DSL gains on cable in Australia

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is well on its way to surpassing cable as the most popular method of broadband connection in Australia, according to figures released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in its recent Snapshot of Broadband Deployment report.

DSL had 151,300 Australian subscribers connected at the end of September -- 128,100 of which were asymmetric digital subscriber lines (ADSL) -- compared to 158,200 cable services. In June 2001, cable had 92,500 connections while DSL only had 28,000 registered.

"The relatively faster growth of DSL services is not surprising because they are more widely available than cable," said ACCC chairman Allan Fels, adding that there is more intense competition among DSL providers since Telstra's local loop was opened up.

The report also concluded that the number of broadband services connected by the end of September was 321,900 -- a rise of 162 percent since the ACCC started collecting broadband data in June 2001. The report said broadband growth of 23 percent for the June to September quarter reflected the "steady" growth of the past 15 months.

The development of broadband services in Australia took another step forward recently when the ACCC announced line-sharing services. Also known as spectrum sharing, this allows one carrier to provide broadband services while another offers voice services concurrently on the same line.

"Line sharing should lead to more competitive and innovative broadband service offerings available to consumers at lower prices. It will enable providers to focus on providing high-speed data services like Internet, video on demand and other multimedia applications without needing to take on the cost of providing voice services," said Fels.

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