DSL Use Expected To Grow Among Small Businesses - InformationWeek

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DSL Use Expected To Grow Among Small Businesses

Probe Group, a research firm, says the number of DSL lines used by businesses in North America is expected to jump from 830,000 at the end of last year to 1.5 million in 2008.

The business market for high-speed DSL is expected to reach $1.9 billion by 2008, based on the advantages it has over alternatives for small businesses, a research firm said Thursday.

The number of DSL lines connecting businesses to the Internet is projected to increase to 1.5 million in North America, up from 830,000 as of the end of last year, the Probe Group said. Revenue from DSL lines last year was $964 million.

Businesses now account for less than 10% of the total DSL market, which is dominated by consumers. But the Probe Group points out that 30% to 40$ of small businesses still use dial-up connections and are potential customers for carriers willing to target the group with special packages that include local and long-distance services. "This is a strong growth market for carriers, and they should make their products more attractive by offering bundled services," Probe Group analyst Alan Mosher said.

In the broadband market, DSL competes with cable for businesses with less than 100 employees. Among the advantages it has over cable, however, is accessibility.

DSL, or digital subscriber line, is technology that boosts the digital capacity of telephone lines, which means the high-speed service is usually available in business and warehouse districts. These areas are often home to small businesses and often aren't accessible by cable.

"Cable runs in most homes in urban areas, but it doesn't necessarily run in industrial areas," Mosher said. "It's been primarily seen as a residential service."

But DSL providers have to move quickly to grab more broadband business with bundled services. Hot on their heels are companies trying to undercut prices for local and long distance services with emerging voice over Internet protocol technology. VoIP lets businesses cut communications costs by using their high-speed Internet connections for voice communications.

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