China surpasses US in broadband roll out

China now has most broadband lines in the world, rate of expansion easily outstrips US

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By  Mark Sutton Published  September 27, 2008

China has overtaken the USA in number of broadband lines, according to new research from analyst company Point Topic.

The two leaders in broadband deployment drew level in August, with 78 million broadband lines in each country, but China is increasing its infrastructure roll out at a much faster rate than the US.

The US added 1.1 million new broadband lines in Q2 2008, against 5 million in China. The figures show broadband deployment in the US is slowing down, from 3.4 million new lines in Q4 07, while China has increased from 3.5 million in Q4 07.

Oliver Johnson, chief executive of Point Topic commented: “This is a major milestone for China. Launching people into space is spectacular, but having the biggest broadband market down here on earth means a lot more for building a modern, hi-tech economy.

“It’s not so surprising that the US has been overtaken in absolute numbers – after all, China has more than three times as many homes and people. But the US has also fallen behind the leading European and Asian countries in percentage take-up of broadband,” he added.

The slowing rate of roll out has serious implications for the competitiveness of the US economy, Johnson said.

In part, the problem is due to a light touch of regulation in the US, which has allowed operators to restrict the broadband market with high prices, which has slowed down growth, he said.

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