U.S. broadband expansion slows to 15-year low, Leichtman says

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The top 14 pay-TV companies collectively added 190,000 high-speed internet customers in the second quarter of 2016, according to Leichtman Research, with big gains by leading cable companies Comcast and Charter offset by the losses of telco giants AT&T and Verizon.

Overall, the second quarter was the slowest quarter for U.S. broadband expansion in the last 15 years, Leichtman said.

Leichtman’s tally covers 95 percent of the U.S. broadband market, with the top 14 companies serving 91.9 million subscribers. 

"While telcos lost more broadband subscribers in 2Q 2016 than in any previous quarter, cable companies added over 550,000 subscribers in the traditionally weak second quarter," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group. "Over the past year, cable companies have added about 3.5 million broadband subscribers, while telcos have had net losses of about 500,000 broadband subscribers."

Comcast and Charter Communications added 220,000 and 270,000 broadband users in the second quarter, respectively. AT&T (down 123,000 broadband subs), Verizon (down 83,000), Frontier (down 77,000) and CenturyLink (down 66,000) all experienced heavy losses.

Cable companies now account for 57 million broadband subscribers in the U.S. vs. 34.9 million for phone companies, Leichtman added. Cable had its biggest second-quarter HSD subscriber growth since 2008.

The top phone companies lost about 360,000 broadband subscribers in the second quarter, vs. a loss of about 150,000 in the second quarter of 2015.

Double-dipping in trade-press headlines, Leichtman’s release today came just a day after it said that the same companies lost 665,000 pay-TV customers in the second quarter, a marked uptick over the 545,000 video subscribers lost in the second quarter of 2015.

For more:
- read this Leichtman Research press release

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