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Gigabit broadband now available to 200m people around the world

Thursday, May 18th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

More than 200m people have access to gigabit broadband around the world, according to a new report.

Network testing company Viavi Solutions has updated its online Gigabit Monitor, which tracks current and planned gigabit deployments.

It shows that 219m people currently have internet connections of at least 1Gbps available to them – around 3% of the global population.

Of those, almost half live in just two countries.

The USA has the highest number of people with access to gigabit connections at 56.4m (around 17% of its population) followed by South Korea with 46.7m (93% of its population).

The country with the highest percentage coverage is Singapore where 5.4m people, or 95% of the population, can access gigabit speeds.

In the UK its around 1.9m people, or 2.9% of the population.

Viavi says 91% of the world’s gigabit installations use fibre optic cables with cellular, or mobile, connections accounting for 3.65%.

Networks that contain a mix of fibre optics and coaxial cables, known as hybrid-fibre coax (HFC), make up 5.26% of gigabit installations and less than 1% are delivered over wi-fi.

According to Viavi, the number of gigabit “implementations” has reached 603, a 72% increase since June last year.

'Turning point'

The company expects the launch of gigabit LTE and 5G networks to change the landscape of gigabit connectivity in coming years. It says 25 mobile operators are currently lab-testing 5G and 12 of those have progressed to field trials.

Sameh Yamany, chief technology officer at Viavi Solutions: “2016 was a turning point for gigabit connectivity, as many cities around the world reached the point whereby gigabit internet was available to most of its residents.

“Yet the gigabit revolution shows no signs of cooling down in 2017. As bandwidth increases, so does consumer appetite for it.

“Likewise new business models have been quick to take advantage of new bandwidth, as we’ve seen with streaming video and audio in the recent past – and which we believe will continue in the near future with VR, AR and the Internet of Things.”

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