Global DSL Soars 40 Percent in First Three Quarters 2004

The total number of global DSL subscribers grew 39 percent to 85.3 million in the first three quarters of 2004. The figure reflects an additional 24 million subscribers worldwide, according to the latest data from broadband research group Point Topic.

There were a total of 54.6 million DSL subscribers at the end of Q3, 2003, making the year-over-year growth rate 56 percent. At this pace, the number of worldwide subscribers will break 100 million by early 2005.

The U.S. added 3.2 million new DSL subscriptions, for a total of 12.6 million by the end of September, ranking third behind China’s 13.7 million subscribers and Japan’s 12.7 million. While China outpaced the U.S. overall in the first 3 quarters, gaining a total of 5.1 million DSL subscribers, the reverse was true in Q3, when the U.S. gained 1.2 million lines versus China’s 990,000.

The total number of U.S. DSL subscribers is growing, but still lags behind the country’s over 19 million cable modem subscribers. Outside the U.S., DSL dominates broadband by a ratio of about 2 to 1, said Joseph Laszlo, senior analyst at JupiterMedia.

“Worldwide, DSL definitely dominates the field in terms of broadband technology,” Laszlo said. “That disparity is based on the relative ease of converting extant telephone networks into digital subscriber lines in countries that, unlike the U.S., do not have sophisticated cable networks in place.”

Lazlo cites the average number of users per DSL subscription at 2.09.

Top Countries:
Total DSL Subscribers Q3 04
(September 30, 2004)
Ranking Country Total DSL
1 China 13,700,000
2 Japan 12,739,564
3 USA 12,594,346
4 South Korea 6,717,251
5 Germany 5,950,000
6 France 5,253,000
7 Italy 3,680,000
8 UK 3,335,000
9 Taiwan 2,900,000
10 Canada 2,568,351
11 Spain 2,227,805
12 Brazil 1,633,700
13 Netherlands 1,552,000
14 Belgium 983,000
15 Australia 910,000
16 Hong Kong 774,000
17 Sweden 751,000
18 Switzerland 717,000
19 Israel 600,000
20 Denmark 594,000
Source: DSL Forum and Point Topic

Regionally, North America as a whole gained 3.5 million DSL subscribers, reaching a total of 15.1 million. For its part, Latin America added a robust 1.2 million new subscribers, representing growth of approximately 72 percent in the first three quarters. The E.U., meanwhile, added a combined 9.25 million in the same time period, reaching 26.5 million total subscribers, or 31 percent of the global DSL population. The Asia Pacific region now figures close behind the E.U., with 24.1 million subscribers, a 28 percent share of the world’s DSL users.

Total % DSL Subscribers by Region
Region Q3 04 Total % of Total DSL
Subscribers by
Asia Pacific 24,062,660 28.22
European Union 26,518,252 31.10
Latin America 2,864,775 3.36
Middle East & Africa 858,500 1.01
North America 15,162,697 17.78
Other Europe 1,199,000 1.41
South & SE Asia 14,601,500 17.12
Totals 85,267,384 100.00
Source: DSL Forum and Point Topic

While recording close to 60 percent growth in the first three quarters of the year, the Middle East and Africa still account for the smallest share of the world’s DSL subscribers at 859,000, or 1 percent of the global DSL population. Israel, which now has 600,000 users; and Turkey, with 200,000, led that growth.

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