Another 41 million homes and businesses – over 112,000 every day around the world – selected digital subscriber line (DSL) technology for broadband connectivity in 2005.
By December 31, 2005, there were 138.8 million broadband DSL subscribers globally, according to the latest data produced for the DSL Forum by industry analyst Point Topic. In the year, DSL subscriber levels grew by 42% – at a rate of almost 800,000 per week.
Regionally, the European Union (EU) remained the largest DSL population worldwide, adding 16.7 million subscribers in the year – a growth of 53% – and at a total of 48.2 million DSL subscribers, now accounting for almost 35% of the world market.
The Middle East and Africa was the fastest growing region, increasing its DSL subscriber base by 112.5% in 2005, to reach a total of almost three million. Turkey added more than one million new subscribers and accounted for almost 70% of the region’s growth in the year.
Latin America saw a growth of 79% to reach 6.37 million DSL subscribers, led principally by subscriber increases in Brazil (up 1.27 million) and Mexico (up 912,000).
By the end of 2005, there were 20 countries with a DSL subscriber population of more than one million. Half of these are in Europe (both the EU and other Europe), but each region worldwide is represented in the list. Five countries passed the million mark during 2005: Sweden, Switzerland, Mexico, Poland and Turkey.
China, which has comfortably the highest DSL country population worldwide, added 9.4 million new subscribers in 2005, and now accounts for almost 94% of the total subscriber base in South and South East Asia.
The USA, one of the first markets to deploy DSL commercially, remains the second largest country in the world for this access technology that is at the core of global communications networks.
Michael Brusca, chairman and president of the DSL Forum says: "We are continuously developing technical specifications to enhance the ability of service providers to deliver multiple services simultaneously over broadband, efficiently and effectively, providing automated and remote management facilities to increase the quality of the total customer experience.
"That, coupled with our inclusive approach to encompass various types of access platform, improves the economics of broadband service delivery, enabling greater global market growth."
Of the emerging DSL nations, the Czech Republic, Russia, Thailand, Malaysia, New Zealand and Venezuela all showed over 80% growth in 2005 from a small subscriber base at the end of 2004. India showed the highest percentage growth worldwide (over 400%) to reach 639,000 subscribers by the end December 2005.
Even in well-established markets with over a million subscribers at the end of 2004, three countries experienced DSL subscriber growth of over 60%: Australia (up 89.1%), the UK (up 73.2%) and Brazil (up 67%). Four further major countries grew by around 50%: China (up 55.6%), Germany (up 55%), Spain (up 50%) and France (up 49.2%).
In terms of market penetration, 17 countries have achieved the initial mass-market status of at least 20% of phone lines delivering broadband DSL services. Major markets with over a million subscribers make up 11 of these, with a further six smaller countries at 20% or more.
Of the major markets, Germany and Sweden are fast approaching this mass-market status with over 19% of penetration. China has also significantly increased DSL its penetration – 12.3% of phone lines are delivering services over DSL. In North America, DSL continued its progress with Canada reaching a 16.8% DSL penetration of phone lines.
Among smaller population countries, six have already exceeded 20% of telephone lines delivering broadband DSL services to homes and businesses. Iceland and New Zealand are close to reaching mass-market status, with over 19% penetration each.
"As more nations join the global DSL community, and an ever-growing number of homes and businesses sign up to the benefits of broadband DSL, simplifying the provisioning and management of multiple services – from data to voice and video – becomes even more important to customer satisfaction and service provider efficiency," says Michael Brusca.
"Inside customers’ premises, there are increasing numbers and types of devices to connect to the core broadband service, each requiring configuration and management that can now be handled remotely using the growing range of Technical Reports developed by the DSL Forum.
"In the coming year, our priority will be to expand that portfolio of specifications even further, and to continue addressing the end-to-end architecture of today’s and tomorrow’s communications networks."
DSL Forum – www.dslforum.org
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