RealTime IT News

Broadband Market Still Expanding

Demand for faster Internet connections is continuing to fuel global adoption for broadband access. According to the latest estimates from industry research firm iSuppli, the third quarter of 2009 saw the addition of 16.3 million new broadband subscribers worldwide.

The estimate represents a 2 percent year-over-year increase and comes even as ISPs are being hit by the effects of a global economic slowdown.

According to iSuppli, 2009 will be a growth year for broadband adoption globally. The company now forecasts that the full year will record a 5 percent, year-over-year increase in the number of new broadband subscribers.

iSuppli now pegs the total worldwide number of broadband subscribers in 2009 at 64.2 million.

The analyst firm isn't the only one seeing positive trends. Globally, overall broadband connection speeds are on the rise, according to Akamai's Second Quarter 2009 State of the Internet Report, issued in October. According to Akamai, the global average connection speed in the second quarter of 2009 was 1.5 Mbps

At the recent Supercomm conference, carriers and vendors alike discussed the benefits that broadband is bringing to the U.S. and the rest of the world. During the event, Cox Communications President Patrick Esser said that 95 percent of U.S. households will have access to broadband in 2009.

Still, a large portion of the Internet's total broadband growth may be happening outside of the U.S., where at least one researcher sees declining figures.

A separate report earlier this year from analyst firm Leichtman Research Group (LRG) showed a declining number of U.S.-based broadband subscribers. According to LRG, for the second quarter of 2009, the U.S. added a net 634,000 broadband subscribers, which was the worst quarterly performance in the eight years that LRG has been tracking the market.

Impact on networking equipment vendors

The continuing demand for broadband access is also helping to fuel demand for networking equipment. According to iSuppli, $3.2 billion will be spent in the third quarter of 2009 on broadband equipment. The third-quarter 2009 iSuppli forecast represents a 6.3 percent increase on a year-over-year basis for broadband network equipment spending.

For all of 2009, iSuppli is now forecasting $13.2 billion in global broadband equipment revenue, which is a 5.8 percent increase over 2008 revenues.

The findings come amid a busy year for network equipment vendors, with a flurry of recent announcements.

Alcatel-Lucent has been active with its service provider customers, rolling out a new optical transport to IP initiative as well as new routers for edge-of-network deployments. Networking giant Cisco has also been active, releasing new routers and providing a migration path for carriers to move from the current IPv4 addressing scheme to the next-generation IPv6 .

Juniper Networks has also been active recently, rolling out a series of new product initiatives including new silicon and software to help provide more bandwidth to carriers.