Broadband prices tumble worldwide

Good news for customers, but Europe is still the most expensive market for entry-level high-speed Internet access

The cost of an entry-level DSL connection plunged sharply over the past year, according to research published on Monday.

Analyst group Point Topic reported that worldwide consumer DSL prices fell by an average of 25 percent between September 2002 and last month, thanks to an international wave of price cuts this year.

With all the major broadband operators -- including Japan's NTT, Verizon of the US, BT and Deutsche Telekom -- charging less for DSL now than a year ago, it seems likely that the worldwide broadband boom will continue.

The US should see particularly strong growth, Point Topic believes, on the back of cuts of some 40 percent from Verizon and SBC.

"If the price cuts are successful, there will be rapid growth in DSL numbers in the USA in the current half year," predicted Tim Johnson, publisher of Point Topic in the new report, the DSL Worldwide Directory (Edition 8).

The Asia Pacific region is the cheapest region for DSL, followed by North America -- with Europe the most expensive. "This is mostly due to the rising euro and the high level of value-added tax," Johnson explained, adding that the fall in the pound against the euro has made BT one of the cheaper European DSL suppliers.