Light Reading

For Cable, Broadband Is the New Video

Alan Breznick

The US cable industry has quietly achieved a major milestone, with the number of broadband subscribers for the top nine MSOs topping their number of video subscribers for the first time in the industry's 65-year history.

In its latest report on the US broadband market by Leichtman Research Group Inc. (LRG) , the nine biggest cable operators plus cable overbuilder WideOpenWest Holdings LLC (WOW) added about 382,000 high-speed data subscribers in the second quarter, easily exceeding the 296,000 they added in the same period a year earlier. Thanks to these strong gains, they ended June 30 with nearly 50.7 million data subs.

Even without the addition of WOW's 769,000 data subs, the nine top MSOs still closed out the spring quarter with 49.915 million broadband customers. That's slightly more than the 49.910 million TV customers those nine providers now have, after sustaining another round of heavy video sub losses in the spring. (See US Pay-TV Subs Renew Plunge.)

Reaching this milestone was not exactly a surprise. The cable industry has been trending towards broadband for years and, in a recent report, Moody's Investors Service predicted that the crossover point was coming momentarily. (See Cable Broadband Surpassing Video: Moody's.)

But that doesn't make the milestone any less significant. An industry founded on the premise of bringing TV signals and video programming to those who couldn't get them over-the-air is now more reliant on a non-video service for its future prospects.

Fortunately for cable operators, their hold on the US broadband market continues to tighten, even as their hold on the pay-TV market continues to slip. LRG reported that cable operators accounted for virtually all the growth, or 99%, in the high-speed data market again.

In stark contrast, the top seven phone companies collectively netted a mere 2,000 broadband subs, the same amount as a year ago, essentially keeping their total flat at 35.2 million. Notably, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), despite gaining a combined 627,000 broadband subs via their respective U-verse and fiOS platforms, actually shed a total of 9,000 data customers in the spring quarter because of their even heavier DSL losses.

As a result, the cable industry now commands 59% of the total US broadband market, which is 85.9 million homes strong and still growing at a healthy pace. That's cable's highest market share since the early days of broadband technology a decade or so ago.

For more of Light Reading's coverage of broadband market trends, visit our broadband services content channel.

With such major MSOs as Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) and Suddenlink Communications clearly placing more emphasis on broadband growth in the future, these trends will likely continue. So look for the broadband market to continue to grow as the video market flattens out. And don't be surprised if cable's broadband market share continues to climb, despite all the headline-grabbing moves by Google Fiber, AT&T, CenturyLink and other rivals to deploy 1-Gig speeds.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Richard Harper
Richard Harper,
User Rank: Light Beer
8/19/2014 | 7:07:40 AM
Re: Verizon and AT&T
It backs up the data that more people are watching IPTV than ever before, I wonder how long until it becomes the norm?
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/18/2014 | 2:32:47 PM
Verizon and AT&T
Of course those DSL declines are quite intentional as AT&T and Verizon hang up on markets they have absolutely no interest in upgrading...
More Blogs from Breznick Unbound
As we'll explore at the Future of Cable Business Services event, business services keep producing big dividends for MSOs, even though fresh challenges loom.
At a time when the big traditional media companies are under assault from new-media upstarts, how can the fat compensation packages of top execs still be justified?
MSO, SCTE and vendor experts will address how cable can optimize and monetize WiFi in a special LR breakfast panel at Cable-Tec Expo next week.
Telefónica is enjoying great early results with its new cloud DVR service, helping it vault into the pay-TV market leadership in Spain.
Now that cable operators have built up their WiFi networks, they should start trying to make some money off of their promising wireless assets.
From The Founder
Steve Saunders provides an overview of white box networking and introduces a new "slim line" version of the OSI 7-layer model.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Centec on Ethernet Switching

11|26|15   |   09:58   |   (0) comments

Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
LRTV Custom TV
Delivering Service Agility in the Virtualization Era

11|25|15   |   5.41   |   (0) comments

Interview with Massimo Fatato, WW OSS Business Lead, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Wagner’s Ring
How Might Open Source Fail?

11|24|15   |     |   (9) comments

Open source, SDN, and NFV are looking inevitable – but performance, standards proliferation and regulatory capture could derail the movement.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Lifecycle Orchestration – a Fresh Vision for Telco

11|23|15   |   6.40   |   (0) comments

Simon Osborne, CTO Comptel, and Heavy Reading's Caroline Chappell reveal the business impacts of new SDN and NFV, and what the term service orchestration actually means. Together they define Lifecycle Service Orchestration and how the virtualized future will look for telecoms operators.
Between the CEOs
Cisco's Virtual Role in Saudi

11|20|15   |   12:15   |   (2) comments

Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Leads With Kubernetes for Cloud PaaS

11|19|15   |   08:26   |   (0) comments

Huawei is looking to Kubernetes as a key tool for building robust open source technologies for customers and partners, said Ying Xiong, chief architect of cloud platform at Huawei, in an interview with Light Reading West Coast Bureau Chief Mitch Wagner at the recent Kubecon conference.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
WiC in London: The Highlight Reel

11|19|15   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

NetCracker's Mervat El Dabae headlines an inspiring morning in London with help from leading women from Vodafone, TalkTalk, Hyperoptics and Ciena.
LRTV Documentaries
Why Saudi's So Hot for New Tech

11|19|15   |   05:07   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders reports from Saudi Arabia, a hyper-competitive market desperate to embrace the next generation of communications technologies and services.
LRTV Custom TV
Why Data Models Deliver More Value Than Information Models

11|19|15   |   5.08   |   (0) comments

Stefan Vallin argues that more automation is needed to manage end-to-end services and the hybrid networks they run on, and that data models are key to achieving this.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
SDN Management & Orchestration in the WAN

11|17|15   |   7.20   |   (0) comments

Carol Wilson and Packet Design CTO Cengiz Alaettinoglu discuss CSPs' SDN service delivery and assurance requirements. Learn about a modular approach to building automated control, orchestration and management functions for the WAN that are policy- and analytics-driven.
LRTV Custom TV
Flash Networks: Optimizing for Radio Spectral Efficiency

11|17|15   |   3:34   |   (0) comments

Today most optimization vendors only focus on optimizing voice or data. Ofer Gottfried, Flash Networks' CTO, shows how improving data throughput and maximizing spectral efficiency reduces capital and operating expenses while also providing a platform for user engagement.
LRTV Custom TV
Making Pay-TV User Experiences Millennial-Friendly

11|16|15   |   6:42   |   (0) comments

The unique challenge of reaching and engaging Millennials is driving pay-TV video experience transformation that can include higher quality UIs, viewing of multiple content streams at once and seamless transitions between handheld devices and the television.
Allot MobileTrends Report H2/2015 reveals how daily online behavior can be used to discover smarter ways to profile customers and propose valuable, real-time offers to them.
Hot Topics
Samsung to Sell Wireless Networking Unit?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Samsung: No Sale of Wireless Unit
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/25/2015
How Might Open Source Fail?
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/24/2015
Sprint to Get $1.2B From New Leasing Venture
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/23/2015
Networking Shines in HP's Gloomy Final Earnings
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 11/25/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
December 15, 2015
Virtualizing Cable Services
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Centec CEO James Sun talks to Steve Saunders about Ethernet switching and the white box revolution.
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders talks with Zayan Sadek, Regional Manager at Cisco Systems, about the competitive communications services market and advance of virtualization in Saudi Arabia.
Cats with Phones
Can't Find the Phone on Thanksgiving? Click Here
Check under the cat! (hint: bottom right)
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.