Global DSL use soars

India led the world in DSL growth in the year ended June 2006.

Soaring subscriber growth in India led a 38 per cent global rise in DSL use during the 12 months to June 30, according to an industry group.

While India had the fastest growth, China remained the world's largest DSL market, according to the DSL Forum. The group has released results from a study conducted by research company, Point Topic. During the period, almost 46 million more subscribers signed up for DSL, the group said.

India's DSL market grew from fewer than 250,000 subscribers in June 2005 to more than 1.5 million a year later, according to the group. DSL use also boomed in Vietnam (up 147 per cent), the Czech Republic (143 per cent), Morocco (141 per cent) and Russia (130 per cent).

China gained almost 12 million users to reach 33 million in June 2006. It became the world's largest DSL market in 2004, DSL Forum spokesperson, Carol Friend, said. Still, fewer than 3 per cent of China's phone lines are being used for DSL.

In the US, the second-largest market, DSL subscribers went up 6.36 million to more than 23 million. The growth surpassed that of cable Internet access, which gained 5.45 million users, according to the group. In the US and Canada, DSL gained market share and is now the choice of more than 46 per cent of the broadband subscribers, DSL Forum said.

However, the US came in number 33 for the penetration of DSL among all phone lines, Friend said. Only 8 per cent of the country's lines had DSL.

Finland leads the world in DSL penetration, with nearly 40 per cent, followed by France with almost 33 per cent. DSL penetration made big strides in France and the UK as speeds increased while prices remained about the same, she said. Penetration in the UK is now almost 25 per cent.

DSL subscriptions grew 45 per cent in Europe, which now has 56 million DSL subscribers, more than any other region. Europe is home to 35 per cent of the world's total, followed by Asia-Pacific with 18 per cent and North America with 16 per cent.

Australia added just over 1.1 million new DSL subscribers in the 12-month period, bringing the total figure to 2,686,200. This represented growth of 69.4 per cent in the year and meant 25.4 per cent of all telephone lines deliver DSL services.

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Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service

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