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  • Writer's pictureJolanta Stanke

Global Broadband Subscriptions in Q2 2023: Growth slowest in two years

This report provides an updated analysis of trends in global and regional broadband subscriptions, technology adoption, and the growth rates in major markets, focusing on the Q2 2023 data.


In Q2 2023, the global fixed broadband connections reached 1.4 billion, reflecting a quarterly growth rate of 1.25%. We recorded a decline in fixed broadband subscriptions in 26 countries[1], up from 18 in Q1 2023. Some of these markets have high mobile subscriber penetration, others are experiencing economic headwinds and / or are already highly saturated markets, for example - Singapore, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Italy and UK.


Some other key points:

  • As the economic uncertainty continues, the global quarterly growth rate was slowest in the last two years. The highest growth came from the developing and least saturated markets.

  • Among the largest twenty broadband markets all but two saw fixed broadband subscribers grow in Q2 2023. United Kingdom and Italy recorded a decline in subscribers as the figures migrating to fibre broadband were not sufficient to compensate for copper-based subscriber churn.

  • Among global regions, Africa and Asia Other saw the fastest increase in broadband connections, not least thanks to growth in such sizeable markets as India, Vietnam, Turkey and Indonesia.

  • The share of FTTH/B in the total fixed broadband subscriptions increased further and stood at 67.4%. Broadband connections based on other technologies saw their market shares shrink further, with an exception of satellite and wireless (mainly FWA).

  • The highest FTTH/B broadband subscriber growth rates in Q2 2023 were in Turkey, India and Romania.

Figure 1. Trends in world broadband subscriber growth. Source – Point Topic.
Figure 1. Trends in world broadband subscriber growth. Source – Point Topic.

During Q2 2023, global fixed broadband subscribers increased by 1.25%, reaching 1.4 billion. It was the lowest growth rate in the last two years, suggesting a slowdown in demand for broadband connectivity in the context of inflation and economic instability (Figure 1 and Table 1).

Table 1. Global broadband subscribers and quarterly growth rates. Source – Point Topic.
Table 1. Global broadband subscribers and quarterly growth rates. Source – Point Topic.

In Q2 2023, East Asia continued to dominate, maintaining its position as the largest market with a 49.53% share of global fixed broadband subscribers, up slightly from 49.39% in Q1 2023. This substantial market share is primarily driven by China with its vast population[2] (Table 2). However, there was a noticeable decline in the region’s share of net additions from 68.74% in Q1 2023 to 60.39% in Q2 2023, mainly due to lower net broadband subscriber adds in China and Japan. The rest of Asia experienced a slight growth in market share from 10.79% in Q1 2023 to 10.85% in Q2 2023, while the region’s net additions share jumped from 8.63% to 15.19% in the same period thanks to higher broadband subscriber adds in such sizeable markets as India, Vietnam, Turkey and Indonesia, among others.

 Table 2. Share of fixed broadband subscribers and trends in net adds by region. Source – Point Topic
Table 2. Share of fixed broadband subscribers and trends in net adds by region. Source – Point Topic

Europe showed varied trends: Eastern Europe's market share dropped from 5.17% in Q1 2023 to 5.14% in Q2 2023, with net additions increasing from 0.51% to 2.75%, reflecting higher growth in Russia, Romania and Slovakia, among others. The rest of Europe saw a slight reduction in market share from 13.38% to 13.24%, with net additions also dropping from 3.79% to 2.64%, as the large markets of France, Italy and Spain recorded lower net additions and even a decline in the case of the UK.


North America witnessed a slight dip in its market share, from 10.68% in Q1 2023 to 10.63% in Q2 2023. However, there was a marked rise in net additions, growing from 4.77% to 6.38%, driven by a good quarter in Canada. The rest of the Americas saw a marginal growth in market share, inching up from 8.07% to 8.09%, coupled with a drop in net additions: 10.31% in Q1 to 9.37% in Q2.

Figure 2. Share of net adds of fixed broadband subscribers by region. Source – Point Topic.
Figure 2. Share of net adds of fixed broadband subscribers by region. Source – Point Topic.

Next we look at fixed broadband penetration among population, comparing it to growth rates across the regions.


Africa led in terms of growth rates in Q2 2023 with 2.3%, though its broadband penetration among the population remains relatively low at 4.7%. This indicates a growing market but with a vast potential for expansion. On the other hand, North America experienced a modest growth rate of 0.7%, but boasts a high penetration rate at 38.9%, suggesting a mature market nearing saturation.

Figure 3. Penetration and quarterly growth by region (Bubble size represents the size of the market). Source – Point Topic.
Figure 3. Penetration and quarterly growth by region (Bubble size represents the size of the market). Source – Point Topic.

America – Other saw a growth rate of 1.5% and a penetration rate of 17.6%, indicating that a significant portion of the population already has broadband access, but there is still considerable room for growth. In East Asia, the growth rate stands at 1.5% with a high penetration rate of 42.6%, highlighting a mature market. Conversely, the Asia - Other region experienced a higher growth rate of 1.8%, but its broadband penetration is only at 5.7%, pointing to a market that is still in early stages of broadband adoption.


