Cable broadband customer growth slowed 30% to 2.72M in 2017

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Leading cable companies’ share of the U.S. wireline market grew to 64.3% in 2017. But the top seven U.S. MSOs saw customer expansion decline by 30% year over year to just 2.72 million subscribers.

The data comes courtesy of Leichtman Research Group, which tallied subscriber data for the top 14 U.S. wireline broadband 

Notably, Comcast added more than 1 million high-speed internet subscribers for the eighth  consecutive year. Charter Communications added a million subs for the fourth straight year. 

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Cable companies’ slowing customer growth came as telco-based wireline operators dropped more than 625,000 wireline broadband customers. The seven telco operators included in Leichtman’s tally lost around 600,000 customers in 2016.

RELATED: Top linear pay TV operators lost nearly 3.1M subscribers in 2017, Leichtman says

The biggest decline among telcos was Frontier Communications, which lost 333,000 customers last year. AT&T, which posted HSI gains of 114,000 subscribers, was the only significant gainer in the sector. 

The Leichtman tally only includes numbers through the third quarter for WideOpenWest, which delayed its fourth quarter earnings call last week. 

Leichtman also includes an estimate for privately held Cox Communications of 90,000 net adds in 2017—the same estimate as for 2016. The research company does not explain its methodology in terms of estimating metrics for the No. 3 U.S. cable operator. 

With many cable operators marginalizing their increasingly less profitable video businesses, the ability to sustain growth of residential high-speed internet business is key.