Representatives from some of the world's leading broadband service providers and equipment manufacturers met in San Diego, California in December. 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 in two thousand ten. 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.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 -- developing countries. 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 released its latest usage report in December. There was more growth for both broadband and IPTV.
For VOA Special English, I'm Alex Villarreal. Our programs are online with transcripts and MP3 files at voaspecialenglish.com.