Demand for broadband access is meeting the most aggressive projections of analysts, as the Federal Communications Commission this week reported extremely rapid rates of high-speed line adoption in 2003.
With more than 28 million lines in service, high-speed access experienced a 42 percent growth spurt in 2003, according to the most recent summary statistics from the FCC.
This rising tide of adoption is raising the prospects of all high-speed service providers. But in the battle for residential and small-business Internet users, the FCC numbers depict a better outlook for cable players than they do for DSL providers.
In the perennial struggle between cable and telecom-based providers, cable solutions remained the access medium of choice, accounting for 16.4 million high-speed lines at the end of year, compared to 9.5 million lines serviced by DSL providers. The remaining 2.3 million high-speed connections in service were primarily accounted for by satellite, wireless and fiber high-speed connections.
Where it counts the most, however, cable providers have the trend winds at their back. Among advanced services lines -- where speeds exceed 200 kbps in both directions -- DSL-based services increased by 39 percent, while cable modem connections increased by 84 percent over the 12-month period.