Study: Broadband adoption on torrid pace

Connections to grow to 499 mil by 2012

BRUSSELS -- Broadband penetration is set to continue at a fierce pace over the next few years, according to two separate forecasts on the world and European markets.

Global broadband connections will grow from 323 million in 2007 to 499 million in 2012, when 17 countries will surpass the 60% penetration rate, a study by Gartner found. This represents a jump from 18% to 25% of households over five years.

Five countries already had broadband penetration rates above 60% last year: Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Korea and Hong Kong.

"Newer ventures in these markets are primarily entertainment such as Internet video content and games, IPTV and home networking, which will bring these devices and services into one integrated system within the home," Gartner analyst Amanda Sabia said.

Meanwhile, European market research institute EITO said that there will be an estimated 114 million broadband connections in Western Europe by the end of the year, representing 26% of the population.

While Germany, with estimated annual revenue of $13.1 billion, is the biggest EU market, France has the strongest growth, with a 22.5% jump in revenue to $7.2 billion. Falling prices, faster connections and new services like on-demand movies and music are fuelling the growth, EITO said.