Broadband Internet deployment is surging worldwide, analysts said last week.

An impressive 12.4 million digital subscriber line access multiplexer (DSLAM) ports sold worldwide in the third quarter of 2003, 182 per cent higher than for the same quarter a year ago. Much of the increase came from shipments to China, and a move to higher-speed platforms in Japan, according to Gartner.

2004 will be the take-off year for mobile data services more advanced than SMS (short messaging service), according to Ovum. Now that a critical mass of terminals – WiFi-equipped laptops, mobile phones with GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) or CDMA2000 capability – exists, content and application developers have real motivation to deliver advanced services, and the market will become even more attractive when 3G (third-generation) mobile services take off in late in 2004, Ovum said.

Additionally, China's IT market will continue to grow at 23 per cent per year until 2006, when the market will be worth $85.2 billion, up from $36.4 billion in 2002, according to Zhao Shufeng of Beijing-based CCID Consulting. Growth in software and services will outpace the currently dominant hardware sector, growing at 27.6 per cent and 27.7 per cent respectively, the analyst said.

Burgeoning broadband deployment is good news for Europe's e-tailers: European consumers are expected to spend £4.2bn using the Internet in November and December, 46 per cent more than the £3.15bn spent during the same period in 2002, according to Jupiter Media.

BT reports that a third of parents and grandparents (32 per cent) have been taught or encouraged to surf the Internet by a child aged between 13 to 16 years old.