DSL was hyped to convert the copper wires into gold ones. Many, however,
started to believe that DSL technology promised a great deal, but is yet to
Leaving aside the usual hype factor, the reality is that not only DSL
technology has proven itself by making market inroads in many Asian markets, it
has led to growth in bandwidth available to households around the world. Asia is
now the largest DSL market in the world with about 8.4 million DSL users at the
end of 2001. Korea stands tall by accounting for 7 million of this total with
low consumer prices taking the broadband penetration to a quarter of the country’s
households. This speaks of Korean commitment to bring broadband connectivity to
its population. Similar growth can be seen in Taiwan, Australia, Hong Kong,
Japan and Singapore. Malaysia and Thailand are also seeing growth in DSL
subscribers. The Yankee Group has predicted an average compound growth rate of
28 percent in the years 2000-2005. Even in Europe, ADSL subscriber numbers have
exploded recently with Belgium doubling in the last three months of 2001, France
going from 200,000 at end of September to 430,000 by the end of the year and
Germany having a total of 1.8 million customers, according to Ovum.
So far G.lite, the simpler and cheaper version of ADSL, has been very
popular. After G.lite are coming the two new members of the DSL family of
standards–G.dmt and G.shdsl. The G.shdsl standard–approved in February 2001–is
being rolled out in certain parts of the world, mainly as a business solution.
Symmetric DSL (SDSL) may eventually be standardized on G.shdsl, but it is yet to
gain popularity with carriers evaluating the market potential and the value that
it brings to the market. SingTel’s DSL network, now mainly based on G.dmt,
also supports G.lite.
However, for most carriers, reducing operational expenses, provisioning
costs, etc. have been the key issues being addressed by automating the service
For managing quality of service and bandwidth costs, one needs to deliver
both IP and non-IP services over DSL (including video). This needs to utilize
network intelligence in the central office. Besides home networking and gaming
as options, investments in voice-over-DSL can bring additional revenue streams
and savings to new providers over the conventional analog voice.
Value-added services are key to making broadband profitable. Besides high-end
services like video-over-DSL (VoDS L), there can be simpler
ones like gaming, home networking support, security-firewall, virus protection,
and others to bring in additional revenues.
Using the broadband infrastructure, carriers can increase the average monthly
revenue per customer. Adding services makes for more customer ‘touch point’,
and value-added services layered on top of the embedded technology bring the
long-term stickiness of the product besides revenues. The cable companies
demonstrated considerably lower churn for the customers who used voice, data and
video services over the ones using plain vanilla services.
With very high-speed DSL (VDSL) providing both asymmetrical access (up to 26
Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream) and symmetrical access (up to 14 Mbps in
both directions), lots of interactivity and content can be delivered to
subscribers. This gives carriers the ability to bundle even more services. Video
provisioning is poised to be the differentiating factor for telcos in future.
Shall we join the race to bridge the emerging broadband divide?