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China Extends Broadband Lead

Global broadband subscriber rolls are continuing to grow rapidly with Asian countries -- particularly China -- pacing deployment of DSL and fiber, according to a report issued Wednesday by the Broadband Forum.

The report showed that global broadband lines totaled 484 million lines at the end of the first quarter of 2010 and that number represents a 3.12% growth in the quarter over the previous quarter and 12.41% growth in the last 12 months. The boom in broadband deployment continued to be strong in Asia in general and in China in particular.

China, which passed the U.S. in broadband subscriptions several months ago, has some 112,000 broadband connections compared with 87,000 connections for U.S. subscribers. In addition, China’s rate of growth remains high.

With its strong growth rates of 5.67% in the first quarter and 20.96% over the last year, China is continuing its lead as the fastest growing global country in both percentage and in absolute terms.

“With all the recent technology advancements and service provider pushes, it is great to see how strong broadband continues to grow on a global basis and is now backed by some major national Government initiatives,” said Robin Mersh, chief operating officer of the Broadband Forum in a statement. “We expect this to accelerate even more in the coming years.”

In addition to China and the US, other major industrialized countries that have been adding broadband lines at rapid rates include Germany, the UK, South Korea and Brazil

While U.S. educators and government officials bemoan the relatively slow pace of broadband adoption in the US in recent months, the pace doesn’t seem to worry US consumers -- recent polls have shown that about 80% of U.S. consumers don’t know the speed at which they are surfing the Web.

The Broadband Forum also released statistics on IPTV usage that indicates the service is beginning to take off; in 12-month period from the first quarter of 2009 to the first quarter of 2010, global IPTV subscriber growth was up 46%. The growth took place from a relatively low base and now accounts for some 36 million IPTV subscribers. The Broadband Forum said IPTV penetration is now running at about 7.7% of total broadband lines.

Broadband Forum’s research was based on a database compiled by industry analyst Point Topic.