The number of broadband subscribers in the 30 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reached 118 million by the end of 2004, an increase of 34.1 million during the year, according to a report released by the OECD on Tuesday.
Overall, broadband penetration in the OECD countries reached 10.2 subscribers per 100 inhabitants, up from 7.3 subscribers per 100 inhabitants at the end of 2003, the report said.
The rollout of video and VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) services helped drive the growth, the report said. The OECD defines a broadband service as a connection with a downstream speed of 256K bps (bits per second) or faster.
South Korea led the pack in broadband penetration with 24.9 subscribers per 100 inhabitants, or almost one in every four people, while the Netherlands moved into second place with 19.0 subscribers per 100 inhabitants, followed closely by Denmark, Iceland and Canada.
Three countries, led by the U.S., accounted for more than half of all broadband users.
The U.S. had 37 million subscribers, representing 31 percent of the total. Japan was second with 19 million broadband subscribers, or 16 percent of the OECD total. South Korea was third with 12 million, or 10 percent of the total. Germany and France rounded out the top five, with 7 million [M] subscribers each by the end of last year.
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) was the leading connection technology, accounting for 61 percent of subscriptions. Cable modem connections accounted for 33 percent, while other technologies, including satellite and fiber optic connections, accounted for the remaining 6 percent.
Fiber optics is becoming a significant delivery platform in Japan, with nearly 2.5 million subscribers, or nearly 12 percent of all broadband connections in the country, the report said.
The growth in broadband use was strong throughout the year, with a surge in the final quarter from October to December, when a record 11.4 million new subscribers were added, the report said.
The report can be found at the OECD's Information and Communications Policy Web site: here