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Broadband Use Rises In U.S.; DSL Outpaces Cable

The number of digital subscriber lines provided by telephone companies for Internet access increased faster than cable in the first half of the year, as the total number of high-speed connections in the U.S. rose by 38 percent, the government reported.

Although DSL outpaced cable connections, the latter number was substantially higher as of June 30, reaching 18.6 million lines versus 11.4 million for DSL, the Federal Communications Commission reported this week.

DSL connections increased by 20 percent in the first half of the year from the 9.5 million lines reported as of Dec. 31, 2003. The number of cable-modem connections, on the other hand, rose 13 percent from the 16.4 million lines reported at the end of the previous six months.

Overall, high-speed lines connecting homes and businesses to the Internet increased by 15 percent during the first half of the year to 32.5 million from 28.2 million at the end of the prior period, the FCC said. Of the total, 30.1 million lines served residential and small business subscribers, a 16 percent increase from the 26 million at the beginning of the period.

Year-to-year, high-speed connections increased by 38 percent, while DSL rose by 49 percent and cable-modem connections by 36 percent. Wireless and wire-line connections other than cable and DSL accounted for 2.5 million high-speed lines as of June 30.

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