DSL drives global broadband growth - subscribers total 47 million

10 September 2003 London Lightwave Europe -- DSL has added another 10.7 million subscribers during the first half of 2003 according to new figures prepared for the international DSL Forum by London analyst firm, Point Topic.

Sep 10th, 2003

10 September 2003 London -- DSL has added another 10.7 million subscribers during the first half of 2003 according to new figures prepared for the international DSL Forum by London analyst firm, Point Topic.

This brings the total number of subscribers to 46.7 million. Western Europe showed the greatest growth in the six months, where 12.8 million homes and businesses are now using broadband DSL, second only to Asia-Pacific at 17.8 million subscribers.

Seven of the 54 countries that now have commercial broadband DSL services accounted for almost 75% of the world's subscriber growth: Japan added 2.6 million; China and the USA added over one million and four European countries added over half a million new DSL subscribers.

Announcing the figures at the Broadband World Forum in London yesterday, Michael Brusca, VP strategy for the DSL Forum, said, "Western Europe is no longer playing catch up in the broadband race. More than half of the countries showing greatest subscriber growth and half of the top 20 for DSL are in this region.

"While most subscribers around the world currently have ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line), SHDSL (symmetric DSL) and VDSL (very high rate DSL) are now being rolled out to deliver bandwidth hungry applications such as entertainment."

Six of the top ten countries showing fastest growth in DSL subscribers just started serious commercial deployment of broadband: Saudi Arabia; Malaysia; Ireland; Poland; Columbia and Mexico.

Fastest growth amongst established markets was Israel; where over 10% of telephone lines are now delivering the benefits of broadband DSL. At 94.1% growth, the UK is the fastest growing country in Western Europe, for the first six months of the year, achieving its first million subscribers to DSL services. Singapore and China, both showed growth of around 85%.

The DSL Forum has set a target for a global mass market for broadband DSL - 20% of all phone lines - 200m subscribers by the end of 2005. South Korea remains the only country in the world to have achieved mass market status with 29.7% of its phone lines delivering DSL services using a combination of ADSL and VDSL. A further seven countries have achieved over 10% phone line penetration, four have reached over 9% and another eight are at over 5%.

"Supporting the growth of DSL towards a global mass market, the Forum and its members focus on drivers that will increase uptake of DSL and the quality and availability of value added services for both households and businesses," said David Greggains, vice president of operations for the DSL Forum.

"Our latest technical reports (TR-058 and TR -059) on IP-centric Architecture Evolution are central to developing protocols necessary for quality of service for IP delivered offerings. This work will ensure that DSL provides an excellent platform for advanced services and together with our work in interoperability and network management, will lead to accelerated market growth.

"In parallel, the DSL Forum continues to promote the benefits of broadband DSL for all end user groups, through initiatives like DSLHome(tm), which is focused on educating users on how to best use their DSL connection for a networked home."

Point Topic's global broadband DSL data over the past five years shows a trend towards greater subscriber take up in the second half of each year, expectations are that global figures will reach 60m DSL subscribers by the end of 2003.

"It's great to see how DSL has grown. Four years ago there were only a few hundred thousand lines around the world. Since then we've had the bursting telecoms bubble and widespread recession, but DSL has kept powering on," says Tim Johnson, founder of Point Topic.

More in Business