U.S. high-speed Internet use up 34 percent in 2004

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High-speed Internet use by U.S. businesses and households rose 34 percent in 2004 to 37.9 million lines, the Federal Communications Commission said Thursday.

The figures were cited by the agency's chairman as proof that the FCC's broadband policy is working.

Digital subscriber line, or DSL, service increased 45 percent last year to 13.8 million lines. Cable modem use climbed 30 percent to 21.4 million lines.

Other Internet connections using wireless and satellite increased by 50 percent to 500,000 last year, the FCC said, while use of optical fiber and powerlines rose 16 percent to 700,000.

Late last year, the agency made a number of decisions designed to spur broadband deployment by easing network-sharing rules for Bell companies.

In a column published in Thursday's Wall Street Journal, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said broadband deployment is his "highest priority."

Critics note that the U.S. ranks as low as 16th in terms of broadband use among major countries.

Source.