Broadband growth losing steam


BRUSSELS -- Broadband growth is slowing across the globe as markets become increasingly saturated. That's the conclusion drawn by figures released Tuesday by data agency Point Topic.

The numbers show that there were 328.8 million broadband subscribers worldwide at the end of third quarter 2007. Although this represented a quarterly rise of 4.7% -- and amounted to 14.8 million new subscribers worldwide -- it was down from the 5.16% increase in the second quarter. It also was the lowest number of net additions since the second quarter of 2006 when 14.9 million new subscribers were reported.

Worldwide broadband population penetration between July and September 2007 was 5.7%, a 1.1% rise from the same time last year when penetration was 4.6%. Since the beginning of 2005, broadband population penetration has grown from 2.9%.

Although growth was positive around the world, North America was the only region where broadband growth sped up in the third quarter of 2007, from 3.1% to 3.3%, or 2.4 million new subscribers. The operators that made the largest contribution to this total are all U.S.-based and include AT&T (597,000 new subscribers), Comcast (508,000), Verizon (315,000) and Time Warner Cable (233,000).

Western Europe added 3.5 million subscribers in the quarter, a rate of increase of 4.1%. Eastern Europe's broadband base grew by 11.5% in the quarter, slightly down from the 11.9% growth experienced in the three months to June. Eastern Europe's thanks to the strong performance of Russia, Romania and Poland.

Western Europe still has the largest share of the global broadband market with 27.4% of subscribers. North America is in second place with a 22.5%, closely followed by South and East Asia with 21% and the Asia-Pacific region with 17%. done.