Japan, South Korea continue to lead in fiber Internet

The percentage of fiber Internet lines in the two countries was far ahead of other OECD nations in 2012

The number of fiber Internet subscriptions rose 12.7 percent in the countries that make up the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Paris-based group said Thursday.

Just under 49 million fiber Internet connections existed across the 34 countries, according to the data. That represented about 15 percent of all fixed Internet lines, but in several nations the percentage of fiber connections is much higher.

Japan and South Korea lead the pack with fiber penetration of over 60 percent. Sweden, Estonia and Slovakia rounded out the top five with penetration in the 30 percent range. The other nations with above average fiber penetration were Norway, Iceland, Slovenia, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Portugal. Hungary was ranked just slightly below the average.

Penetration rates in the remaining countries, which included the U.S., U.K., France and Germany, were all under 10 percent.

While fiber continued to gain on rival technologies, it remained half as popular as cable Internet, which accounted for 31 percent of all fixed Internet connections. Both technologies continued to trail DSL, which accounted for just over half of all fixed Internet lines.

The OECD said there were 327 million fixed Internet connections in its member states at the end of 2012.

On the wireless Internet front, broadband connections rose 14 percent in 2012 and conventional mobile phone connections dominated. They accounted for 662 million lines, or 85 percent of the estimated 781 million broadband Internet connections in OECD countries at the end of 2012. Almost all of the rest were dedicated mobile terminals, such as 3G modems. Satellite and terrestrial wireless systems accounted for less than 1 percent.

Four countries -- Finland, Sweden, Australia and South Korea -- had mobile broadband penetration rates above one subscription per person.

The OECD includes most major European nations, the U.S., Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Chile.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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