Half a billion broadband users by next year

Indian films will be easier to stream as home broadband connections increase

The world may be in recession but the global appetite for broadband access is growing fast, according to new research.

Futuresource Consulting predicts that home broadband connections will break the 500 million barrier for the first time next year.

Around 60 percent of broadband connections use DSL technology, with another fifth relying on cable systems.

Developing nations speeding up

The biggest growth is likely to be seen in developing countries, with broadband links in Africa and the Middle East increasing by a third in just one year.

"Longer term, India is the country to watch out for over the next four years," says Patrik Pfandler, Senior Market Analyst. "With one of the lowest household penetration rates for fixed broadband at the moment - at just over 2 per cent – the market is projected to grow five-fold by 2013, to almost 25 million lines."

Japan and South Korea lead the way when it comes to broadband speeds, with average download speeds of approximately 30Mbps each.

In Europe, Sweden comes out on top, averaging 14Mbps last year, while the UK average is hovering at around 4.3Mbps. In the US, the national average achieved last year was just 2.7Mbps.

The Universal Service Commitment in the recent Digital Britain report commits the Government to deliver 2Mbps to all UK households by 2012.