The worldwide fixed broadband market continues to march on with more than one-third of the world’s total households projected to have connections by the end of this year.

A recent study by ABI Research said that across the various regions there would be a 7.3 percent increase year-over-year in the number of fixed broadband subscribers, which were projected to reach 618.7 million subscribers in 2012.

The growth in fixed broadband subscribers cut across all of the available platforms; DSL, cable, and fiber-optic broadband services.  In the second quarter of this year, DSL broadband subscribers grew 1.2 percent compared to the previous quarter for a total of 4.3 million new subscribers. By contrast, the growth rate for DSL subscribers was 1.5 percent in the previous quarter-to-quarter timeframe, which ABI said indicated that subscribers were moving away from DSL to faster platforms, which includes cable’s DOCSIS 3.0 offerings or fiber-based services.

“Development of next generation broadband networks is creating opportunities to upgrade customers to fiber optic. Fiber optics broadband market-share is expected to increase to 13.2 percent by in 2012 from 12 percent in 2011, while DSL market-share will decline nearly 1 percent point from 64 percent in 2011,” said Jake Saunders, vice president and practice director of core forecasting, ABI Research.

When it comes to fixed broadband penetration, North America is king of the world with 72.4 percent of the households using broadband services. By the end of second quarter, Western Europe had almost caught up with the penetration rate of North America. The region added 1.2 million subscribers in the second quarter of this year resulting in a penetration rate of 72 percent.

The subscriber bases of key broadband operators in Western Europe such as British Telecom, Deutsche Telecom, and Iliad Telecom increased more than 1 percent from the first quarter. The majority of the North American operators grew about 0.8 percent from the first quarter with the exception of Cox Communications, which grew approximately 3 percent

The increased use and penetration of connected devices, applications, and services over broadband access helped drive the adoption of high-speed broadband services.

“As broadband operators upgrade their networks, customers are snapping up the faster services. At the end of the second quarter in 2012, more than 44 percent of total customers subscribe to a broadband service of 10 Mbps and above,” said ABI’s Khin Sandi Lynn, research analyst.