Recent news from the Philippines and Nigeria indicates growing penetration of broadband services, though by no means all of it is being delivered by fixed lines.
In fact, according to press reports, mobile accounts for 97 percent of total internet users in the Philippines. However, the ongoing pandemic has driven some adoption of home broadband and Philippines operator Globe in particular is reporting a growing subscriber take-up for fibre to the home (FTTH).
As of September this year, its FTTH service, Globe At Home, has already seen a 183 percent growth in the number of new customers compared to the same period last year. There has also been a reported 69 percent rise in the number of Globe At Home subscribers who already use broadband fibre during the same period.
Globe reports that its own investments in FTTH also went up – by 189 percent – this year compared to 2019. Rolling out FTTH is part of Globe’s network expansion and enhancement programme, which also includes the nationwide upgrade of its 3G mobile network to 4G LTE as well as the deployment of 5G in more areas.
This news follows last week’s report from the Nigerian Communications Commission that broadband penetration increased in the country to 45.43 per cent in September 2020.
Of course much of this is mobile. The number of 3G and 4G subscriptions in the country hit 86.71 million in the same month (out of a population estimated at around 191 million).
The country’s five-year Nigerian National Broadband Plan aims for a minimum of 70 per cent broadband penetration by 2025. This plan calls for 80,000 kilometres of fibre backbone as well as the deployment of new 4G base stations and radio access equipment and – possibly – 5G roll-out in a number of major cities.
Nevertheless, while both countries are likely to see fixed line growth in the coming years, mobile is almost certain to continue to dominate internet connectivity.