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U.S. broadband approaching 25 M subs; DSL share creeping upwards

Sun, 03/07/2004 - 7:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner

The top U.S. cable and DSL service providers ended 2003 with more than 24.6 million broadband subs, with cable MSOs snaring about 60 percent of the new signups during the year, according to the latest figures from Leichtman Research Group Inc. (LRG)

Domestic cable and DSL providers added a combined 7.4 million high-speed subs for the year, with cable adding 4.5 million compared to DSL's 3 million. Cable ended the year with more than 15.5 million subs, followed by DSL's 9.1 million. LRG noted that its study of the 20 largest cable and DSL providers represent about 98 percent of the U.S. market.

Recent price cuts are clearly paying dividends for DSL, which enjoyed its best quarter ever, adding 870,000 net new subs, or 45 percent of all additions during the period. Despite the surge, LRG isn't about to say domestic DSL is about to make up all the ground it initially gave up to cable modem services.

Though competition will only intensify, "it is premature to proclaim that DSL is catching up to cable," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG. "As the totals indicate, this would be akin to congratulating a basketball team that was losing by 20 points after the first quarter for only being down by 24 points at halftime."

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