Emerging Industry Overview: High Speed Internet Service Providers

Industry Snapshot

The explosion in popularity of the Internet in the closing decade of the twentieth century and the opening years of the new millennium fueled a strong public demand for ever faster connections with the Information Superhighway. This demand continued, as the Internet played a central role in an increasing number of business and personal activities.

Growing even more spectacularly than Internet use in general has been the number of users accessing the World Wide Web via high speed, or broadband, connection. The most common broadband technologies were DSL (digital subscriber line) and cable. The most widely used broadband technology worldwide was DSL, although newer technologies such as WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access and W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) were set for explosive growth. Fiber-optic broadband service (FiOS) was also a threat to DSL and cable providers: the number of people worldwide using fiber optics to connect to the Internet--4.2 million--surpassed those who used cable or DSL, according to a report by UK-based Point Topic.