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TECHNOLOGY REPORT - Broadband Subscribers Pass 500-Million in July

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This is the VOA Special English Technology Report.

Representatives from some of the world's leading broadband service providers and equipment manufacturers met in San Diego, California last week. They talked about the future of broadband and the Internet Protocols that govern it.  Broadband is a high data rate connection to the Internet.

A group called Broadband Forum organized the meeting.  It was the group's fourth meeting this year.  The Broadband Forum has almost two hundred members from around the world.  They work to develop broadband network standards across the industry.

Laurie Adams Gonzalez is the marketing director for Broadband Forum.  She says the group has been helping service providers move to the newest Internet Protocol, known as IPv6.  Mrs. Gonzalez says the current version of the Internet, known as IPv4, could soon run out of space.

LAURIE ADAMS GONZALEZ:  "There is only eight percent of the IPv4 numbers left in the world and so there has been a very time sensitive need for service providers to be able to support a whole new numbering scheme."

Broadband is one of the fastest growing areas of the telecommunications industry.  A report from the Broadband Forum says the number of broadband subscribers reached four hundred ninety-eight million worldwide in June.  By the third week of July it had passed five hundred million.  That represents one in five homes worldwide. Mrs. Gonzalez says much of the growth has come from an unexpected source.

LAURIE ADAMS GONZALEZ:  "One of the things that we're really seeing with broadband is that there are markets opening up, especially for emerging and developing countries that they would have never had an audience for."

Asia represents almost forty-one percent of the total broadband subscriptions.  More than one hundred twenty million of those subscribers are in China.

The report from the Broadband Forum also looked at Internet Protocol Television, or IPTV.  IPTV is one of the main developments leading the growth in broadband.

IPTV uses fast broadband connections to bring television programs into homes.  It normally requires a subscription and a special box on top of the television.

The Forum report said IPTV subscriptions had grown to more than thirty-eight million by the end of June.  France has the highest number of IPTV subscribers at more than nine million.  China and the United States are next, with an average of more than six million subscribers each.

The Broadband Forum will release its latest usage report sometime this month.  More growth is expected for both broadband and IPTV.

And that's the VOA Special English Technology Report, written by June Simms. I'm Steve Ember.

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