DSL Rules The World, But Not The U.S.

The study, “Global Broadband & Video Subscribers Quarterly Service”, examines the global trends in subscriber growth, for delivery platforms that include DSL, Cable, DBS and wireless technologies.

Several reasons account for the increase, according to director of broadband research, Vamsi Sistla. “There is more interest in deploying advanced ADSL services such as ADSL2, ADSL2+ and VDSL,” he says. “These offer higher data rates, increasing the number of households that can subscribe, enabling DTV services, and making them increasingly competitive with cable-based broadband.”

Telcos in Europe and Asia have already rolled out advanced ADSL services offering video and TV, which are being taken up rapidly by consumers.

Outside the U.S., broadband DSL subscriptions for the top 10 operators total more than 34 million, as opposed to a little over 6.5 million for cable. In the U.S., however, cable broadband subscriptions, at over 16.5 million for the top 10 operators, still outweigh DSL by well over 6 million. But the gap is closing.

“So far,” says Sistla, “the cable broadband providers have done an incredible job of penetrating the U.S. market. In contrast, the ADSL industry was always a little fragmented; the data rates were lower, especially at a great distances from the point of distribution; and it was a little unstable.”

With the improved flavors of ADSL gaining traction even in the U.S. market, the question is: in light of these faster technologies, can cable maintain its complete dominance of the U.S. market? And if so, for how long, in the face of a rising tide of ADSL subscriptions?