Despite the growing number of gigabit rollouts by rival providers, the US cable industry continues to roll up impressive gains in the broadband market.
Providing the latest evidence of that, the 10 largest US MSOs collectively added nearly 582,000 high-speed data subscribers in the summer quarter, easily beating their gains of a year earlier by 35%, according to fresh figures compiled by the Leichtman Research Group Inc. (LRG) . With this sizable increase, the 10 big MSOs boosted their total broadband subscriber count to 51.2 million, giving them a commanding 59% share of the overall US broadband market.
In another notable finding from the LRG report, the large cable companies now have decisively more broadband customers than video customers, just one quarter after the number of cable data customers surged past the number of cable video customers. As reported last week, the nine largest MSOs collectively lost about 440,000 TV subscribers in the third quarter, cutting their total to just shy of 49.5 million, as they continue to surrender video market share to rival telco and satellite TV providers. (See Bleeding Continues for US Pay-TV Operators and For Cable, Broadband Is the New Video.)
Only Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) suffered a loss of broadband subscribers in the quarter as the top 10 MSOs racked up one of their biggest quarterly gains ever. As usual, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) led the way with a pickup of 315,000 high-speed data customers, followed by gains of 108,000 subs for Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and 106,000 subs for Charter Communications Inc.
The seven largest US phone companies also fared better than they did a year earlier, netting 121,000 broadband customers in the third quarter, up about 50%. But their gains once again paled in comparison with those of the cable companies, leaving the telcos with a total high-speed data sub count of 35.4 million, or 41% of the overall market, as they continued to cope with heavy DSL sub losses.
Five of the top seven phone providers registered broadband customer gains in the summer quarter, with Windstream Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: WIN) and FairPoint Communications Inc. failing to make the grade. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) topped the group with an increase of 69,000, followed by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) with an increase of 38,000 subs.
Taken together, the 17 service providers covered in the survey now have almost 86.6 million broadband customers, up more than 2.9 million from September 30, 2013. These 17 providers represent about 94% of the nation's broadband market.
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading