Broadband line growth hits new low

Asia-Pacific region records lowest growth rate as Broadband numbers dive

Even though the second quarter of 2006 saw the steepest drop in DSL prices in four years, it was also the quarter with the lowest broadband growth rate ever.

According to market tracker Point Topic Research, the second quarter's growth rate was 7.1 percent worldwide, a significant drop from 8.5 percent growth at the end of 2005.

Because of saturation in the broadband market, North America achieved only a 4.82 percent growth in broadband lines in the second quarter, according to Point Topic. The Western Europe and Asia-Pacific regions suffered the same malaise, limiting quarterly growth to 5.64 percent and 4.50 percent, respectively.

Asia-Pacific was the region with the lowest growth rate, the firm found.

It is common for the broadband market to show a decline during the first half of the year, according to Point Topic: The firm said it expects more substantial growth in the third and fourth quarters of 2006.

In the second quarter, China added significantly more broadband lines than the United States, with a net addition of 5.1 million lines. China now has 46 million lines, accounting for almost 19 percent of the world's broadband total. That puts the country on track to have the largest broadband subscriber base in the world, Point Topic says.

Growth in DSL has slowed down gradually since the third quarter of 2005, the firm says. This slowdown is most apparent in South Korea and Japan, where a significant number of subscribers have migrated from DSL to FTTx optical fiber architectures, the firm says.

Cable modem services also reported a decline in growth during the second quarter, according to Point Topic.

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