network energy savings as broadband growth continues across the world."
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