One in five households worldwide will be wired up to the internet by the end of 2009, according to new estimates from Gartner.
The number of households with fixed broadband connections is expected to reach 422 million across the globe this year, a jump of 10.5 percent over 382 million in 2008, the analyst house said in a statement on Friday. This number will further swell to an estimated 580 million by 2013.
Over the next four years, global broadband services revenues will also help offset declining voice revenues and account for 40 percent of the consumer fixed voice, internet and broadband services market worldwide, which is estimated to be worth $347bn (£217bn).
At the end of 2008, 21 countries had broadband connections in at least 50 percent of homes, Gartner reported. The disparity in broadband adoption was significant in Asia, where the region was home to both the world's highest penetration of 86 percent in South Korea, and the lowest at one percent in Indonesia.
Asian households, according to Gartner, will remain among the world's most connected over the next four years. Broadband penetration for South Korea is forecast to reach 93 percent in 2013, while Hong Kong and Singapore will see 80 percent and 78 percent, respectively, of their households wired up to the web.
The Netherlands, Canada and Denmark are expected to boast high broadband penetration rates of 88 percent, 81 percent and 78 percent, respectively.
In terms of growth, however, Bric (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries will account for nearly half, or 47 percent, of the increase in consumer broadband connections over the next several years, Gartner said. China, alone, is expected to contribute 31 percent toward the total worldwide increase.
Fibre takes off
According to the research firm, fibre-based services will grow steadily over the next few years, with FTTH (fibre-to-the-home), FTTP (fibre-to-the-premises) and Ethernet connections accounting for about 20 percent of the global consumer broadband market by 2013.
Much of the growth will take place in developed markets such as Japan, South Korea and the US. An exception to this is China, which is expected to account for the highest number of new FTTH/FTTP/Ethernet connections, Gartner noted.
DSL connections, on the other hand, will remain the major contributor to worldwide household broadband connections. Traditional DSL access is expected to drop a few percentage points to just under 60 percent of all connections by 2013. DSL connections will see a 98 million increase within four years, led mostly by growth in emerging markets, according to Gartner.