High-speed fibre internet subscriptions surpassed copper-wire DSL connections in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries for the first time in 2020, reaching 21.15 million new fixed broadband connections.
The latest update to the OECD's broadband portal shows that fibre now exceeds 30% of fixed broadband subscriptions across its 38 member countries, up from 12% a decade ago, and is by far the fastest growing broadband technology, with subscriptions up 14% in 2020 from 2019, outpacing a 5% rise in overall fixed broadband subscriptions.
While cable remains the predominant fixed broadband technology, accounting for 34% of subscriptions across OECD countries with a rise of 5.6% in 2020, fibre is steadily replacing DSL subscriptions, which have dropped by 10% over the past two years.
Austria, Belgium, Chile, Ireland, Israel and the UK all increased their fibre connections by more than 50% in 2020. In more and more OECD countries, the majority of broadband connections are now fibre, with the share of fibre in total broadband above 50% in Finland, Iceland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway and Portugal, and exceeding 70% in Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain and Sweden.
Overall, fixed broadband subscriptions in OECD countries totalled 454 million as of December 2020, up from 433 million a year earlier, and averaged 33.2 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants. Switzerland led the pack with a penetration rate of 47.5 subscriptions per 100 people, followed by France (45.6%), Norway (44.6%) and Denmark (44.2%).
Mobile data usage soared by more than 30% on average in 2020 across the 35 OECD countries for which data was available, with 29 countries showing an increase of over 20%.
Finland remains the OECD champion for data consumption at a total of 31GB per subscriber per month, followed by Austria (25.8GB), Latvia (23GB), Lithuania (20.5GB), Iceland (16.7GB), Estonia (16GB), Chile (12.8GB) and Sweden (12GB). Eight countries – Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Lithuania, Spain and Turkey – saw significant growth of 45% or more in data usage over 2020. On average, users downloaded 7.5GB of data per month per subscription in 2020, up from 5.8GB in 2019 in those countries for which data was available.
Mobile broadband subscriptions grew by almost 3% in 2020 across OECD countries. Mobile Internet penetration is highest in Japan, Estonia and Finland, with subscriptions per 100 inhabitants at 185%, 165% and 156%, respectively.