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Broadband Use Jumps in 2004
A 34 Increase in U.S. Can't Overcome Lag

The number of U.S. consumers and businesses with broadband service rose 34 percent in 2004, reaching almost 38 million lines, according to a recent FCC report. The growth still leaves the U.S. in 16th place worldwide in its percentage of broadband users, lagging more densely populated countries with smaller populations.

Approximately 5.4 million subscribers were added during the second half of 2004, the FCC said, joining 4.3 milliion new subscribers in the first half of the year.

Cable companies led the charge,  adding about 5 million customers during the year, a 30 percent increase to 21.4 million lines, while DSL subscribers grew more quickly on a percentage basis, rising 45 percent, or 4.3 million lines, to 13.8 million lines.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has made eliminating regulatory hurdles to achieve that goal his top priority since taking the reins of the agency earlier this year. "The dramatic growth in broadband services depicted in this report proves that we are well on our way to accomplishing the president's goal of universal, affordable access to broadband by 2007," Martin said in an opinion piece published on Thursday in The Wall Street Journal.  "This means that we must treat all such providers in the same manner -- free of undue regulation that can stifle infrastructure investment," he said.

Kevin Martin

On the other side of the fence, Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy said, "Competitive Internet service providers are now history; the U.S. has a duopoly -- cable and telephone industry -- over broadband. Both cable and telephone have a long history of anti-competitive behavior."

About SOA News Desk
SOA World Magazine News Desk trawls the world of distributed computing and SOA-related developments for the latest word on technologies, standards, products, and services and brings key information to you in a timely and convenient summary form.

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The number of U.S. consumers and businesses that subscribe to high-speed Internet service, or broadband, jumped 34 percent in 2004 to almost 38 million lines, according to new statistics released by the Federal Communications Commission. The U.S. still lags 15 other countries in its percentage of broadband users, however.




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