Worldwide fixed-line broadband subscriptions will continue to grow at a healthy clip this year.

According to a report by ABI Research, fiber-optic broadband share will grow to 19 percent by the end of this year, up from 16 percent last year. 

“The number of broadband subscribers is growing on all DSL, cable, and fiber-optic platforms. However, there is a marked shift in consumer adoption from DSL to fiber-optic as operators continue to extend the reach of their fiber-optic infrastructure,” said Jake Saunders, vice president and practice director.

ABI found that the increase in fiber was not only taking place in developed markets, but emerging markets as well. China was projected to see a declining trend in DSL broadband adoption in the next few years as the country’s broadband operators, China Telecom and China Unicom, aggressively roll out fiber-optic networks.

In the first quarter of this year, total DSL subscriptions dropped by 3 million. In the same period, ABI Research saw fiber-optic adoptions grow from 32.9 million to 37.6 million.

“ABI Research expects globally 25.6 million fiber-optic broadband subscribers will be added to eclipse 124 million subscribers in 2013. In the DSL broadband category, subscriber net addition is expected to drop by 50 percent compared to 2012,” noted Khin Sandi Lynn, industry analyst.

Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), or even to the curb, wasn’t a viable option in every locale, according to ABI. In semi-urban and rural locales, routing fiber-optic was often uneconomical. Recently broadband operators such as Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia, and British Telecom were testing vectoring VDSL2, which can provide broadband speeds of up to 100 Mbps over a copper network.

Despite the rapid growth in fiber-optic broadband services, DSL-based broadband services will remain as the top platform in the years to come, ABI said.