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Booming Broadband Adds Another 24 Million Subscribers

LONDON — At least 200 million people around the world will be subscribing to broadband by the end of this year, according to just published figures and estimates from the DSL Forum, with the market research conducted by Point Topic.

Member countries of the European Union have taken over from North America as having the highest broadband population in the world, adding 8,142,479 subscribers in the first half of 2005, a growth rate of 22 percent.

According to the Point Topic (London, England) report, there are now 47.5 million broadband subscribers in the EU — with 81 percent selecting DSL. This represents a third of all DSL subscribers.

The U.K. alone added more than 1,543,000 DSL subscribers in the six months ended 30 June, bringing the total figure to 5,691,000 — a growth of more than 37 percent, the fastest rate in Europe and among the fastest in the world.

Worldwide, a further 24.5 million homes and businesses shifted to broadband during the period, bringing the total to 176 million subscribers. DSL connections accounted for almost three-quarters of total broadband growth in the year, so far.

The U.S. remains the country with the largest broadband population in the world, at 38.2 million subscribers. It has enjoyed 16 percent growth in DSL subscribers so far in 2005, compared with the 10 percent increase in other broadband access technologies, mainly cable modems.

In terms of broadband penetration by population, South Korea continues to lead the way, with nearly 26 people out of 100 connected to broadband. Hong Kong (22.9), The Netherlands (21.9) Denmark (21.5) and Switzerland (20.1) make up the top five, with the U.S. coming in at fourteenth, with 13.1, and early leader Japan now in eleventh place with a broadband penetration of 16.2.

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