Brazil has seen its number of broadband subscribers increase 150-fold over the past ten years to reach 15.5 million accesses by the end of 2010, with 19.2 per cent growth last year alone, according to the annual report from the country’s National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel).
The agency ascribes this strong growth to the migration of other services (such as voice telephony) to IP delivery, as well as to the large number of licences it has granted to small and medium-sized companies to provide local loop unbundling services, and (predictably) to the “agility” with which Anatel has responded to these requests for licences.
ADSL is still the dominant technology in Brazil for accessing broadband, although cable broadband services have continued to increase their share of the market, thanks in part to being bundled within a multi-play offer by the operator. There has also been an increase in subscriptions to wireless broadband services, mostly through wifi technology.
The average speed of a broadband connection in Brazil has also continued to increase markedly over the past decade, and connections with a downstream speed of over 2 Mbps now account for 19 per cent of the total.
There remains however a huge amount of potential for growth in the Brazilian broadband market – unsurprising perhaps, given that the country’s 2010 census reported an estimated 190mn inhabitants, but many analysts believe that the country is lagging behind many other Latin American markets in terms of market penetration of broadband services.
Brazil’s national broadband plan involves the reactivation of state-owned telco Telebras, which will operate a national fibre backbone, offering cheap wholesale access to ISPs which can then pass on these savings to lower-income customers. Informa Telecoms & Media is predicting that this plan will help drive up subscriptions to 29.4 million by the end of 2015, taking households penetration up to 41 per cent.