The need for speed is pushing broadband's evolution in new directions and nowhere is demand for speed greater than in Asia. Asia leads the world in fixed broadband access, according to market research group broadband trends. By year-end 2019, Asia will account for 46 percent of the world's 837 million fixed broadband subscribers. Europe, the Middle East and Africa will rank second, followed by North America and Central and Latin America.
From 2013 to 2019, the number of global FTTx subscribers is expected to nearly double from 137 million to 265 million. Led by China, FTTx subscribers in APAC will increase significantly giving APAC the largest base of fibre subscribers globally.
While FTTx will gain momentum, by 2019 it will still only account for 32 percent of broadband subscribers globally. In APAC, it is a different story. Fibre will dominate and overtake Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) in 2016. By year-end 2019, the majority of Asia's fixed broadband subscribers will use FTTx.
Big bandwidth is in, while and buffering and slow downloads and uploads are out. Driven by the proliferation of connected devices in the home and growing popularity of high bandwidth services like video-on-demand, online gaming, cloud services and video conferencing, consumers and businesses are clamoring for more capacity and faster speeds.
Across Asia, governments keen to reap the socio-economic benefits of universal broadband are pressing ahead with national broadband plans.
China for example aims to achieve 50 percent fixed broadband household penetration by 2015, with an average bit rate of 20 Megabits per second (Mbps) in urban areas and 4 Mbps in rural areas. By 2020, the goal is to have Fibre to The Home (FTTH) in all urban areas. The Broadband China initiative calls for connection speeds to reach 50 Mbps in urban areas and 12 Mbps in rural areas.
The story is much the same across Asia. India's National Broadband Plan targets delivery of 2 to 100 Mbps for 600 million households by 2020. This year, Malaysia allocated funds to begin work on the second stage of a High Speed Broadband (HSBB) network its National Broadband Initiative.
All Japanese should have access to 1 Gbps fixed broadband by 2015 under the i-Japan program. Under the Giga Korea project, South Korea aims to make Gbps broadband connections universally available by 2020.
To satisfy rising demand, service providers need to find the most effective evolution path for ultra-broadband access. For most operators, fibre is the solution of choice for ultra fast broadband. Until recently, however, a direct fibre connection to the home was the only way to deliver ultra-fast broadband.
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