US Broadband Adds Reach a New Low in Q2

Welcome to the broadband and cable news roundup, Hump Day edition.

  • The nation's top 17 cable operators and telcos, representing 93 percent of the market, added 260,000 broadband subscribers in the second quarter – 100,000 fewer than the year-ago period -- making it the "weakest on record," reports Leichtman Research Group Inc. (LRG) . Cable MSOs added 328,000 subs, while the top telcos tracked by LRG lost 70,000 due to continued DSL subscriber erosion. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) added 669,000 fiber subscribers in the quarter, but had a net loss of 763,000 DSL subs, LRG notes. Despite the bad showing, top broadband ISPs have added nearly 3 million subs in the past year.

  • Broadbandtrends LLC posted a broader second-quarter analysis of U.S. ISP results and found that the 450,000 broadband additions were the lowest of any quarter since such services were launched in 1999. Although telco net additions, at 74,000, were "definitely dismal" in the quarter, "we haven't gone negative just yet," noted Broadbandtrends analyst Teresa Mastrangelo.

  • Anton Vickerman, a 38-year-old Briton, has been sentenced to four years in prison for running a website that provided access to illegal copies of films and TV shows, reports The Guardian. Vickerman reportedly was making £35,000 (US$54,914) per month from the site, Surfthechannel.com, which was attracting 400,000 visitors per day.

  • Com Hem AB CTO Martin Kull passed along word that he's leaving after nine years with the Swedish MSO. He's starting up a consultancy called Vestacon.

  • Aereo Inc. hasn't revealed subscriber figures, but Frost & Sullivan analyst Dan Rayburn blogs that the startup, which lets users receive free over-the-air digital TV signals via remote antennas linked to broadband, has fewer than 2,000 paying customers and believes its chances of surviving are bleak. Even if Aereo wins its case with the broadcasters, he questions if there is significant demand to sustain a business and believes it'll burn through its cash to mount its legal defense. He estimates that Aereo will need to sign up 150,000 customers, each paying $12 per month for a year, just to recoup its original $21 million investment. (See Aereo Offers a Free Taste and Who Are Aereo's Customers? )

  • NBC, ABC and CBS have filed a joint copyright infringement lawsuit against Aereo copycat BarryDriller.com , reports Deadline.com. Fox has already filed a lawsuit.

  • Schools, libraries and other public spaces in the Kansas Cities that end up getting free connections to Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s fiber network will have the option to let visitors link in via Wi-Fi, a company spokeswoman confirms. The Kansas City Star notes that about 400 locations are eligible for the fiber hookups, and it will be up to them to add a Wi-Fi component. Google, meanwhile, has yet to announce plans to deploy a Wi-Fi network of its own in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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