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The number of fixed broadband subscribers worldwide increased by almost nine million during the final quarter of 2012, it has been reported.

Latest figures published by Point Topic and the Broadband Forum reveal there were 643.8 million customers around the world at the end of December.

This was up from 635.9 million subscribers in Q3 2012, while the annual growth rate reached 8.6 per cent.

According to the report, many of the new subscribers took out fibre-optic broadband services offering super-fast download speeds.

The number of subscribers with a full-fibre connection rose from 16.0 million to 19.3 million between Q4 2011 and Q4 2012, at a growth rate of 20.3 per cent.

In addition, another 24.7 million customers took out a hybrid fibre connection - one that uses both copper and fibre - during this period.

The number of customers with a hybrid fibre connection increased from 89.8 million to 114.4 million between Q4 2011 and Q4 2012.

This represented annual growth of 27.5 per cent for this segment of the market.

Another 8.3 million cable broadband customers were added - up from 115.2 to 123.6 - while fixed wireless increased from 9.7 million to 10.9 million.

However, the vast majority of broadband customers around the world remain reliant on a DSL connection.

The total increased from 354.0 million to 366.7 million - up by 12.7 million at a 3.6 per cent annual growth rate.

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