Broadband growth worldwide is on a slowdown as developed countries get closer to saturation, says a new study.
According to Point Topic, by 2013 there will be over 680 million broadband connections worldwide, an increase of only 11 per cent year on year, rather than 28 per cent per year seen over the 2004 to 2008 period.
A major reason for the slowdown in growth is that the majority of wealthier countries are approaching saturation with broadband, and finding it more difficult to sign up new customers, explains the UK-based company. Concurrently, poorer countries such as China and India have gone through the initial phase of rapid growth and are now growing steadily rather than exponentially.
According to the broadband analyst firm, the number of Internet connections in the 40 biggest broadband countries in the world will grow from 393 million by the end of 2008 to 635 million by 2013. It predicts that broadband in the rest of the world will grow from 16 million to 48 million lines in the same period, adding 273 million lines to reach a total of 683 million.
By 2013, China is expected to surpass the United State's 117 million connections to become the largest broadband country in the world, with 153 million Internet connections.
Meanwhile, broadband take-up, or the percentage of broadband lines per 100 population, will be affected by the looming recession, says the firm.
Countries including Sweden, Germany and the USA are expected to be the biggest gainers as they start closing the gap with similar countries. However, Germany, which was lagging behind in broadband until recently, has increased take-up from 26.4 per cent to 42.4 per cent. Denmark is expected to remain the most broadband-intensive major country, going from 37.0 per cent to 46.3 per cent take-up.
The forecasts are made on the assumption that the recession will cut back the rate of growth in the more industrialised countries but will have little effect in the emerging economies. Industrialised countries like the US, the UK, South Korea, Australia and Hungary are expected to be impacted the most during the economic downturn.
However, countries including China, Brazil, Russia and Vietnam are expected to be relatively unaffected while India is expected to increase its relatively low take-up rate even in the recession. All the other 31 countries are expected to face a similar slowdown.
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