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Global Broadband Rankings Released

by David Mercer | Jun 18, 2009

Countries, and especially their politicans, get surprisingly animated when global rankings of nations are released. We’ve tried to stir things up a little more by releasing our own version, based on penetration of broadband households. Perhaps it’s a sign that broadband grew out of the communications industry, which generally sees individual people as its primary customers (putting business users to one side for a moment), that households can be ignored as a key metric. Certainly in the world of mobile communications it makes sense to talk about a mobile phone account being attached to an individual user. But broadband is different. Even though many individuals clearly make use of broadband to connect to the internet, the business of broadband is based on selling service to the household as the unit of demand, whether cable, telco or other emerging fixed line provider such as fibre. Once a household is a customer of a broadband service, that household is, generally speaking, free to allow any of its members to use that service at no additional fee. Indeed, the service provider may be unaware of how many users are accessing broadband over any given period of time. Most may put a limit on the number of devices able to access the service (via a wireless LAN or other technologies), but there is no good way to tie that limitation to the number of users sharing those devices. For these reasons we have always used the household, rather than the user, as a key metric when determining the potential for broadband service adoption. That’s not to say that the number of users is not important in other respects, and we track that as well. But the way the broadband business is currently set up (and it doesn’t seem likely to change any time soon) the household is the more important measure. The household is also the target (in the sense of offering universal, high speed access) for the many broadband public policies being developed around the world (see our recent discussion of Australia). So when we look at the percentage of total households in any given country in which broadband is available (ie paid for and used), we find, not surprisingly, that Asia-Pacific countries lead the way, with Korea out in front, as it has been for many years. At the end of last year 95% of Korean households took broadband service, compared to 88% in Singapore and 81% in Hong Kong. But one or two European countries are edging towards the top of the list, led by the Netherlands (85%) and Denmark (82%). It’s not until you reach number 20 (out of a total of 57 countries covered in our research), that the US appears, with household penetration of 60%. Even then, the US is ahead of other “advanced” economies such as Germany (58%), Spain (57%) and Italy (51%). And China, for all the talk of its emerging leadership in all things tech, ranks at number 43 with 21% household penetration. The rural population in China is clearly still way behind leading economies in adoption of PCs and internet access. Here’s the complete ranking: Strategy Analytics: Global Broadband Household Penetration Rankings (2008) 1 South Korea 95% 2 Singapore 88% 3 Netherlands 85% 4 Denmark 82% 5 Taiwan 81% 6 Hong Kong 81% 7 Israel 77% 8 Switzerland 76% 9 Canada 76% 10 Norway 75% 11 Australia 72% 12 Finland 69% 13 France 68% 14 United Kingdom 67% 15 United Arab Em. 65% 16 Japan 64% 17 Sweden 63% 18 Estonia 62% 19 Belgium 62% 20 USA 60% 21 Slovenia 58% 22 Germany 58% 23 Ireland 58% 24 Spain 57% 25 New Zealand 57% 26 Lithuania 51% 27 Italy 51% 28 Austria 50% 29 Portugal 40% 30 Greece 39% 31 Turkey 37% 32 Hungary 34% 33 Slovakia 33% 34Poland 32% 35 Argentina 31% 36 Romania 31% 37 Latvia 30% 38 Czech Republic 28% 39 Mexico 28% 40 Chile 27% 41 Croatia 23% 42 China 21% 43 Malaysia 21% 44Venezuela 17% 45 Brazil 17% 46 Russia 14% 47 Bulgaria 13% 48 Peru 11% 49 Saudi Arabia 7% 50 Thailand 7% 51 Vietnam 7% 52 Philippines 5% 53 Albania 5% 54 Ukraine 4% 55 Egypt 3% 56 India 2% 57 Indonesia 1% Source: Strategy Analytics’ Multiplay Market Dynamics service, June 2009 Twitter: Client Reading: Sputnik Moment: The Call for a National Broadband Policy Asia Pacific Broadband Forecast: 1H09 Add to Technorati Favorites
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