Global gigabit internet subscriptions are expected to increase to 50 million in 2022, more than doubling from 24 million at the end of 2020, according to a new report from market research firm Omdia (owned by Informa).
The Omdia report states that accelerated fiber deployments are helping to drive an increase in gigabit connectivity.
“Demand for reliable broadband is set to drive growth in gigabit services, with fiber playing a key role,” said Peter Boyland, principal analyst, broadband at Omdia.
“There were fewer than 620 million fiber subscriptions globally at the end of 2020, but we expect these to grow to 719 million in 2022, or 62% of total subscriptions.” The majority of fiber internet subscribers are expected to be in China.
However, Omdia warns that service providers must “carefully consider market demand” for their gigabit strategies and make targeted investments in fiber.
“Service providers need to carefully plan and execute gigabit network rollout, analyzing a number of factors, including infrastructure challenges, market competition, and expected demand,” writes Omdia. “But this does not stop with network rollout – operators need to continually monitor potential competitors and constantly innovate, refresh, and build service offerings so they stay ahead of rivals.”
The analysts also point out the opportunity for vendors in the market who can help service providers build “future proof” networks. “Vendors can offer long-term solutions such as monitoring and automation tools to extend the operator/vendor relationship beyond network rollouts,” the report recommends.
Of course, what matters most to consumers is reliable service. According to Omdia’s Digital Consumer Insights survey, 36% of respondents said they were more reliant on broadband services during COVID-19, and 55% of respondents said reliability ranked top among the most important home broadband features.
All of this gigabit and fiber growth will impact broadband speeds for years to come. According to Omdia:
“In 2020, just 2% of broadband subscriptions were more than 1Gbps, but this is expected to double to 4% in 2022.”
–>See table below for the 25 countries with the fastest AVERAGE internet speeds, ranked by Cable. Note that none of them is close to 1Gbps.
The report says that subscribers with access to 500 Mbit/s-1 Gbit/s will increase from 15% in 2020 to 21% in 202, with 17% of broadband subscriptions projected to reach speeds over 1 Gbit/s by 2026.
While high-bandwidth entertainment like augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) and gaming were thought to be the main drivers for ever-faster home broadband speeds in pre-pandemic times, Omdia’s report doesn’t think they are significantly important for gigabit Internet growth, referring to them just once as “other drivers.”
Internet comparison site Cable has ranked the countries with the fastest broadband internet in the world based on over 1.1 billion speed tests across 224 countries and territories.
“The acceleration of the fastest countries in the world has finally plateaued this year as they reach FTTP pure fibre saturation. Increases in speed among the elite performers, then, can be attributed in greater part to uptake in many cases than to network upgrades. Meanwhile, though the countries occupying the bottom end of the table still suffer from extremely poor speeds, 2021’s figures do indicate that the situation is improving,” said Dan Howdle of Cable.
Here are the 25 countries with the fastest download speeds:
|7||Macau||MO||ASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)||128.56|
|11||Singapore||SG||ASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)||97.61|
|13||Japan||JP||ASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)||96.36|
|14||United States||US||NORTHERN AMERICA||92.42|
|15||Hong Kong||HK||ASIA (EX. NEAR EAST)||91.04|
|23||Aland Islands||AX||WESTERN EUROPE||81.31|
It is the fourth year of the assessment and the latest ranking uses data collected in the 12 months up to 30th June 2021 to evaluate internet speed by country.
In a report released Thursday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) said that the FCC’s benchmark for minimum broadband internet speeds (set six years ago at “always on” access of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream) is no longer fast enough. That’s especially the case for small business owners. After conducting a study on the matter, the GAO recommends the FCC analyze small business speed requirements at this time and reconsider its current definition.
“FCC officials said they are not aware of any small business requirements that have been taken into consideration in determining the minimum speed benchmark,” the GAO says. “Analyzing small business speed requirements could help inform FCC’s determination of the benchmark speed for broadband.”
The figure below illustrates the various kinds of business broadband use and the associated relative speed requirements.
Illustrative Examples of Different Kinds of U.S. Business Broadband Use:
Sources vary in terms of the specific speeds they recommend for small businesses. For example, in 2017, BroadbandUSA—a National Telecommunications and Information Administration program—published a fact sheet stating that small businesses need a minimum of 50 Mbps speeds in order to conduct tasks such as managing inventory, operating point-of-sale terminals, and coordinating shipping. A 2019 USDA report on rural broadband and agriculture stated that, as technology advances and volumes of data needed to manage agriculture production grow, speeds in excess of 25/3 Mbps with more equal download and upload speeds will likely be necessary.
Reports from small businesses show that many want a download speed of at least 100 Mbps to run their operations more effectively. According to the FCC’s data, about 67 percent of rural Americans have access to 100 Mbps down/10 Mbps up speeds, compared to about 83 percent with access to the agency’s current minimum benchmark.
To fulfill a statutory requirement to determine annually whether advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed on a reasonable and timely basis to all Americans, FCC sets a minimum broadband speed benchmark.
In its 2021 Broadband Deployment Report, FCC stated that the current benchmark, last set in 2015, continues to meet that requirement. However, FCC officials said they are not aware of any small business requirements that have been taken into consideration in determining the minimum speed benchmark. Analyzing small business speed requirements could help inform FCC’s determination of the benchmark speed for broadband.
GAO is making one recommendation to FCC to solicit stakeholder input and analyze small business broadband speed needs and incorporate the results of this analysis into the benchmark for broadband. FCC agreed with this recommendation.