May 4, 2005 2:44 PM PDT

China to trump U.S. in broadband subscribers

China is on track to surpass the United States in broadband subscribers by 2007, according to new market research data.

While the U.S. has been criticized for falling behind in terms of its broadband penetration rates, slipping from 13th place to 16th in a recent International Telecommunication Union report, it has always had the most subscribers. But now it looks as though China will soon take top billing for broadband.

At the end of 2005, China is expected to have 34 million subscribers, compared with 39 million in the United States, according to new data from market research firm iSuppli. By the end of 2007, China will have 57 million broadband subscribers, compared with 54 million in the U.S., said iSuppli. In ensuing years, China is expected to widen its lead over the United States.

Today there are more than 150 million broadband subscribers worldwide, according to IMS Research. More than 51 million have signed up for service since the beginning of 2004. This tremendous growth rate shows no signs of slowing, and it is forecast that the number of broadband subscribers will surpass 400 million in 2009.

It should come as little surprise that China will soon pull ahead of the United States in terms of raw numbers of subscribers, especially considering that China's population of 1 billion is more than three times that of the U.S. More than 10 million people live in Shanghai alone, and more than 7 million in Beijing. The U.S. population is a little more than 300 million.

China?s economy is also booming, especially in the eastern cities of Shanghai and Beijing where the middle class is growing extremely fast. Some experts say that the country?s economy will quadruple over the next two decades, possibly eclipsing that of the United States in the next 20 to 50 years.

Still, predictions that China will surpass the U.S. in broadband subscribers only fuel arguments that the government needs to come up with a national broadband policy--and do it quickly. President Bush has already talked about having broadband universally available by the end of 2007.

But the debate over who will provide that access rages on. Some believe it should be left up to the private sector, which today includes cable operators and regional phone providers, while others believe that local governments should be allowed to build out their own infrastructure.

4 comments

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Availability vs. penetration
Just checked the ITU report - found out that penetration in the country I live in is just above 10%. Cell phone penetration is actually over 100%, meaning that an awfull lot of people must have several active cell phones.
And I do know for a fact that the broadband availability is about 90%. Prices are not that high.
I pay some $50 flat for my home cable service, which includes analog and digital TV, phone service and a 5 mbit/s internet connection w. static IP address (it also includes other interactive stuff I do not need or want but can't exclude due to pricing policy such as 'web TV', video on demand, games etc.)
A slower (1 mbit/s) connection would cost me some $15 - 20.
It seems that a lot of people just don't want or need broadband at all.
Just thinking...
Posted by googey10 (27 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NON_STORY -- INVALID COMPARISON
This story is just lying with statistics, the author makes a fuss about the TOTAL number of broadband subscribers in China vs the total in the US. But the metric mentioned in the leading paragraphs is the PERCENTAGE of people with broadband access.

This comparison would only be valid if the total populations of these two coutries were similar but reality shows there's a huge gap in population that makes the total number of broadband users in China into a much smaller percentage of the total population.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This story is full of errors.
Please fact check your story and re-submit:

"The U.S. population is a little more than 300 million." Not
according to the United States Census at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://" target="_newWindow">http://</a>
www.census.gov. Current U.S. population is 296,042,958 as of
today.
<br>
"especially considering that China's population of 1 billion"
Actually, according to the CIA, China's population is
1,298,847,624 (July 2004 est.) or 1,306,313,812 (July 2005
est.) (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/fields/" target="_newWindow">http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/fields/</a>
2119.html)

At that point, I stopped reading.
Posted by signalops (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
still stuck on dialup less than 90 miles north of NY City in New York State
America sucks for broadband.
We still stuck on dialup less than 90 miles north of NY City in New York State. There is no broadband available here despite the taxes we pay.
Time Warner Cable who holds the franchise wants over $26,000 to install cable
to my house. That's rediculous, its true.
Read all about it at:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.dslreports.com/forum/remark,9512648" target="_newWindow">http://www.dslreports.com/forum/remark,9512648</a>
And DSL is not available. Verizon has told me
they do not supply DSL to this phone exchange
I put up a sign on the road near my house: Time Warner Sucks
Posted by (11 comments )
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