Its footprint may not be universal, and penetration weak in key territories, but hybrid fibre access (FTTx) has experienced the highest market gain over the past year, according to research by the Broadband Forum.
The data, prepared by broadband industry analysts Point Topic, revealed that FTTx access now serves more than 105 million global subscribers worldwide and of the 54 million new broadband subscribers added in the year leading up to 3Q 2012, 26 million are being served with fibre (48%). Furthermore fibre deployments have now passed cable to account for 19.7% of the total broadband market.
The growth for fibre has been especially impressive over the last year. FTTx and FTTH in particular showed growth of 26.8% and 22.5% respectively. This compared well with fixed wireless (14.9%), cable (7.9%), satellite (10.2%) and copper (4.8%).
In absolute terms, the 125 million fibre connections at the end of Q3 2012 compared with 367 million for copper, 121 million cable and 21.7 million for other broadband technologies.
Commenting on the growth of these access technologies, with no little optimism, Oliver Johnson, CEO at Point Topic said: "As the world gradually emerges from financial turmoil the continued growth of broadband has been a steady light in the storm. We won't see the triple-digit growth of old, but many markets are entering a phase of consolidation and consumer multi-service alignment."