Cable operators added 3.3M broadband customers in 2015, research group says

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The leading cable operators collectively added 3.3 million high-speed Internet customers in 2015 and now control 61 percent of market share for the U.S. broadband market, according to Leichtman Research Group.

Led by Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) addition of more than 1.3 million HSD customers and Time Warner Cable's (NYSE: TWC) growth of more than 1.06 million subs, cable operators accounted for 106 percent of growth in the U.S. broadband market last year. In 2014, cable companies accounted for 89 percent of growth. And in 2013, their share was 82 percent. 

U.S. cable operators added 1 million broadband users in the fourth quarter alone, Leichtman added. 

With telephone companies losing 187,285 wireline broadband users in 2015, the research showcases cable's strongest customer growth year since before the Great Recession.

Leichtman's survey covers the top 17 cable and telco wireline broadband providers in the U.S., covering 94 percent of the market. The research firm disclosed the broadband data a day after it released a report that said that U.S. pay-TV operators collectively lost 385,000 video customers in 2015. 

Collectively, the top nine U.S. cable operators lost over 344,000 video subs in 2015, Leichtman said. But discounting mid-sized systems like Cable One -- which have embarked on strategies that de-emphasize video --- cable actually showed growth in pay-TV. 

The top three cable companies -- Comcast, TWC and Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) -- actually grew their collective video sub base by 18,000 users. 

"The top cable and telco broadband providers in the U.S. cumulatively now account for nearly 90.5 million subscribers in the U.S., yet the industry added more broadband subscribers in 2015 than in any year since 2010," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group. "The number of broadband subscribers in the US continues to increase, with the top broadband providers adding more than 6.1 million net broadband subscribers over the past two years, and cable companies accounting for 97 percent of these net adds."

For more:
- read this Leichtman Research press release

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