Broadband DSL takes off in Western Europe

9 April 2003 London Lightwave Europe -- Western Europe was the fastest growing region in the world for broadband DSL subscribers in Q4 2002, according to a survey for the international DSL Forum.

- Fastest growth region is Western Europe in Q4 2002
- Annual global growth of 90%, reaching 36m subscribers worldwide

9 April 2003 London -- Western Europe was the fastest growing region in the world for broadband DSL subscribers in Q4 2002, according to figures prepared by London-based analyst firm Point Topic for the international DSL Forum.

More than 1.9m households and businesses in the region chose to move up to an always-on, high-speed broadband DSL connection to the e-world in the final quarter. Western Europe had the most converts to the broadband Internet technology delivered over ordinary telephone lines.

The region showed an annual growth of 121% compared to global annual growth of 90% and, at 9.4m subscribers, it is now second only to Asia-Pacific (with 14.5m) when it comes to subscribers to broadband DSL. Worldwide, the surbvey concludes there are now 36m subscribers.

Germany has built up the fourth largest broadband DSL population in the world with 3.2m subscribers; 1.4m of those were new in 2002. Number eight in the same league table is France with 1.4m, just under one million more than at the end of 2001. Spain and Italy come in at nine and ten, each with just under one million subscribers.

The top 10 countries in the world for broadband DSL subscribers account for 86% of the total. Those countries are led by the USA where broadband DSL was first deployed on a large scale, now at 6.5m DSL subscribers and South Korea at 6.4m.

In percentage terms Belgium is Western Europe's leading country for DSL subscribers. It has 10.3% penetration of main phone lines only exceeded by South Korea [28.3%], Taiwan [15.8%] and Hong Kong [10.4%].

Also in the top ten are Denmark [number six at 7.8%], Finland [number seven at 7.7%], Sweden [number nine at 6.4%] and Germany at number 10 with 6.1%. Spain, Austria, France and Norway have also achieved broadband DSL market penetration of main phone lines above the global average of 3.6%.

Tom Starr, president of the international DSL Forum said, "It is good to see countries from most regions of the world now well represented in this top 10 list for broadband DSL deployment, all with more than 6% of their main telephone lines delivering DSL.

"South Korea has already achieved a mass market with 28.3% of main phone lines delivering broadband DSL. Our target is a global mass market for DSL � at least 20% penetration of phone lines � as the most efficient means of providing broadband benefits to homes and small or medium sized businesses.

More than one billion telephone lines around the world provide a robust, core global infrastructure capable of delivering broadband DSL. With that utility already in place, DSL is simply the most effective and economical route to global broadband deployment, achieving the mass market that governments around the world have identified as an essential element in continuing development and competitiveness," he added.

Rapid growth
In percentage terms, Portugal was the fastest growing broadband DSL market in 2002 at 1,658% growth. In Western Europe, Switzerland was next at 350% in 12th place followed by the UK in 15th place with 288% growth, reaching over half a million subscribers.

It is the first time that the UK, much maligned in the past for being slow to begin deployment of broadband DSL, has appeared in the upper levels of these charts. At a global level, Lithuania, Mexico and Russia achieved over 1,000% growth in the year, all starting from a low deployment base at the end of 2001.

Japan showed the greatest growth in numbers of broadband DSL subscribers in 2002, adding 4.1m in the year to come in at number three on the global subscriber numbers list at 5.6m, an annual growth of 270%.

The USA added over 2m subscribers in 2002 and still has more subscribers than any other country. China added just under 2m subscribers in the year followed by Germany at 1.4m additional broadband DSL subscribers and South Korea with a further 1.3m. South Korea has the second highest cumulative number of subscribers, after the USA and is the world's leading market with 28.3% of its main phone lines delivering DSL services.

Tim Johnson of industry analyst firm, Point Topic, said: "It's very encouraging to see how the rollout of DSL is spreading across the world. Each region and country in turn is making DSL a high volume product. Many countries are now reaching the level of take-up, which was seen only in South Korea two years ago.

"I think that broadband technologies such as DSL are now reaching the critical mass needed to support the rapid development of broadband services, content and applications."identified as an essential element in continuing development and competitiveness," he added.

Rapid growth
In percentage terms, Portugal was the fastest growing broadband DSL market in 2002 at 1,658% growth. In Western Europe, Switzerland was next at 350% in 12th place followed by the UK in 15th place with 288% growth, reaching over half a million subscribers. It is the first time that the UK, much maligned in the past for being slow to begin deployment of broadband DSL, has appeared in the upper levels of these charts. At a global level, Lithuania, Mexico and Russia achieved over 1,000% growth in the year, all starting from a low deployment base at the end of 2001.

Japan showed the greatest growth in numbers of broadband DSL subscribers in 2002, adding 4.1 million in the year to come in at number three on the global subscriber numbers list at 5.64 million, an annual growth of 270%.

The USA added over 2 million in 2002 and still has more subscribers than any other country in the world. China added 1.98 million subscribers in the year followed by Germany at 1.37 million additional broadband DSL subscribers and South Korea with a further 1.29 million. South Korea has the second highest cumulative number of subscribers, after the USA and is the world's leading market with 28.33% of its main phone lines delivering DSL services.

Tim Johnson of industry analyst firm, Point Topic, said: "It's very encouraging to see how the rollout of DSL is spreading across the world. Each region and country in turn is making DSL a high volume product. Many countries are now reaching the level of take-up, which was seen only in South Korea two years ago.

"I think that broadband technologies such as DSL are now reaching the critical mass needed to support the rapid development of broadband services, content and applications."


Starr added, "With 52 countries now having DSL technology in commercial deployment, broadband subscriptions are growing in every one of them while dial up internet access subscriptions are beginning to decline. DSL is rapidly becoming the 'must have' service for householders and small or medium sized businesses around the world. DSL is already the leading broadband technology in the world.

"Developments such as ADSL2, ADSL2+ and SHDSL are now in trials or starting to become available commercially in a number of countries. Together they will give service providers and end users even greater benefits such as longer reach, higher speeds and wider service choice in what is already the fastest growing sector in telecommunications."

Further information at www.dslforum.org

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