Q1 Broadband Battle a Draw

9:45 AM -- The top U.S. cable operators and telcos fought to a near-draw in the first quarter when it came to the addition of new broadband subscribers.

The top 20 MSOs and telcos, representing roughly 94 percent of the U.S. market, added more than 1.6 million net new high-speed subs in the first quarter, according to fresh data from Leichtman Research Group Inc. (LRG) . In the period, cable just edged out the top telcos, acquiring 52 percent, or 835,000, of those 1.6 million subs.

Top MSOs kept their broadband lead in the U.S., ending the quarter with 37.7 million high-speed Internet subscribers, giving them a 55 percent share of the pie. The telcos ended the first quarter with 31.5 million broadband subs. Among individual companies, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) ruled the roost with 15.43 million broadband subs, followed closely by Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s 15.25 million.

LRG president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman says net broadband adds in the first quarter bested the previous quarter by 600,000 subs, and was the strongest three-month period since the first quarter of 2008.

But he doesn’t expect there to be a repeat performance in the second quarter. "Given the traditional seasonality of the broadband industry, it should not be a surprise if net adds in 2Q 2009 are half of what they were in 1Q 2009," he predicts.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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