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The number of subscribers to DSL high-speed Internet access services has surpassed 3 million for the first time, the telecommunications ministry said Friday.

The number of subscribers stood at about 3,020,900 at the end of May, an increase of 329,000 subscribers over the previous month, according to the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry.

The steep increase in recent months has been led by strong demand for asymmetrical digital subscriber line (ADSL) services triggered by the Softbank Corp. group’s launch in September of services at a basic monthly fee of 2,280 yen.

As a result of the increase, DSL services, which offer high-speed Internet access via regular telephone lines, have more subscribers than digital broadcasting services via broadcast satellites for the first time.

BS-based digital broadcasting services, which began in December 2000, had about 2.91 million subscribers at the end of May.

Though the number of subscribers to BS digital services increased by about 120,000, or 1.2 times, in May from a year earlier, the growth was outpaced by DSL services as BS receivers are expensive.

Katsuji Ebisawa, president of NHK, said, “Prices of receivers should be lowered to the 10,000 yen level” from the current 75,000 yen level.

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