The 2007 Asia Broadband and Internet Market Reports, contains over 460 pages of research and analysis on the Broadband and Internet markets in Asia. Consisting of 4 volumes this research covers 35 Asian countries, grouped by geographic regions (Central, North, South and South East) and includes -
* Internet infrastructure and development;
* Internet policies, models and concepts;
* Internet access - DSL, Cable, Wireless;
* Internet and broadband statistics;
* Internet censorship;
* Internet forecasts in selected countries;
* Internet Infrastructure and Developments;
* National Policies, Government Policies, Regulatory Regimes;
* Internet VPNs and VoIP;
* Network Operators, and ISPs.
* Network Players;
* xDSL, Cable Modem, FttH, Satellite;
* Wireless Broadband, WiMAX.
While the countries of Central Asia have struggled with poor telecom infrastructure and underdeveloped
regulatory, one segment of the market that has been most adversely affected has been the Internet. With
none of these countries having Internet user penetrations higher than 10% at the end of 2006, the race
is now on in each of the markets to build increased capacity to access the Internet. Turkmenistan and
Tajikistan with Internet user penetrations of less than 1% by end-2006 are the lowest ranked by this
measure and certainly have a huge task ahead of them. Right across the sub-region, Internet access has
been predominantly provided as a dial-up service. The first signs of higher speed, broadband access
services are evident in a number of the markets, but the total broadband subscriber base remains very
tiny for the time being and therefore constitutes only a small proportion of the total Internet
subscriber base in each country.
The rate of expansion of Internet services will no doubt increase on the back of the wider push to improve the overall telecoms capacity and infrastructure in each market. Although the pace is variable across the markets, there is certainly a consistent commitment to developing the national networks. Of course, it is not simply a matter of increased investment in infrastructure. There also needs to be a commitment with regard to regulatory reform. Interestingly, the Internet market has experienced some distinct challenges in Central Asia in this regard, as some of the governments have seen online access as a specific threat to national security and good order of their respective countries. The two lowly penetrated Internet markets, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, have both been subjected to tight government restrictions and limitations on access, no doubt helping stunt the growth of online activity in both these countries. But they are not the only markets in Central Asia with laws aimed at Internet censorship. Kazakhstan and Georgia, for example, both have restrictive regulations in place that can be invoked as and when the government sees fit.
A focus on high-speed broadband Internet access in its various forms is also a feature of North Asia?s Internet growth. Again, following the example set by market leader South Korea, the emphasis has been on delivering faster broadband speeds to the customers.
In terms of broadband access, Asia is one region in the world where Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH) has started to emerge as a serious broadband platform. The technology has taken off in a big way in Japan. There were already 10 million FttH subscribers in Japan by mid-2007. Not unexpectedly, the movement towards fibre has been occurring in Asia?s more developed markets, where positive government intervention has been playing an important role.
Generally speaking, the penetration of Internet across South Asia remains low. Broadband access is almost non-existent across much of the sub-region and there are no signs of an early major upturn. The more significant impact of Internet in South Asia is to be found in India and Pakistan, where Internet usage is creeping towards 10% penetration. But for most of the other markets going online has been a struggle. One interesting exception has been the Maldives; with its small population combined with a healthy tourist industry, Internet usage has been relatively substantial.
South East Asia
Of Asia?s estimated 450 million Internet users in early 2007, only about 65 million were to be found in South East Asia. In other words, South East Asia had around 14% of the Internet user population of the region at the time. Despite highly penetrated Internet markets to be found in Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia, South East Asian economies are more generally in the developing phase when it comes to Internet, with user penetrations typically at the lower end of the scale. At the lowest level we find Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, all with user penetrations of less than 1%.
In terms of broadband access, only Singapore rates as a highly penetrated market (65% of households by early 2007). Despite a flurry of activity in markets like Malaysia and Thailand, South Asia continues to lag well behind the more developed markets of the region in the application and penetration of broadband Internet access.