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Broadband in India: scorching pace, but problems remain: Broadband Forum study

New Delhi, March 21, 2012: The growth of broadband in India is among the fastest anywhere in the world, but in absolute numbers, connectivity on the ground ranks the country just shy of the global top ten. Overall, broadband growth is estimated at 65,493,596 lines, bringing the global total to 597,322,636, a quarterly increase of 2.6% - and an annual growth rate of 12.3%. 
India features strongly, with annual broadband growth reaching an unprecedented 24.5% ( and outpaced only by one nation -- Russia the highest growth rate of 36.85%). Sharing data from its latest broadband and Internet Protocol TV study, on the sidelines of the ongoing Convergence India conference and show here, Robin Mersh, CEO of the Broadband Forum said : “This is an exciting return to higher growth figures and points to a strengthening in the broadband market. With a number new markets coming online, we are seeing broadband move into the daily lives of more and more people the world over. Much of this is fuelled by exceptional growth in some key markets, including exceptional growth in India, making it one of the fastest growing markets in the world today.”
India already has some 13.3 million subscribers and might move into the top ten broadband countries in 2012. “Demand in India is increasing rapidly, particularly as more coverage and competitive pricing has meant that much of the urban population now has the chance to access the internet via broadband,” added Robin Mersh. “The main impediments still remain cost and “urban v rural” divide, which is of course, still an issue in many countries. Service providers in India are, however, well aware of these concerns and are beginning to address the rural opportunity with a number of projects driven by highly innovative and active companies and Government support.”

In a telephonic briefing for IndiaTechOnline, Mersh pointed to the dominance of DSL as the most ubiquitous broadband technology, with an overall market share of over 60%, followed by Cable modem and fibre. Entertainment-driven demand is likely to be the key to the growth of IPTV in India and will add to the pressure on bandwidth, he suggested. He stressed the need for homegrown technologies like the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT)-defveloped Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) solution to achieve globally recognized certification so that they could find wide acceptance and deployment ( see our earlier story 
The broadband Forum has been evangelising the industry’s first such certification ( see )
Link to the Broadband Forum’s global release :  and Broadband/IPTV progress report 2011