Eastern Europe's growth was recorded at 0.7%, and it has a broadband penetration of 25%. This suggests that a considerable number of the population already has access, with some headroom for market expansion remaining. The quarterly growth in the region was modest, however, not least to inflationary pressures and Russia-Ukraine conflict. The rest of Europe showed minimal growth at 0.2% and a high penetration rate of 39.5%, indicating a highly saturated market. Lastly, Oceania mirrored Europe's trend with a growth rate of 0.2% and a penetration of 33.3%, pointing to a market approaching maturity.

Viet Country and technology trends

In Q2 2023, the fastest growth came from the developing countries and least mature broadband markets (Figure 4).

 Figure 4. Top 25 markets by quarterly growth rate in fixed broadband subscribers (Q2 2023). Source – Point Topic.
Figure 4. Top 25 markets by quarterly growth rate in fixed broadband subscribers (Q2 2023). Source – Point Topic.

Among the largest twenty broadband markets all but two saw fixed broadband subscribers grow in Q2 2023. United Kingdom and Italy recorded a decline in subscribers as the figures migrating to fibre broadband were not sufficient to compensate for copper-based subscriber churn. In twelve of the twenty markets the growth in Q2 2023 was slower than in the previous quarter.

Table 3. Changes in quarterly growth in fixed broadband subscribers in the largest 20 markets. Source: Point Topic.
Table 3. Changes in quarterly growth in fixed broadband subscribers in the largest 20 markets. Source: Point Topic.Table 3. Changes in quarterly growth in fixed broadband subscribers in the largest 20 markets. Source: Point Topic.

The less saturated broadband markets of India, Vietnam and Egypt recorded the highest quarterly growth rates in Q2 2023, all higher than 2%. On the contrary, the mature markets of Germany, Japan, France, Italy and continued to experience growth rates at below 0.5%. There was modest growth in Russia which is still under international sanctions. Vietnam, Turkey and Canada recorded the largest improvements in their growth rates, at +1.6.%, +1.2% and +1.03% respectively.


Technology trends

Between Q1 2023 and Q2 2023, the share of FTTH/B connections in the total fixed broadband subscriptions went up by 0.79% and stood at 67.4%. Broadband connections based on other technologies saw their market shares shrink further, with an exception of satellite, wireless (mainly FWA), and Other, which remained stable.

Table 4. Changes in broadband technology market shares. Source – Point Topic.
Table 4. Changes in broadband technology market shares. Source – Point Topic.

The share of FTTx (mainly VDSL) stood at 7.1%[3]. FTTx subscriber numbers grew in 23 countries (including quarterly increase in the large VDSL markets of Turkey, Australia and Germany, for example), while they fell in 27 other markets as consumers migrated to FTTH/B.


In the context of fibre broadband expansion, we looked at the growth of FTTH/B in markets with at least 0.5 million fibre broadband connections. In Q2 2023, Turkey was at the top of the list with a 6% quarterly growth rate. India followed with 5.7%, while Romania, Mexico and France also recorded growth above 4%. Even the more ‘modest’ 2% quarterly increase in fibre broadband subscribers in China and Indonesia is significant, given the size of their markets.


Overall, fibre subscriber growth rates were slower in Q2 2023 compared to Q1 2023, as global economies grapple with energy costs and inflation.

Table 5. Top 10 markets by FTTH/B growth rates (countries with at least 0.5m fibre broadband subscribers). Source: Point Topic.
Table 5. Top 10 markets by FTTH/B growth rates (countries with at least 0.5m fibre broadband subscribers). Source: Point Topic.

In terms of FTTH/B broadband net additions in Q2 2023, China continued to maintain a significant lead with 12 million while India and United States added more than a million each. See our complete dataset for full details.


Between Q2 2022 and Q2 2023, broadband technologies globally diverged further. The number of copper lines saw further decline (-11.6%), while FTTH/B connections grew by 11.4% (Figure 5), as consumers continued to show preference for higher bandwidth and operators encouraged consumer migration. In the face of competition from fibre, cable broadband subscribers also declined by 1%.

 Figure 5. Annual growth in subscriber numbers by technology, Q2 2022 to Q2 2023. Source – Point Topic.
Figure 5. Annual growth in subscriber numbers by technology, Q2 2022 to Q2 2023. Source – Point Topic.

Overall, the latest fixed broadband subscriber data confirms a trend of consumers increasingly choosing ultrafast broadband solutions like FTTH/B and Docsis 3.1, while older technologies such as copper-based broadband are experiencing a decline, as broadband landscape is continuously evolving to meet the growing demand for faster and more reliable connectivity.


This report is pulled from our Global Broadband Statistics product. Customers who subscribe receive access to the full data set.

 

[1] It is possible there will be restatements in the coming quarter/s and single period data should be viewed in that light. Decline in some markets can be due to changes in methodology used by national regulatory authorities. [2] Although we use them in our reports, we cannot vouch for the country’s officially reported broadband subscriber figures which suggest household penetration well over 100%. [3] Some of our FTTx subscriber figures include both FTTB/FTTH and VDSL, as it is not always possible to identify the technology split in some operators’ figures reported as ‘fibre’.

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