LONDON The 25 countries of the European Union added 4.18 million DSL subscribers in the first quarter of 2005, reaching a total figure of more than 35.6 million subscribers " a growth of 13.3 per cent.
The momentum means the EU remains the world's leading region for DSL lines, accounting for almost a third, according to the latest figures from market research group Point Topic on behalf of the DSL Forum.
Globally, DSL notched up over 10 million new subscribers during the first quarter of 2005 to reach 107 million, cementing its position as the most popular broadband technology. Point Topic estimates the number will reach 115 million by the end of this month.
In the U.S., DSL increased its share of the broadband business, with 1.37 million subscribers added in the first quarter of 2005 " the second largest subscriber increase worldwide.
The UK added more than 840,000 subscribers in the same period, bringing the total figure to almost five million " one of the best performers in Europe with a growth of 20.3 per cent.
As of March 31 2005, China remained the country with comfortably the largest DSL population worldwide, with 2.5 million users added during the first quarter. Its 19.5 million subscribers account for 95 percent of the total subscribers in South and South East Asia.
Five countries (South Korea, Japan, the U.S., Germany and France) now have more than seven million subscribers, and a further eight have at least two million DSL-enabled phone lines.
In terms of market penetration, eight countries have now passed the DSL Forum's first stage target for a global broadband DSL mass-market (20 percent of all phone lines). South Korea leads the way, with a penetration rate approaching 29 percent, followed by Taiwan, Israel, Finland, Belgium, France Hong Kong and Holland. Norway and Japan are approaching that mark. Of the top 20 countries by DSL penetration of phone lines, 13 are in Europe.
"DSL keeps spreading. As the early adopters start to slow down slightly, the baton passes to the emerging countries", commented Tim Johnson of Point Topic. "Countries such as Turkey, Mexico or the Philippines would not even have been considered as mass-market targets for a high-tech premium service a few years ago. And there's another cycle of growth to come as the established DSL markets tackle the problem of making broadband connections ubiquitous to all their citizens."