China's adoption of broadband continues to far out-pace that of all other nations, placing the East Asian country in a dominant position to leverage the benefits ultra-broadband delivers to schools, homes, government and businesses.
In the third quarter of last year, East Asia accounted for 70% of new fixed broadband subscribers, according to "Trends on Global Broadband Subscribers: Q3 2016," recently released by Point Topic. The region's overall growth rate of 3.89% was 1.89% higher than the prior quarter, the research firm said.
China Is Tops in Worldwide Broadband Subscribers
As a result, China -- which had about one-quarter billion subscribers in the first quarter of 2016 -- now is up to almost 300 million fixed-broadband subscribers, the study found. The United States comes in a distant second with approximately 120 million broadband subscribers, trailed by Japan and Germany with less than 100 million each.
Over six months last year, China added almost 41 million FTTH connection, accounting for 89% of all FTTH new additions worldwide within that timeframe, Point Topic Ltd. said. In the 12 months between Q3 2016 and Q3 2015, FTTH connections worldwide grew about 77%, the researcher found.
China Leads the World in New Broadband Subscribers
The Big Picture
China is creating a new "population of consumers" that needs high-speed access on online marketplaces, wrote Bain & Co. in "The Great Eight: Trillion-Dollar Growth Trends to 2020." In fact, about two thirds of the middle class projected to grow between 2010 and 2020 will be found in China and India, Bain & Co. projected -- although many in both nations will remain poor. Access to high-bandwidth educational resources, e-tail sites for handmade items and crowdsourced loans also can generate more opportunities.
On the business front, like its counterparts around the world, China suffers from talent recruitment and management and is using its FTTH/B investment, in part, to help local and international companies attract professionals, the Bain report said. Concerns about the Trump Administration's immigration policies -- as evidenced by this weekend's edict -- could encourage more international businesses to rely on telework, wrote telecommuting expert Jack Nilles in a prescient November 2016 blog on JALA. Chinese companies already have tested the concept with positive results; more widespread access to broadband only increases the pool of potential employees.
Increasing broadband availability also ties in with China's self-vision as a technology leader. Late last year, the country's Sunway TaihuLight was officially named the globe's fastest supercomputer. Within 15 years, China went from having no presence on the world's official ranking of supercomputers to having 171 systems (tied with the US) -- including the top two -- on the official Top 500 list, last released in November 2016.
Adam Dunstan, vice president of SDN/NFV engineering at CenturyLink, discusses the fixed-line operator's new ability to deliver broadband DSL over a CORD network and its goal of virtualizing its access network and central offices.
As they transform their networks, service providers discover the beneficial impact virtualization has on customer experience, said Oracle executives such as CEO Mark Hurd during the company's annual Connect event in Orlando.
Global communications service providers continue to evolve their networks to deliver the user-driven service models and higher bandwidths demanded by consumers. At the same time, 5G densification initiatives are top of mind around the globe, with hundreds of thousands of 5G small cells needing an open, programmable and highly scalable access technology to fuel the growing demand for connectivity. As a result, 5G densification projects will demand fixed-access networks, supporting fronthaul, backhaul and crosshaul applications that provide:
Service agility by applying modern data center principles aligned with DevOps service creation and deployment
Hardware and facilities redundancy offering unprecedented business continuity
Low latency supporting the rigid specifications of the 5G standard
Network elasticity to support service growth to not just multi-gigabit, but multi-10Gbit/s levels
Cost sensitivity supporting mass market services further enabled by Fixed Access Network Sharing (FANS)
With the current maturation of 10G broadband technologies, and the heightened demand for high-speed fixed and mobile connectivity, 2017 is promising to be the year mass-market, multi-gigabit 10Gbit/s fiber services become commercially viable.
NG-PON2 broadband access technology is already in trials with multiple major network operators but is it too early for the commercial deployment of this next generation ultra-broadband technology? In this UBB2020 live radio show, ADTRAN's Kurt Raaflaub provides an update on NG-PON2 developments and chats to Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre about how this technology could play a role in production access networks in 2017.