Even as we fret about broadband, struggling with its definitions, and squabbling over which technology wins, I see the Asian marketplace taking a lead on rest of the planet. We know how South Korean and Japan have embraced DSL, but China is now the next frontier. 13 million Chinese already have DSL, which makes China the leader in DSL broadband subscribers Ironically, this is only 6% of China’s total phone lines. The DSL Forum said high-speed DSL net grew globally with 30 million new subscribers over the last year. By the end of June 2004, there were 78 million subscriptions worldwide. While the last mile take-up rates accelerate, you are seeing a sharp decline in the bandwidth prices in the region. Gartner Group says that the international bandwidth prices in the Asia-Pacific region will continue to decline by 20-25% annually in the next 3 years.
This is because of the large number of players aggressively competing for enterprise business and the excess capacity across Asia. For the fast growing Indian market, new submarine cables like TICS (Tata Indicom Chennai Singapore), FLAG Falcon (Reliance) and SMW-4 will add capacity on both the western routes towards Europe and eastern routes towards Singapore. This will result in a 40-50% annual price decline for international connectivity from India.