Broadband bubbling

OECD Observer

Though the crash of 2001 burst the e-commerce bubble, recent figures show that broadband has remained dynamic. Indeed, growth in the number of broadband Internet connections in OECD countries has risen from an average of 2.9 in 2001 to 13.6 subscribers per 100 inhabitants in December 2005.

Total connections in OECD countries increased rapidly in 2005, from 136 million in June to 158 million by December. Iceland has the highest broadband penetration rate at 26.7 per 100 inhabitants, followed by Korea, the Netherlands and Denmark, each with more than 25. The strongest per capita subscriber growth came from Iceland, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands and Australia, as each country added more than 6 subscribers per 100 inhabitants during 2005. The US has the largest number of broadband subscribers in the OECD, at 49 million, or just less than a third of the world total.

Digital subscriber line (DSL), which is based on upgraded phone networks, is still the leading platform in 28 OECD countries, accounting for 62% of all technologies. Cable subscribers outnumber DSL in Canada, which leads the G7 group of industrialised countries in broadband penetration. This technology accounts for 31% of all platforms, with the likes of satellite, fibre and fixed wireless making up the rest.

One broadband market to have exploded to an advanced stage of development is Korea’s, where subscribers regularly switch platforms in search of more bandwidth. Fibre-based broadband connections grew 52.4% there in 2005. The switchover was reflected in losses for other platforms though, with DSL down 3.3% and cable by 1.7% during the year.

More information is available at

©OECD Observer No 255, May 2006

Economic data


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