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Broadband surges despite Meltdown

China tops US as most-wired nation

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The ongoing Meltdown may be causing most sectors of the tech economy to wither, wilt, and shrivel, but one industry is going gangbusters: broadband.

According to a report (PDF) released Tuesday by the packet-networking spec curators and marketing boosters at the Broadband Forum, broadband's global reach increased by 16.6 million lines in the first quarter of 2009.

And the pace is increasing, with broadband adoption rates "slightly higher" than during the previous quarter.

Worldwide broadband connections now top 429.2 million, with China leapfrogging the United States to become the globe's most-wired nation. China now has 88 million broadband lines and the US 84 million - although the States still hold a strong per-capita lead over The Middle Kingdom. The UK ranks sixth at 17.6 million, right behind France's 18 million and comfortably ahead of number seven, Korea, at 15.7 million.

IPTV (internet protocol television) growth is also impressive, with Western Europe leading the world with 11.4 million subscriptions, far ahead of number two, North America, at 4.4 million. But North America's growth rate exceeds that of Western Europe: 94 per cent year-on-year versus Western Europe's 46 per cent.

DSL maintains its hefty lead over cable as the most popular connection technology with 64.6 per cent of the market to cable's 20.7 per cent. Three million fiber lines were added during the quarter, with that technology now holding a 12.4 per cent market share.

Expect the Broadband Forum to pop open the bubbly sometime later this year or early next when broadband connections top a half-billion. ®

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