An analysis of the global broadband market has found that the total number of subscribers has reached 400 million.
Analyst firm Point Topic said that the global subscriber base grew from 57,200 users in 1998, to 280,890 subscribers in 1999. Subscription rates have since increased by more than 600,000 per cent.
"When Point Topic started researching broadband in 1998 it was still mostly in the technical trial stage. Getting to 400 million subscribers in the 10 years since then has been one of the fastest rollouts of a major new technology the world has ever seen," said Oliver Johnson, senior analyst at Point Topic.
"Now we are in the early days of a new era, which is going to be much more about quality than quantity. The emphasis is going to shift to providing high-bandwidth, high-quality broadband that can deliver multiple, steady, pin-sharp images for applications."
Digital Subscriber Line is still the dominant form of broadband delivery technology, but fibre optic subscriptions have grown strongly over the past few years from 18,000 in 2002 to four million today.
"The last 14 years have seen immense changes in the broadband industry, from the initial development stages to the explosion of different access technologies and the sophisticated applications we see today," said George Dobrowski, president of the Broadband Forum, which commissioned the research.
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