The Number of Worldwide DSL Subscribers Will Explode to Over 66 Million in 2004, IDC Says

FRAMINGHAM, MA – FEBRUARY 8, 2001 – The worldwide DSL market is thriving. According to IDC, the worldwide DSL subscriber installed base jumped 447% over 1999, with the number of worldwide DSL lines expected to explode from 4.5 million in 2000 to 66.4 million in 2004.


"Clearly, pent-up demand for faster Internet connections – particularly among work-at-home households such as telecommuters, day-extenders, and home-based businesses – is forcing service providers to quickly respond and aggressively push DSL," said Amy Harris, senior analyst for IDC's Broadband Markets and Technologies program. "Because of this push, the DSL subscriber base will exceed that of cable modems by 2003. However, the market must contend with rapidly changing standards, installation and provisioning challenges, and competition from other broadband technologies, including cable modems and fixed wireless."

According to IDC, the U.S. currently represents slightly more than half of worldwide DSL lines. By 2004, total U.S. lines in service will increase by a factor of 11 to nearly 26 million. Despite this growth, U.S. market share will decline to 39% by 2004, indicating that DSL expectations are not confined solely to the United States.

IDC believes the recent financial problems experienced by the DSL industry can be explained by an examination of DSL capital expenditures compared against revenue from customers. "IDC's research shows that the amount of DSL equipment purchased and installed by network service providers greatly exceeds the actual revenue-producing lines in service," said Brad Baldwin, director for IDC's Broadband program. "While some ‘advance build-out’ of new markets is expected and required, we believe the situation got out-of-hand in 2000, and service providers have temporarily overbuilt, especially in the U.S. market."

IDC's recently published bulletin Worldwide DSL Equipment and Services Market Forecast and Analysis, 1999-2004 (IDC #B23555) examines the worldwide DSL equipment and services markets by geographic region and discusses key market trends expected to shape and influence the industry. This bulletin also focuses on DSL technologies including ADSL, SDSL, VDSL, and the emerging G.SHDSL. To purchase this bulletin, contact Bruce Atlas at 1-800-343-4952, extension 4053, or at

About IDC

IDC is the foremost global market intelligence and advisory firm helping clients gain insight into technology and ebusiness trends to develop sound business strategies. Using a combination of rigorous primary research, in-depth analysis, and client interaction, IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends to deliver dependable service and client advice. More than 700 analysts in 43 countries provide global research with local content. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies and the financial community. Additional information can be found at

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.


# # #

All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.