Point Topic released its latest broadband tariff report, showing that the average cost per megabit for business and residential broadband services continues to decline.
Every quarter, Point Topic looks at trends in the global and regional monthly costs of copper, cable and fibre broadband services.
The analysis is based on their global database of standalone and bundled broadband tariffs. In Q4 2012, the database included 2,810 residential tariffs from across the globe and 2,016 business tariffs.
All prices are quoted in international US dollars at PPP rates to allow comparisons between countries.
The average cost per megabit for residential copper or DSL broadband services is significantly higher than fibre or cable services and has been for some time.
Since Q2 2010, the average cost per megabit for residential cable services has been declining steadily. The average cost per megabit for residential fibre services has remained relatively stable since Q2 2011.
The global trends in DSL have been much more erratic over the same period. DSL is the slowest broadband service, offering on average speeds of 10Mbps to global users in Q4 2012.
There has been little fluctuation in speeds offered by DSL services over the time period. Slight shifts in the average monthly charge to residents can cause big shifts in the average cost per megabit of this relatively slow service.
Copper continues to be central to the networks in many regions. Despite the decline in subscribers in some mature markets for plain DSL (but not VDSL) services and many ISPs moving away from end-to-end copper, its role in delivering FTTx in the local loop (VDSL) will mean that copper will still be in the ground for many years to come.
End-to-end copper will increasingly be focused in areas that have poor infrastructure and competition, meaning that operators are able to charge a relative premium which drives up the average tariff.
In areas where DSL faces more competition the tariffs tend to be lower than for either cable or fibre – pitched at the more entry level, low data volume users.
The average cost per megabit for broadband services through DSL, cable and fibre are much more closely matched for business tariffs.
Here cable offers the best cost given the speeds business users can expect – for residents fibre is the most cost effective.
The cost per megabit for cable business broadband services has been declining over time.
Fibre shows a more erratic pattern. The average speed offered by fibre providers to businesses increased significantly in Q4 2011, as operators started to focus more on this particular market.
Prior to this, fibre speeds offered to businesses had been much lower than those offered to residential users.
The monthly tariffs offered to businesses for DSL services have been decreasing over the time period, whilst the speeds have been increasing slightly. Whilst these shifts are modest, they account for a big decline in the average cost per megabit for DSL business services over the time period.