Parks Points

Global Demand for High-Speed Broadband Continues to Increase

by Brett Sappington | Jan. 10, 2017

Broadband services remain a key driving force in global productivity and communication. Businesses, governments, and individuals continue to rely upon the quality and dependability of high-speed data and broadband services in order to inform, educate, interact, and entertain.

On a worldwide basis, household adoption of fixed-line broadband services continues to increase. At the end of 2015, Parks Associates estimates that 739 million global households subscribed to a residential fixed-line broadband service, an increase of more than 40% since the end of 2010.

Here’s a closer look at several regions around the world with the largest broadband growth potential.


With over 216 million broadband households, China represents 29% of all global broadband households. China also leads global markets in the total increase in broadband subscribers, with over 15 million new broadband homes added within the past year.

Despite the high volume of broadband households, less than half of Chinese households currently receive broadband, revealing a substantial opportunity for future growth in China. Though tightly controlled, broadband now provides Chinese consumers with substantially greater access to information, communication, and content.


With a populace heavily reliant on mobile communications, just over 15 million of India’s households subscribe to fixed-line broadband. However, government-required digitization of the nation’s cable infrastructure is driving a new wave of fixed-line broadband adoption. While many Indian homes still do not have CPE or connections that allow cable-based broadband services, the initiative has allowed India’s volume increase in broadband households to rival that of China.

Latin America

Though growth has slowed recently, Latin America has been one of the fastest-growing regions for broadband. With 66 million broadband households in 2015, the region expanded its global share of broadband subscribers from 8% in 2010 to 9% in 2015, outpacing all regions other than Asia/Pacific. Brazil is a top global broadband market by volume, but represents only 39% of broadband households within its region. Chile and Venezuela are two of the fastest growing broadband markets in Latin America. Venezuela has increased the number of broadband households by over 50%, and Chile by over 40%, since 2012. Several other countries in Latin America also enjoy strong broadband growth, including Colombia (9% increase over 2014), Peru (9% increase), Mexico (5.5% increase), and Argentina (4% increase).

Other Regions

In terms of percentage of growth, Africa and the Middle East show the highest global growth rate for broadband, primarily due to the extremely low starting point for broadband penetration among nations in these regions. Volume growth is still occurring, however, and following improved stability, Egypt is now among the top nations in the region in terms of volume growth in broadband subscriptions within the past year.

North America and Western Europe are the most mature broadband markets among global regions, with most nations exceeding 75% in broadband penetration. As a result, subscriber growth has slowed. While the U.S., France, and the U.K. are still among the top 10 global subscriber growth markets by volume, the two regions’ collective global share of broadband subscribers has slipped from 41% in 2010 to 32% in 2015.

Japan and South Korea represent the opposite end of the fixed-line broadband market spectrum from much of Asia—mature, highly-penetrated broadband markets with increasingly intense competition for very-high-speed services. Japanese and South Korean operators were among the world’s first to offer residential gigabit-speed broadband services. Japanese cable operators began offering these speeds in late 2008, while Korean operators joined the fray in late 2014.

Globally, household adoption of fixed-line broadband services continues to increase due to factors such as connected device ownership, always-on access and Wi-Fi, and entertainment. New generations of connected products and Internet-based services enter the market with a core assumption that high-speed data connections are easily and readily available—an assumption that is generally true for most developed nations and becoming true for many emerging markets.

This article originally appeared in CED Magazine.

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Brett Sappington

Brett Sappington

Senior Research Director and Principal Analyst

INDUSTRY EXPERTISE: Pay TV and OTT video services, entertainment content distribution, video and cloud technologies, broadband services

As Senior Research Director and Principal Analyst, Brett Sappington leads Parks Associates research practice for entertainment, broadband access, and consumer electronics markets. His personal and custom research focuses on trends and technology innovations among major service providers, content producers, networks, and technology vendors and the market forces affecting their businesses. Brett is an internationally recognized thought leader in the television, broadband, and online video service industries.

Brett has spent over twenty years in the industry as an analyst, executive manager, and entrepreneur for companies specializing in cloud, communication, and IP-related technologies. He founded a successful networking technology startup, built new divisions of wireless networking and audio software products, and was involved in the development and marketing of early-market products for Wi-Fi, VoIP, video-over-IP and other technologies.

Brett holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin with a concentration in high-tech marketing and a BA in physics from Baylor University.

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