Research and Markets has announced the addition of its 2008 Asian - Broadband Market report to its range of publications. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the broadband Internet segment of the market across the various economies of Asia. Asia makes a strong claim to be the world-leader when it comes to the development of broadband Internet. In fact, in 2008 after the mobile market, broadband is the fastest growing telecom market segment in Asia. The energetic expansion of broadband, however, has remained more of a phenomenon limited to the developed economies, with narrowband dial-up access being the norm in the poorer developing countries of the region.
Of course, there are signs that this is changing, but for the moment there is a “digital gap.” In those economies where the broadband market is taking off, DSL and cable modem platforms have both proved popular, with DSL having had a clear advantage. With DSL dominating the world market, Asia has become the leading market in the world for DSL, with about 38% of the world’s DSL subscribers. More recently, Research and Markets has seen “the advent of FTTH as an alternative platform for broadband access. In the leading technology markets of Japan and South Korea FTTH is starting to displace other forms of high-speed Internet access.”
Emergers have long way to go
With broadband Internet continuing to take Asia by storm, the region’s broadband market finds itself dominated by six players - and these are predominantly the economies of North Asia. South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau, Taiwan and Japan, for the moment at least, have left the rest of the region behind in terms of penetration and sophistication of their broadband services and infrastructure (of the six, South Korea is the most remarkable example of the Asian broadband revolution, with a broadband subscriber penetration in mid-2008 greater than 31%, while more than 90%.
Despite the regional broadband market being dominated by the relatively small number of countries mentioned above, there continues to be considerable activity in the Internet and online markets across Asia. In terms of sheer broadband Internet numbers, China (70 million broadband subscribers) is already maintaining a real presence, despite its relatively modest user penetration compared with the leading markets.
What Research and Markets does see is activity in those economies that fall outside the top band of Asian Internet markets. In terms of broadband household penetration two distinct lower groupings appear. The countries in the second band – roughly between 5% and 20% household penetration – are in expansion mode when it comes to their Internet markets. But there is a clear gap – more than 30% on the household penetration scale – to be bridged before they can be counted in the top grouping.
With Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand playing lead roles in the middle group, Research and Markets typically finds that in the last few years both operators and governments have started to give priority to expanding Internet access and speed in these countries. China in definitely in this grouping as it battles to provide Internet access for its huge population.
Then there is a third grouping – those markets with a user penetration of less than 2%, ie, those countries that, for whatever reason, have not yet “got their act together” when it comes to Internet. Of course, some are performing relatively well under difficult circumstances. Indonesia has major infrastructure challenges to overcome in providing Internet to its citizens. India, like China, is struggling with its huge population and has focused on mobile telephony services. Quite simply, at the bottom end of the scale there are a number of countries that simply have to manage with poor telecom infrastructure and generally underdeveloped regulatory regimes.