The number of high-speed lines connecting U.S. businesses and homes to the Internet jumped 18% to 23.5 mil lines during the first half of 2003, according to statistics released on Monday. High-speed Internet service via cable showed a 20% jump, narrowly outpacing the 19% growth in digital subscriber lines (DSL) offered by traditional telephone lines, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
There were 13.7 mil lines served by cable versus 7.7 mil DSL lines. The cable and telephone industries have been fiercely competing to offer consumers bundles of services, slashing prices to lure new customers. All but 3 mil of the lines serve residents and small businesses and a solid majority, 16.3 mil lines, were receiving service at speeds exceeding 200 kilobits per second in each direction. Overall growth for high-speed Internet lines for the 12 months ended June 30, 2003, was 45%.