Broadband digital subscriber line (DSL) led a global boom in broadband Internet access over the 12 months ended June 30, growing to about 78 million total subscribers as users of all broadband services surpassed 123 million, the DSL Forum announced Wednesday.

An impressive 31 per cent of DSL users are in the EU, which together as a whole has become the number one region for DSL. The UK has emerged as the number eight country for DSL adoption, with around 2.7 million subscribers by the second quarter 2004 - up from 11th place, year-on-year.

62 per cent growth

There were more than 30 million new DSL subscribers - a growth rate of over 62 per cent - while broadband subscriptions overall grew at 55 per cent, according to a DSL Forum statement. DSL's gain in total subscriber numbers was more than double that of cable and other broadband access technologies, the group said. Industry analysis company Point Topic compiled the figures for the DSL Forum.

DSL subscriber growth was fastest in South and East Asia, at 110 per cent, followed by 107 per cent growth for the year in Africa and the Middle East and 104 per cent in Latin America. Europe gained "about 11 million" subscribers for 23 million. There were just under 23 million DSL users in the Asia-Pacific region.

Market analysis

The most dense DSL deployments remain in East Asia, led by South Korea, where 28.7 per cent of phone lines carried DSL in the second quarter of this year. Taiwan had 20.8 per cent penetration, and in Hong Kong, 19.6 per cent of lines had DSL. Iceland, Belgium and Israel filled out the top five markets for DSL penetration.

Mainland China, excluding Hong Kong, led the world in DSL subscriptions at 12.7 million, jumping up from fourth place a year earlier with nearly 7 million new subscribers. Japan was the second-largest DSL market with just over 12 million subscriptions and the US was third with 11.4 million. South Korea was fourth, with 6.7 million and Germany fifth, with 5 million.

Counting all technologies, the US is the largest broadband market in the world with 29.1 million total subscribers. US DSL subscriptions grew by 4 million, or about 48 per cent, in the 12-month period, compared with 31 per cent growth in cable and other technologies, the Forum said.