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The number of global DSL users almost tripled during 2001, according to the latest stats from PointTopic.

It found there were almost 19 million DSL customers at the end of 2001 - compared to 6.5 million 12 months earlier.

According to the authors of the DSL Worldwide Retail Directory, Edition 5 this marks "an impressive achievement for the industry and a demonstration of the demand for broadband."

However, price still remains an issue. Europe remains the most expensive place to subscribe to DSL with charges (including installation and equipment costs) ranging between $50 and $75 a month.

In the US that figure is nearer $50 a month whereas in Asia Pacific it's between $20 and $50 a month.

Looking at Europe, the report finds that local loop unbundling (the process of opening up phone networks to competition) has failed to trouble incumbent telcos.

Instead of pressing ahead with LLU, the report's authors suggest that regulators should opt to promote the provision of wholesale services. ®

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