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Global Broadband Subscriber Base to Double

Over the past 12 months, approximately 65 million new broadband subscribers signed up for high-speed access to the Internet, according to In-Stat's latest global assessment.

By 2011, total worldwide broadband subscribers will number 567 million, almost double the current 285 million subscriber base, the high-tech market research firm says. Clearly, in many markets, growth is being driven by mainstream consumer applications.

However, in some of the less developed markets new groups of early-adopters are joining the ranks of the existing subscriber base. Understanding the differences in user needs, and segmenting the marketplace accordingly, will be key to broadband service providers continued success and growth.

"The principal market driver for the adoption of broadband service is pretty straightforward: people want to access the Internet with a higher-speed connection," says Mike Paxton, In-Stat analyst. "Beyond this basic desire, the emergence of online applications such as viewing video clips or TV programming, downloading music files, and even playing online games, are fueling end-user demand for fatter pipes."

I believe that the divergent applications for broadband internet access has raised the service provider product marketing bar of expectations. In the past, the simplistic "bigger bandwidth" mantra was considered at the core of the value proposition. In contrast, a forward-looking perspective uncovers a more intricate offering that shifts the focus to applications -- or more specifically, enabling consumers to realize the full potential of their abundant bandwidth.

For the non-technical subscriber, application support is a key component of the broadband service offering. Therefore, expect to see more marketing messaging targeted at addressing the "show me, teach me, guide me" consumer information requirement. For the novice subscriber , this is the value-added service (VAS) that they crave the most.

In-Stat's market study found the following:

- DSL and cable modem services are the top access technologies, providing 92 percent of worldwide broadband connections.

- By 2011, worldwide DSL subscribers will account for 58 percent of all worldwide broadband connections.

- By 2011, there will be over 55 million households using a Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) architecture to provide broadband access.

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