Study shows DSL leading in broadband growth

Broadband digital subscriber line (DSL) led a global boom in broadband Internet access over the 12 months ended June 30, growing to about 78 million total subscribers as users of all broadband services surpassed 123 million, the DSL Forum announced Wednesday.

There were more than 30 million new DSL subscribers -- a growth rate of more than 62 percent -- while broadband subscriptions overall grew at 55 percent, according to a DSL Forum statement. DSL's gain in total subscriber numbers was more than double that of cable and other broadband access technologies, the group said. Industry analysis company Point Topic compiled the figures for the DSL Forum from carrier records, said Forum spokeswoman Kristi Kosloske.

DSL subscriber growth was fastest in South and East Asia, at 110 percent, followed by 107 percent growth for the year in Africa and the Middle East and 104 percent in Latin America. However, Europe nudged the Asia-Pacific region as a whole out of the top spot for total DSL subscriptions, gaining about 11 million subscribers to surpass 23 million, the statement said. There were just under 23 million DSL users in the Asia-Pacific region.

The most dense DSL deployments remain in East Asia, led by South Korea, where 28.7 percent of phone lines carried DSL in the second quarter of this year. Taiwan had 20.8 percent penetration, and in Hong Kong, 19.6 percent of lines had DSL. Iceland, Belgium and Israel filled out the top five markets for DSL penetration.

Mainland China, excluding Hong Kong, led the world in DSL subscriptions at 12.7 million, jumping up from fourth place a year earlier with nearly 7 million new subscribers. Japan was the second-largest DSL market with just over 12 million subscriptions and the U.S. was third with 11.4 million. South Korea was fourth, with 6.7 million and Germany fifth, with 5 million.

Counting all technologies, the U.S. is the largest broadband market in the world with 29.1 million total subscribers. U.S. DSL subscriptions grew by 4 million, or about 48 percent, in the 12-month period, compared with 31 percent growth in cable and other technologies, the Forum said. DSL's market share in the U.S. is 39 percent, Kosloske said.

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