Broadband access: local action will be key to passing the 1bn mark

Global fixed-line internet connections are growing rapidly, but some communities are still left in "not spots”.

Inside the Enterprise: The number of fixed line connections around the world is heading towards the one billion mark but more slowly than expects had expected.

According to Point Topic, a research firm, by 2020 there will be 989.4 million fixed-line, broadband connections. This falls short of the psychologically important one billion connections mark, and although broadband take-up continues to grow, growth is tailing off. To reach a billion connections by 2020, there will need to be "enhanced investment in some markets."

In fact, the tail-off of broadband growth is most marked in the world's mature markets, with countries with younger populations showing the fastest growth.

In part, this is to be expected: in emerging and "youthful" markets, the telecoms and media companies that provide broadband services are starting from a much lower base, than in the West.

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Then there is competition from newer connection technologies. Mobile 4G connections, in particular, offer an alternative to fixed broadband subscriptions, although as yet only a limited number of consumers seem to have abandoned fixed-line broadband for mobile connections as yet. But that is certainly a possibility: fixed to mobile substitution is already very real for voice calls.

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