This annual report offers a wealth of information on the Broadband and Internet markets in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan. Subjects covered include:
Internet Infrastructure and Developments
Internet policies, models and concepts
Regional and International Networks
Internet Market, VPNs and VoIP
Vision for a National Policy, Government Policies
Network Operators, Wholesalers and Retailers, Utilities Projects
xDSL, HFC, MDS, Satellite, Cable Modems, Cable Telephony
This Asia market report covers 8 economies in the North Asia sub-region. It takes an overall look at the various telecoms markets, together with a particular look at the broadband Internet and mobile segments in each of the economies. The markets covered include:
China By early 2006, the number of Internet subscribers in China had passed 110 million (8.5% penetration). This represented about 11% of the world’s total Internet subscriber base. The Chinese government remained well aware of the enormous social and economic value of Internet and its importance in creating a prosperous nation. At the same time, however, it is concerned by the perceived risk to cultural heritage and to political stability. In the meantime, China has also become the world’s biggest user of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services.
China has been steadily emerging as a broadband superpower, showing further strong growth coming into 2006. Though penetration remains comparatively low, by March 2006, broadband was growing in China at an annual rate of almost 50%. With 41.2 million broadband subscribers, China had the second most broadband services in the world after the US (48.3 million); and there is still much room for growth. China’s broadband market is on track to become the world’s largest.
Hong Kong Digitalised since 1995, the territory has been wired with 400,000km of optical fibre. This extensive broadband network covers the vast majority of households and provides the basis for a wide range of existing and future telecommunications services. As a result of its extensive infrastructure roll-out, Hong Kong moved quickly to provide more than 90% of households with broadband access. Broadband subscribers in Hong Kong had jumped to almost 1.7 million by April 2006, having increased by one million in quick time. OTA report at the same time that broadband household penetration was running at 66.5%. Just over 61% of the total Internet subscriber base had a broadband connection.
Japan By end-2006, Japan had more than 24 million broadband Internet services in place. Much of the success of broadband in Japan is owed to the stunning growth in Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) broadband services. Softbank, via its Yahoo! BB service, has been the driving force behind the booming DSL market. Japan claims the third largest number of Internet users after the US and China, if the mobile Internet user base is included in the tally. Whilst enthusiasm for DSL appears to be waning, Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH) Internet access has been making impressive progress in the Japanese market with 5.4 million FttH subscribers signed up by early 2006. As Japan runs hot in the IP telephony market, it has been predicted that the country will have 28 million Internet phone lines operating by end-2007. There were around nine million VoIP subscribers in the country by end-2005.
Macau has also been quick to adopt Internet in its various forms with strong encouragement from the administration. Broadband Internet access, using DSL technology, has been developing quickly and by April 2006 over 80% of all Internet subscriptions in Macau were broadband based. Broadband household penetration was running at a healthy 49%.
Mongolia The Internet market has been languishing. The Internet user base is estimated at 240,000 (or a penetration of just over 8%), with an estimated 70,000 Internet subscribers at end-2005. Broadband is virtually non-existent.
North Korea North Korea is the only country in the world yet to adopt Internet for public usage. A lack of infrastructure coupled with the regime’s anxiety about the free flow of information, means that only a select group of government, educational and research institute officials are authorised to access the Web in the country. Nor are personal computers widely available to the general public. With what little access there is to the Internet, the government maintains strict controls and censorship.
North Korea’s obsession with secrecy has made it extremely difficult to get a clear picture of the country’s telecom sector. [In the absence of official statistics, we have made estimates in our report.] The country looks like remaining isolated form the rest of the world for some years to come.
South Korea has the highest number of broadband connections per capita in the world. By early 2006, more than 25% of the population, or 75% of households, were broadband subscribers as the broadband market in country was reaching near saturation. The country’s impressive broadband progress began in the late 1990s when the government issued a policy mandating that operators provide a 2Mb/s connection for every citizen. This broadband policy, combined with a competitive market and a densely populated and computer literate society, laid the foundations for Korea’s burgeoning broadband market. It seems that South Korea is looking for something new in the market and the introduction of WiBro broadband access, with services expected to become commercially available in 2006, is looking like the answer.
Taiwan The broadband market in Taiwan is also one of the more heavily penetrated in the world. With around 90% of households having some form of Internet access, by early 2006 about 55% of these households had access to the Internet provided by some form of broadband. DSL provides the dominant platform for the broadband access. The country’s broadband subscriber base was growing strongly at an annual rate of about 20% coming into 2006. The Taiwanese government has been actively promoting broadband and has committed the country to being on a par with the US by 2010.