Global Broadband Subscribers Q1 2022
Fixed broadband subscribers reach a global total of 1.3bn in Q1 2022
Summary of key findings
By the end of Q1 2022, the number of global fixed broadband connections grew by 1.7% and stood at 1.3bn. The extent of growth varied across markets, with 13 countries reporting a decline in fixed broadband subscriptions. The decline was mainly in saturated markets with high broadband penetration or those where mobile broadband is the dominant method of access the internet.
Main trends in Q1 2022:
Fixed broadband subscriber numbers grew in 90 per cent of the 131 countries covered in this report.
The share of FTTH in the total fixed broadband subscriptions continued to increase and stood at 58 per cent. Superfast and ultrafast cable broadband connections followed with an 17 per cent share. Connections over all other technologies lost market shares to fibre.
Between Q1 2022 and Q4 2021, the number of copper lines fell by 9.8 per cent, while FTTH connections increased by 13.5 per cent.
China added 14 million, Brazil 1.1 million and France a million fibre broadband subscriptions.
Global and regional trends
In Q1 2022, the quarterly fixed broadband subscriber growth rate stood at 1.7 per cent, with the number of connections reaching 1.3 bn (Figures 1 and 2). Similarly to Q4 2021, the growth rate was slightly lower than in the respective quarter a year ago.
The largest broadband market of East Asia has recovered its share of net additions to fixed broadband subscribers – it stood at 71 per cent compared to 52 per cent in the previous quarter (Figure 3). With China dominating East Asia in terms of the market size, this regional recovery was mainly due to much higher broadband subscriber net adds in the country in Q1 2022 compared to Q4 2021. As a result, the share of adds in Asia – Other has dropped from 25 per cent to 11 per cent quarter-on-quarter. In Q1 2022, we recorded negative net adds in Eastern Europe due to the significant quarterly fall in fixed broadband subscribers in Ukraine.
East Asia has retained the largest regional market share of fixed broadband connections at 48 per cent (Figure 4). Compared to Q4 2021, North America, America Other, Eastern Europe, Europe Other and Oceania saw their market shares decline while they increased for Africa, East Asia and Asia Other though in all regions the changes were less than one percentage point.
In Q1 2022, the growth in the number of fixed broadband subscribers was slower than in Q4 2021 in all regions except for East Asia and North America. In the latter, this was the case thanks to stronger growth in both the United States and Canada while the markets of China and South Korea were largely responsible for faster growth in East Asia (Figures 5 and 6).
Oceania maintained the lowest market share of global fixed broadband subscribers at 0.8 per cent. It was followed by Africa with 1.6 per cent. The developing markets of East Asia and Asia Other were among the fastest growing regions, with the latter still having the second lowest population penetration at 5 per cent (Figures 7 and 8).
All the largest twenty broadband markets grew fixed broadband subscribers this quarter. Compared to the previous quarter, the Q1 2022 growth was significantly slower in India, Vietnam, Brazil and Turkey, although the growth rates were still above 1%.
Between Q1 2022 and Q4 2021, the share of FTTH connections in the total fixed broadband subscriptions continued to grow – it went up by 0.8 per cent and stood at 58 per cent. Both cable and copper-based (ADSL) broadband connections saw their market shares shrink further. In Q1 2021, they held 17 per cent and 10 per cent shares respectively. VDSL, which we include in FTTx, saw subscriber numbers grow further in some countries (Turkey, Greece, Czech Republic, Germany and Italy for example), while their numbers fell in sixteen markets as direct fibre took hold.
We looked at FTTH/B growth rates in the markets with at least 0.5m fibre broadband connections. The highest fibre subscriber growth rates in Q1 2022 were mainly in the developing markets, with France, Germany and Italy also reporting significant growth, as in previous quarters.
In terms of FTTH/B broadband net additions in Q1 2022, China led with 14.1 million, while Brazil and France once again added around a million of fibre broadband subscriptions.
Globally, between Q4 2021 and Q1 2022, the number of copper lines fell by 9.8 per cent, while FTTH connections increased by 13.5 per cent (Figure 12). Satellite and wireless (mostly FWA) connections also recorded a 6 per cent and 5 per cent growth respectively as these technologies enable users to access broadband where wired networks are difficult to deploy.
Top broadband countries
The top ten countries by fixed broadband subscribers remain largely unchanged (Figure 13). China has more than half a billion fixed broadband subscribers, having added more than 15 million in Q1 2022. The country is also approaching 0.9 billion 5G subscribers, with 118 million added in Q1 2022. It will be interesting to see what impact this will have on the fixed broadband market in the country.
India, United States, Brazil and the UK added more than 0.5 million subscribers in Q1 2022, with Vietnam, Russia, Mexico, Egypt and Iran completing the top ten league by net adds.
 It is possible there will be restatements in the coming quarter/s and single period data should be viewed in that light.  Not including FTTB which had at least 4% share. It is currently included in FTTx (see the next footnote).  Some of our FTTx figures include FTTB/FTTH as it is not always possible to identify the technology split in some operators’ FTTx figures.