Fixed broadband connections generated $188 billion in service revenue in 2012, up 7% on the previous year and forecast to grow to over $250 billion by 2018, according to the latest quarterly report from ABI Research. Interestingly, we collectively pay around 80% as much for fixed broadband as for television subscriptions, and the proportion is forecast to rise over the next five years.

Fibre-optic broadband service revenue grew 24% year on year, while services delivered over telephone and cable networks grew 2% and 6% respectively. By 2018, ABI Research forecasts that fibre to the home revenue will reach over $80 billion, accounting for almost a third of global broadband service receipts.

The fixed broadband market in the United States is worth $43 billion but fibre-optic services account for only 7% of that, led by Verizon with FiOS.

Average revenue per user has continued to decline across all forms of broadband globally over the past few years. That trend is expected to continue, as operators offer lower prices to capture market share. In some countries, increasing competition from mobile broadband is expected to increase pressure on pricing.

The pay-television market meanwhile grew to $238 billion, also up 7% year on year. It is expected to generate over $300 billion in 2018.

IPTV is gaining market share, accounting for 11.5% of that revenue in 2012, up from 10% the previous year. The market share is forecast to increase to 18% in 2018, generating $53 billion in revenue.

The growth of IPTV services globally has been relatively slow and steady over the last decade, but is nevertheless forecast to take a significant share of the market.

What is perhaps more surprising is that broadband access has grown to become worth almost as much as pay television over this period, with around 625 million broadband homes worldwide. With the growth of over-the-top services, the perceived and actual value of broadband will only increase further.

The figures from ABI Research are from their Broadband Carriers and Revenue and Pay-TV ARPU and Revenues market data.