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Global Broadband Leaders Raise Bandwidth

Market penetration of broadband access services continues globally, with total subscribers on track to reach 500+ million next year, according to a market study by Futuresource Consulting.

"More than 60 percent of all fixed broadband households on the planet are connecting using xDSL, where digital data transmission takes place over a local telephone network, while cable accounts for a little over 20 percent," says Patrik Pfandler, Senior Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting.

Although markets in many developed countries are becoming saturated, alternative hot spots are starting to emerge -- Africa and the Middle East will experience spikes this year that equate to 33 percent growth.

Longer term, India is the country to watch. With one of the lowest household penetration rates for fixed broadband -- at just over 2 percent, or five million subscribers -- they're projected to grow five-fold by 2013, to almost 25 million access lines.

Asia-Pacific is still the global leader, with Japan and South Korea offering average download speeds of approximately 30Mb/s. Sweden leads Europe, averaging 14Mb/s last year. In the U.S., however, the national average achieved last year was just 2.7Mb/s.

"Download speeds are the next broadband battleground in developed countries," says Pfandler, "with network upgrades over the next four to five years providing a number of players with that much-needed edge in a commoditized market."

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