Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh at the Convergence India show in Delhi March 24 2011
India gallops towards world's broadband top ten club

India’s growth in broadband in 2010 – second only to China and the US – may soon see the country among the top ten users of broadband in the world.
India added more than 2.5 million new lines of broadband last year and now stands at No13 in the world – having been barely in the top 50 of broadband countries just six years ago.

This was the message brought by Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh, when he joined other industry and government heads at the Convergence India conference in Delhi last week -- the largest annual IT show in the region. In his keynote speech, Mersh urged India's telecommunications operators and vendors to go beyond providing services to become involved with the critical work of developing standards that will help enable the widespread adoption of broadband across India and the world.

Mersh said that broadband was being re-defined because convergence meant that it was no longer possible to separate out fixed from mobile. "We deal with helping real-world problems that are being encountered byoperators as they struggle to meet all sorts of challenges - from simply providing basic broadband to coping with major issues such as network convergence and IPv6 migration," said Mersh.

"There has been tremendous and consistent growth in broadband across India in recent years, yet this is just the tip of the iceberg," he added, "Both fixed and wireless broadband options abound and the Broadband Forum isdoing all it can to help India's service providers engineer smarter and faster networks."

This was the first appearance at Convergence India of the nBroadband Forum whose 200-strong membership comprises service providers, vendors and research centres, is involved in wide-ranging standards-focused work, from mobile backhaul to IPv6.  Speaking to IndiaTechOnline, Mersh  stressed the tremendous potential that broadband held out in India --  though  present growth rates might be overshadowed by the galloping pace set in China. He reiterated his concern that India was thinly represented in forums where future broadband standards  were being crafted.

Mersh also showcased the new Broadband Forum IPv6 Toolkit -
known as BroadbandSuite 4.0. This defines the network support of IPv6 from core to user, and is aimed at helping service providers reduce the impact of IPv4 protocol exhaustion on their servicestoday while ensuring the growth of new users, devices and applicationscontinues unhampered.

Looking at the global picture, 2010 was also a landmark year for
international broadband subscriptions - following the milestone half billion lines achieved in July 2010, subscriber figures continued to climb steadily and ended the year at 523,066,022 – a net addition of over 55 million lines worldwide during the year according to the figures prepared by Point Topic ( and announced by the Broadband Forum. IPTV subscription had a record 34.6% growth in 2010.
Asia is made up of a mixture of rapidly growing as well as relatively
saturated mature markets and a large and increasingly affluent population. China continues to dominate the rankings both for total subscribers and net additions as well as the most rapidly growing, in percentage terms, market in the top 10 over the last 12 months.

Meanwhile India continues its progress towards the Top 10. It will overtake Spain in the next quarter in terms of total fixed broadband subscribers and there is a possibility it will be in the top 10 by the end of the year.

Anand Parthasarathy from Delhi ( with Broadband Forum  inputs) March 29