IPTV is directly benefiting from a decline in copper infrastructure and a concurrent rise in fiber, according to a Point Topic report.
At the end of March 2013, Point Topic tracked 79.3 million worldwide IPTV subscriptions--up 3.3 million over the previous quarter and 13.7 million year-over year. The IPTV growth, the researchers said, correlated to expanded fiber and hybrid-fiber networks.
FTTx services by the end of March had "overtaken cable for the first time," the researchers said. FTTH also grew, "but at a much lower rate and their overall market share is much lower," it added.
Statistically speaking, Point Topic that there were 654.6 million fixed broadband lines worldwide. That growth came the expense of an aging copper infrastructure and transmission services DSL, ADSL and ADSL2 which lost 2.77 million subscribers in the first quarter.
"Of course copper remains the dominant service for most uses across the world, but we believe that we are starting to see a shift in technology, particularly to fiber and hybrid fiber, as consumers require and will pay for higher speeds from their broadband connections," said Laura Kell, operations director at Point Topic in the press release.
As is to be expected, broadband adoption differs significantly across worldwide markets with nearly 50 percent of fixed broadband market in the U.S. being served by cable.
"This is also the key market for FTTH technology--although other fiber technologies are yet to make an impact," the report said. "Asia has the largest market for FTTx technologies, with highest population penetration in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan."
Copper's losing the most ground in Asia and still gaining ground in Africa.
"Fixed broadband will continue to struggle in Africa as there is little or no legacy infrastructure and the superfast bandwidths will not be common for some time," Kell said. "Meanwhile in Asia and Europe where hybrid fiber is the technology of choice at the moment, we see increasing overall bandwidths but perhaps at the cost of the 'future proofing' that end-to-end fiber provides."
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