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Broadband Grows At Breakneck Speed, Led By DSL: Report

Broadband Ethernet services are growing at breakneck speeds, and digital subscriber line (DSL) providers are the chief beneficiaries of the expanding market opportunities, according to a new report from the Leichtman Research Group.

Service providers added 9.6 million new broadband subscribers in 2005, compared to the previous yearly high of one million in 2004. By the end of last year, the twenty largest broadband providers, representing 94% of the market, served 42.8 million subscribers in the U.S.

While cable providers have a 57% share of the broadband market, serving more than 24.3 million subscribers, compared to 18.5 million for DSL, the latter appear to have a considerable amount of momentum. Some 53% of new broadband subscribers in 2005 chose DSL services and while the 4.4 million new subscribers to cable Internet services last year was roughly the same as in 2004, DSL providers added 5.2 million subscribers, up almost a million over the previous year. Indeed, 53% of new broadband subscribers chose DSL services last year, with DSL providers claiming 57% of additions in the last quarter.

"With about 10 million additional broadband subscribers in the US in 2005, the number of net broadband additions has increased every year this decade," Leichtman Research president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a statement. “Cable operators have added virtually the same number of broadband subscribers in each of the past three years, while DSL providers have grown the market primarily by offering lower priced services.”

By the end of 2005, Comcast was the leading cable Internet provider in the U.S., with 8,520,000 subscribers. Time Warner was a distant second with 4,822,000. SBC led the DSL market with 6,921,000 subscribers, and second-place Verizon boasted 5,144,000.