Ten years ago, there were only 57,200 broadband subscribers in the world. Today, here are now more than 400 million global broadband users, according to a new report (pdf) prepared by Power Topic for the Broadband Fourm. This represents a 600,000 percent increase. Broadband adoption was slow until a dramatic increase in subscriptions happened in 2003. (While Web 2.0 is largely seen as a social revolution, Kuhnian epistemological shift, and post-bubble techno-cultural Renaissance, we should remember that it was this fundamental technological shift, the switch to broadband, is what took us from 1.0 to Web 2.)

DSL is by far the most widely used type of broadband, though fiber, invented in 2002, is slowly increasing; it now represents more than 10 percent of the broadband market, 45 million subscribers. Cable has about 80 million subscribers.

Oliver Johnson of Power Topic, the analysts responsible for the report, calls this “one of the fastest rollouts of a major new technology the world has ever seen.”

The Broadband Forum believes that, now that the infrastructure is largely in place, improvements will be now be focused on quality instead of reach.

“The emphasis is now going to shift to providing high bandwidth, high quality broadband, that can deliver multiple, steady, pin-sharp images for applications. To do this, we’ve got to have advanced global standards for end-to-end delivery of broadband data streams.”

Maybe it is this, and not The Semantic, that will herald the rays of the 3.0 dawn.

By Mark Alvarez