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Global BB subscribers hit 62m

Not 'major industry driver' though

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One in ten Net users in the world has a broadband connection, according to the latest report from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

It's figures showed that at the end of 2002, the number of broadband users had jumped 72 per cent to 62 million punters.

Not surprisingly, broadband nation Korea leads the way in broadband penetration, with approximately 21 broadband subscribers for every 100 inhabitants. It's followed by Hong Kong (15 broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants) and Canada (11 per hundred).

According to the ITU, global demand for broadband is being driven by home users, who are increasingly doing stuff (playing games, files sharing, downloading music and videos) that has a real need for speed.

Said the ITU's Dr Tim Kelly in a statement: "Broadband is arriving at a time when the revolutionary potential of the Internet has still to be fully tapped.

"However, while broadband is accelerating the integration of the Internet into our daily lives, it is not a major industry driver in the same way that mobile cellular and the Internet were in the 1990s.

"It's an incremental improvement, offering Internet access that is faster, more convenient and cheaper than ever before."

Whatever it advantages, broadband remains the preserve of wealthy nations with around 80 out of 200 economies worldwide with commercial services.

But while the vast majority of broadband users today are in the developed world, there is some hope that as the cost of services becomes cheaper, some developing countries may be able to use wireless broadband technology to get broadband. ®

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