Global DSL Lines Exceed 55M

Global DSL growth exceeded expectations for the third quarter of 2003, reaching 55 million, according to Point-Topic and DSL Forum representing an 18 percent increase over Q2 2003, and an 80 percent gain over Q3 2002.

China dominated new subscriber growth in Q3 2003, adding 2.2 million subscribers alone, which could position the country to overtake Japan as the country with the most DSL customers during 2004.

Top Countries by Number of DSL
Subscribers Added, Q3 2003
China 2,217,000
Japan 971,400
U.S. 667,700
France 390,500
Germany 387,500
UK 343,200
South Korea 258,400
Italy 237,000
Taiwan 232,400
Canada 159,700
Source: DSL Forum

Japan remained the leading country in terms of total number of lines at roughly 9.2 million, with the U.S. following at 8.2 million. China is now in third place with 7.8 million lines, recently overtaking South Korea.

South Korea has earned the distinction of being the leading country in the world with more than 30 percent subscribed to broadband DSL, and more than 20 percent of South Korea’s subscribers have now upgraded to VDSL [define] services, according to DSL Forum.

Top DSL Countries by Penetration of Phone
Lines, Q3 2003
Country Total
Phone Lines
South Korea 7,069,400 23,257,000 30.40%
Taiwan 2,374,000 13,099,000 18.12%
Iceland 32,500 181,000 17.99%
Hong Kong 660,000 3,843,000 17.17%
Belgium 706,000 5,132,000 13.76%
Japan 9,228,600 71,149,000 12.97%
Israel 358,000 3,100,000 11.55%
Singapore 219,000 1,927,000 11.36%
Denmark 416,500 3,739,000 11.14%
Canada 2,027,700 19,962,000 10.16%
Source: DSL Forum

Tim Johnson, founder and publisher of Point Topic, comments on the imminent shifts in penetration: “In terms of absolute numbers of DSL lines, where Japan currently leads…I expect China to become the biggest during 2004. I think the U.S. will also overtake Japan within two or three years. I do not expect any other country to equal these three except, eventually, India. There is little more growth to come in South Korea.”

While cable modems currently rule the U.S. broadband market, DSL subscriptions are expected to increase. “In general I think the U.S. will catch up a bit in terms of broadband penetration (broadband lines per 100 people) and that DSL will gradually gain on cable modems in terms of market share,” added Johnson.

The Asia Pacific share of subscriptions in over 50 percent of all DSL lines at 28 million, while the Americas account for 11.7 million lines, and EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) for 15.5 million.

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