The mainland will become the world's biggest broadband market next year, led by China Telecom and China Netcom, on nationwide demand for faster internet, technology research firm Ovum said. 'We believe China's broadband development will continue to benefit from a booming economy, growing [household] income, expanding personal computer penetration and value-added services such as VoIP [voice over internet protocol] and IPTV [internet protocol television],' Kevin Lee, Ovum's senior analyst in Hong Kong, said in a report. 'The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games will provide another boost.' There were more than 45 million broadband subscribers in the mainland as of June following an average annual growth rate of about 79 per cent since 2003. Ovum forecast China's broadband market would grow to 139 million subscribers by 2010. Worldwide broadband subscriptions will almost double in five years, expanding from about 205 million last year to about 400 million in 2010, according to technology analysers International Data Corp. 'Consumer demand for broadband remains strong, with three in four global online households connecting to the internet via broadband in 2010,' said Amy Harris Lind, IDC's programme manager for consumer broadband markets. IDC said broadband surpassed narrowband last year as the primary method online households worldwide use to connect to the internet. Ovum noted that China Telecom and China Netcom remained the dominant providers of broadband access services in the mainland, with a combined broadband market share of 87 per cent of subscribers. The balance is accounted for by China Tietong, China Unicom and various cable and IP-based network operators. The growth opportunity is still huge, as the mainland's broadband penetration rate is only 3.4 per cent of the population, well behind many countries in Asia-Pacific. China Telecom offers the highest broadband subscription rates which are typical in cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Growing IPTV deployment is expected to encourage more broadband usage in China. The mainland's two largest DSL operators introduced extensive IPTV trials last year in collaboration with IPTV licensees Shanghai Media Group and China Central Television. Following Harbin, Shanghai will be the second city to start commercial IPTV services by the end of next month, Ovum said.