Broadband research firm Point Topic released its latest forecasts, which estimate that there will be 925 million broadband subscribers worldwide by the end of 2018.
This is lower than their previous estimates as they saw continued declining growth rates in the world’s major broadband markets – the US, China and Japan.
“It is now becoming less likely that the 1 billion subscriber mark will be exceeded within this decade,” Point-Topic predicted.
The following graph shows Point Topic’s predicted global broadband growth.
Broadband subscriber growth by region
Whilst globally broadband growth is expected to remain fairly constant, Point Topic predicted differences between the growth in different regions.
At the end of 2018, 40% of the world’s broadband subscribers are expected to be in South and East Asia, compared to 34% at the end of June 2013.
Eastern Europe and Latin America are expected to have comparable growth rates and market shares over the next five years. Growth will be slowest in the developed markets of Western Europe, Asia-Pacific and North America.
Based on recent growth trends, Point Topic reduced their broadband forecasts for all markets other than the Middle East and Africa.
This is due to continued slow growth in the world’s largest broadband markets, and in particular the US, China and Japan.
Several markets in Western Europe reported a loss of broadband subscribers in recent quarters. In these markets, copper broadband subscriptions continue to decline as the fibre market grows rapidly – but net growth rates remain slow.
Broadband subscriber growth by market type
These differences in broadband subscriber growth across the world are driven by how developed the broadband market is within a particular country.
Point Topic uses three different classifications depending on the age of the market: emerging, youthful and mature.
In total, the youthful markets have the greatest volume of subscribers, but they are seeing the most rapid growth across the emerging markets.
Broadband subscriber numbers in the more mature markets (Western Europe, South Korea and Hong Kong) are only expected to grow by 12% over the next five years.