Worldwide IPTV subscriber numbers grow 3.8 million in first-quarter 2012

More than 3.8 million people subscribed to IPTV in the first quarter of 2012, pushing the international subscriber base over 65.5 million, according to statistics released by the Broadband Forum.

The international nonprofit organization said the IPTV growth was again driven by China, which increased its lead in both numbers and growth rates, and signed up more than three times as many IPTV subscribers as any other country.

Overall broadband growth globally was also led by Asian countries, as broadband subscriber numbers passed the 600 million mark. Asian countries added 8.575 million new lines to total 262.080 million subscribers, the Forum said.

"It is just 18 months since we celebrated the 500 million (broadband) subscriber watershed and even less time since IPTV subscribers reached 50 million--yet in both cases growth is still accelerating," said Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh.

Asia, he added, is "fueling this phenomenal success" with a 42 percent market share.

China had the highest number of new subscribers, at 26.4 million, and an annual growth rate of 19.17 percent. That growth rate, though, fell below those posted by Russia (27.43 percent) and Ukraine (26.82 percent). Other countries with above-average growth rates included Brazil and India.

"The demand for connectivity and the efforts of the industry all point to a world in which billions of devices are connected via the Internet. As this happens, the need for robust standards and the importance of interoperability will grow," Mersh continued.

In this instance, he said, the Broadband Forum's new TR-609 testing program, combined with the Forum's G-PON certification program "are just two of the many preparatory steps we are taking. We are engineering smarter ways to manage smart access technologies and applications."

While fiber is the future and the growth leader, "DSL (which saw is market share drop by 0.5 percent in the quarter) is the most popular access technology on a global basis," said Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic in the Broadband Forum news release. "For fiber, the cost-effectiveness from the operator's point of view and the significant increases in bandwidth over DSL in particular is hitting the sweet spot at the moment in terms of technology market share."

For more:
 - see the Broadband Forum report

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