In the last decade broadband has become one of the fastest adopted technologies. Our broadband market research provider Point Topic projects that the number of high-speed internet connections will grow by almost 70% to reach 680 million lines worldwide over the next five years. This represents a massive market opportunity for online video services. Nevertheless, broadband access will remain a pipe dream for many in poorer parts of the world.

From 2004 to 2008 the number of broadband lines worldwide grew an average of 28% every year. The worldwide growth will slow to a compound rate of just over 10% as developed countries reach saturation, combined with a period of lower economic growth. While countries like South Korea, Japan and Denmark are close to saturation, broadband subscriptions are expected to grow by 50% over the next five years in the United States.

Emerging markets will see considerable expansion, with fourteen countries expected to double their broadband base by 2013.

Brazil, Russia, India and China will be among the fastest growing regions. Brazil will soon become one of the top ten leading broadband countries in the world, increasing by 150% over the next five years to 21 million broadband lines. Other parts of Central and South America will also see significant growth. Russia will see 170% growth, while India is forecast to grow by nearly 500%, to reach over 24 million broadband lines, up from just over four million today. China will grow by 100%, to reach over 150 million broadband lines by 2013, extending its lead over the United States, Japan, Germany, France, India and the United Kingdom.

There will be over 400 million broadband lines by the end of 2008, with the number expected to rise to over 680 million by the end of 2013.

Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Switzerland and Finland will have the highest proportion of broadband lines, with over 40 lines per 100 people, with Germany seeing the greatest increase, from 26% to 42%.

“Even with all this activity broadband will still be just a dream for more than two-thirds of the world’s households in five years time,” Tim Johnson of Point Topic observes. “Many of them will be poorer households in rich countries, as well as those in huge swathes of the developing world. But easy access to the internet is core to education, health, wealth and entertainment for everybody. Broadband is fast, adoption is rapid but for the good of the world it still has a long way to go.”