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Wireless subscribers drive broadband growth

1st December 2011 Print

Demand from new wireless broadband subscribers is driving growth in high-speed Internet in OECD countries but the latest data show a slowdown in fixed subscriptions in the first half of 2011.

New wireless broadband subscriptions maintained double digit growth, rising by 14% from the last half of 2010. Year-on-year, wireless subscriptions rose by 26%.

Fixed wired broadband subscriptions increased by only 2.25% between December 2010 and June 2011 (5.83% year-on-year), down from 6% in the last half of 2010. Today, there are 309 million fixed subscribers in the OECD.

Globally, Switzerland and the Netherlands top the fixed broadband ranking (with over 38 lines per 100 inhabitants). The OECD average is 25.1.

Korea (99.3), Sweden (93.6), Japan (80.0) and Finland (79.1) are the leading countries in wireless broadband penetration, some of them nearly doubling the OECD average of 47.9.

The share of DSL and cable subscription remains stable (58.8% and 29.5%). Fibre-to-the-home subscriptions continued to grow and now represent 13% of broadband subscription (3,5% growth in six months).

Nordic countries, with among the highest fixed broadband penetration, demonstrate very low growth in this segment and even slight falls in Finland and Iceland. They also have among the highest wireless broadband penetration rates, which indicates the overall complementary nature of these networks.

New Zealand saw a rapid rise in both fixed and wireless broadband, moving to 12th from 16th in the broadband ranking, boosted by the entry of a third mobile network operator, 2Degrees, in 2010. Demand is also likely to grow in France in 2012 with the entry of a new wireless operator, Iliad, bringing increasing competiton in prices and services to the market.

OECD countries are reporting wireless broadband data in an increasingly harmonized manner  with the OECD wireless broadband methodology, as rankings are more stable than when these were first reported  in 2010.