DSL tops 30M lines worldwide in third quarter

The number of DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) subscribers worldwide grew by 5 million in the third quarter of 2002 to more than 30.6 million, according to figures released Tuesday by market research Point Topic Ltd. in London.

The figures were announced Tuesday at the San Francisco meeting of the DSL Forum, a consortium of nearly 250 telecommunications, equipment, computing, networking and service provider companies.

"We're seeing continued strong demand for DSL lines in Asia, which shows the highest DSL penetration, but the U.S. is catching up," said Tim Johnson, an analyst with Point Topic.

Point Topic is a primary supplier of DSL subscription data to the DSL Forum, according to Johnson.

Global DSL subscribers have grown steadily from 18.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2001 to 22.6 million in the first quarter of 2002 and 25.6 million in the second quarter, he said.

South Korea continued to lead the world with over 6 million installed lines as of Sept. 30, followed by the U.S., Japan, Germany and China.

"France and Italy are markets that are beginning to show particularly strong for DSL and could someday exceed Germany," Johnson said.

DSL is only one indicator of broadband deployment, according to Johnson. Several major markets, including Canada, the U.K. and the U.S., have more cable modems than DSL lines, while Germany and Italy have virtually none, he said.

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