For the first time fiber-optic broadband Internet is more popular than cable, although most of the growth is taking place overseas, says a new report from British research firm Point Topic. According to the company, nearly double the amount of customers registered with fiber-optic Internet services than with cable providers—4.2 million customers versus 2.5 million customers in the first fiscal quarter of 2008. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the new subscribers are in Asia, the fastest-growing region of Internet users in the
Nearly half of the new fiber-optic Internet subscribers are in China. Two and a half million new customers signed up within the last quarter, bringing the total to 16.7 million fiber-optic Internet customers.
Japan and Korea experienced the second and third-highest growth in fiber-optic Internet customers, and the United States is fourth.
It is not surprising that such a small growth (303,000 new fiber-optic customers) is taking place in the U.S. considering the business plan and expenses required to bring the service to American households.
Cable and DSL Internet services are much cheaper to build and connect to houses, and currently Verizon is the only communications company that is actively replacing its lines with fiber-optics cables.
Consequently, not only does Verizon have the overwhelming majority of fiber-optics customers in America, but those customers are also limited in regions, as Verizon’s network is predominant in certain parts of the country and not in others.
Considering the relatively new market, it is unclear whether such an expensive communications overhaul is worth it.
Cable and DSL continue to be the most popular means of connecting to the Internet in American and Western Europe, but if the fiber-optic mini-revolution in Asia proves to be successful, it will not be long until such a change starts sweeping across the U.S.