A number of analysts have released findings to indicate that global broadband rollout is gathering pace.

InStat/MDR released figures that show worldwide Wi-Fi hardware shipments more than tripled in 2003 to 22.7 million network interface card and access point units, from 7.2 million in 2002. Revenues rose 140 per cent to $1.7 billion in 2003 from 2002's revenue figure of $700 million. Wi-Fi sales will reach $40 million in 2006, the analysts said.

Analyst firm IDC also waxes positive on broadband, predicting consumer broadband in Europe will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 36 per cent between now and 2007, taking the number of subscribers from 18.7 million at the end of 2003 to 50 million by the end of 2007. Conversely, dial-up subscriptions will decline over the same period from 52.5 million to 34.2 million.

The shift to broadband access is eroding the grip that ISPs AOL and MSN hold in the US, according to Solomon-Wolff Associates. The two ISPs claimed 41 per cent of the market in early 2002 but this figure had declined to 35 per cent by July 2003, despite an overall consolidation in the market that has seen the top ten ISPs hold 75 per cent of the market.

Internet access is the fastest-growing sector of the telecommunications market in Latin America, according to Pyramid Research. The market will be worth US$5.3 billion in 2008, with Brazil currently the biggest market, Peru the fastest-growing, and Chile with the greatest market penetration of around 8 per cent, Pyramid said.