Broadband will connect 20% of households worldwide this year, Gartner projects

Research firm Gartner is projecting that 20% of households worldwide will be connected to the Internet through a broadband connection by year-end.

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In all, Gartner projects that 422 million households worldwide will have a fixed broadband connection by the end of this year, an increase of 10.5% from the 382 million households that had a fixed broadband connection at the end of 2008. Looking further down the road, Gartner projects that 580 million households worldwide will have a fixed broadband connection, an increase of 37% over the number projected to have broadband by the end of 2009.

South Korea is currently the leader in household broadband penetration, Gartner reports, as 86% of South Korean households have broadband connections. Following behind South Korea in broadband penetration rate are the Netherlands (80%), Denmark (75%), Hong Kong (72%), Canada (69%) and Switzerland (69%). Gartner says that the United States lags behind many developed countries with a 60% broadband penetration rate, although this still ranks the United States ahead of countries such as Japan (58%), Germany (55%), Australia (55%) and Sweden (54%).

Over the next four years, however, Gartner expects broadband penetration in the United States to rise rapidly, as it is projected to add 27 million new connections and hit a penetration rate 78% by 2013. If the United States is successful in adding these new connections, Gartner projects that it will leapfrog several countries that it now trails in terms of broadband penetration rate, including New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Norway. South Korea is still projected to be the king of broadband penetration, however, as Gartner predicts that 93% of South Korean households will be connected to the Web via broadband in 2013.

Gartner also predicts that developing countries will add 135 million new broadband connections over the next four years, with Brazil, Russia, India and China accounting for more than two-thirds of new connections in the developing world and nearly half of all new connections worldwide.

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