RealTime IT News

Broadband Future Is Bright

Dialing up could be phasing out, according to reports that predict robust growth in the broadband industry. While 2002 began with more than 32 million subscribers, In-Stat/MDR expects worldwide subscriber totals to surpass 46 million by the end of the year, and eMarketer forecasts 117 million broadband households worldwide in 2004.

eMarketer found that while North America held the lead through 2001 with 13.5 million households (of which 8.2 million are cable Internet users, and 5 million are DSL subscribers), the Asia-Pacific region will contain more broadband subscriptions than North America and Latin America combined at nearly 50 million by 2004.

Interestingly, In-Stat/MDR research indicates that DSL is the connection of worldwide choice. DSL subscriptions surpassed 17 million, with the service's popularity mostly attributed to the sharp rise in the number of DSL subscribers in the in the Asia-Pacific region. However, in the U.S., cable modems continue to outnumber DSL subscriptions — 7.12 million households are cable modem-equipped and only 4.6 million are using DSL as of the beginning of 2002.

Accounting for 5 percent of the broadband market are less popular technologies, such as satellite broadband, fiber-to-the-home, and fixed wireless service.

Analysis from Leichtman Research Group revealed that the leading cable and DSL providers in the U.S. added a combined 1.37 million high speed Internet subscribers in the second quarter of 2002, with cable continuing to hold a commanding 65 percent share of the growing broadband market. In further comparison, the top cable companies added over 3.5 million broadband Internet subscribers, while DSL providers added 1.9 million.

"High speed Internet growth was clearly a bright spot in an otherwise very challenging quarter for the cable industry," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. "Cable continues to grow its high speed Internet base, and strongly outpaces DSL providers in adding new subscribers."

U.S. Cable vs. DSL, Second Quarter 2002
  Broadband Internet Subs Net 2Q Adds
Cable Modem
Time Warner 2,466,000 271,000
AT&T 1,762,000 137,000
Comcast 1,168,900 128,400
Cox 1,115,000 113,689
Charter 905,500 157,800
Cablevision 610,505 50,740
Adelphia 377,500 NA
RCN (Overbuilder) 149,602 12,807
Mediacom 145,000 18,000
Insight 103,400 8,900
Cable One 56,000 11,600
Total Top Cable 8,859,407 909,936
SBC 1,700,000 213,000
Verizon 1,500,000 150,000
Bell South 803,000 74,000
Qwest 508,000 24,000
Covad (CLEC) 179,000 (1,000)
Total Top DSL 4,690,000 460,000
Total Broadband 13,549,407 1,369,936
Source: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc. All data from Q2 2002, except Adelphia from Q4 2001 (last reported information) Subscriber counts may not represent solely residential households. For example, Charter Communications notes that commercial accounts are calculated on an equivalent modem unit (EMU) basis, and represent about 8 percent of its modem subscribers.