Broadband News

Record growth for DSL in 2003

The DSL forum is claiming record growth for broadband DSL in 2003 with almost 28 million extra subscribers last year bringing the global total user base of DSL technology close to 64 million connections. These figures prepared from research carried out by Point Topic on behalf of the DSL Forum show a growth rate of 77.8%.

The top performers in terms of growth are South and East Asia with Western Europe in second place with 8.3 million new DSL subscribers. The last quarter of 2003 saw nine million additional connections exceeding all expectations of even the industry experts.

"China is storming ahead and now has the largest DSL population in the world at 10.95 million, even excluding Hong Kong, pushing Japan into second place with 10.27 million. Four Western European countries are now in the global top ten – Germany, France, Italy and the UK"

Tim Johnson (Analyst), Point Topic

The global ranking of DSL subscribers:



DSL Subscribers

DSL per 100 phone lines

1 China 10,950,000 5.1
2 Japan 10,272,052 14.4
3 USA 9,119,000 4.8
4 South Korea 6,435,955 27.7
5 Germany 4,500,000 8.4
6 France 3,262,700 9.6
7 Taiwan 2,800,000 21.4
8 Italy 2,280,000 8.3
9 Canada 2,170,243 10.9
10 UK 1,820,230 5.2

Germany has the most DSL lines in Western Europe in the raw number of lines and grew by 40% in the last year whilst France is catching up fast being the tenth fastest growing country last year with 139% growth. The UK has moved into the top ten table this year but is still significantly behind both France and Germany which lead European DSL take-up.

Unfortunately the UK does not make it even close to the top ten in terms of percentage uptake with South Korea Leading at 27.7% and Canada in tenth position at 10.9%, more than twice as high as the UK.



DSL Subscribers

Telephone Lines*


1 South Korea 6,435,955 23,257,000 27.7
2 Taiwan 2,800,000 13,099,416 21.4
3 Hong Kong 690,000 3,842,943 18.0
4 Belgium 789,677 5,132,427 15.4
5 Japan 10,272,052 71,149,000 14.4
6 Denmark 473,481 3,739,247 12.7
7 Singapore 242,000 1,927,200 12.6
8 Israel 380,000 3,100,000 12.3
9 Finland 336,600 2,850,000 11.8
10 Canada 2,170,243 19,962,072 10.9
* Telephone line figures 2001/02 from ITU.  ** DSL per 100 phone lines

The DSL forum is very happy with the general growth and notes that not even mobile phones have achieved this level of growth which is giving them confidence in the technology and its ability to drive the broadband market for years to come with new technical innovations making broadband a utility like water and electricity.

"We are confident that the industry is well on the way to achieving the DSL Forum’s global target of 200 million DSL subscribers – 20% of all phone lines – by the end of 2005. Our technical and marketing teams will be continuing their work - developing guidelines and best practice, and educating end users – to accelerate growth and ensure that DSL maintains its position as the world’s leading broadband technology."

Tom Starr (President), DSL Forum

Rival technologies have a long way to go if they want to compete on the same level. [seb]


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