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More than 35m new DSL lines were wired up around the world during 2004 as demand for broadband continued to soar. >By the end of 2004 there were 97m DSL lines around the world - an increase of 60 per cent on the year, according to research from PointTopic.

China heads the DSL league table with 17m lines - up 4.4m on the year. The US has 13.7m DSL lines. Demand for DSL continues to be strong in Europe with France, UK, Germany and Italy all adding more than 1m lines each over the year.

As demand for broadband has surged ISPs have responded by cutting the cost of packages and introducing innovative new products.

Earlier this week, for example, UK-based Seriously Internet - which has signed up 10,000 punters in five months - released a 2 Meg broadband service for £14.99 a month.

The PAYG product comes with 1 Gig of usage as part of the price. The more it's used, the more punters pay, although the ISP insists that monthly price is capped at £27.99 for unlimited use.

Elsewhere, Madasafish announced that it will join other ISPs including BT Retail and PlusNet to trial 8 Meg DSL from April. The pilot - ahead of a wider-scale trial scheduled for the summer - is expected to last ten weeks. ®

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