Cable's winning broadband trend continued, as US operators garnered another 2.7 million broadband subscribers in 2017 while telcos lost about 625,000, according to Leichtman Research Group.
In total, cablecos represented 130% of net broadband additions for last year, the research firm found. Of those, the top 14 cableco and telco providers -- which account for all but 5% of the US market -- added 2.1 million high-speed broadband Internet subscribers in 2017. These represented 78% of the 2.7 million additions in 2016, the researcher reported.
Scorecard: Wins & Losses
Data sources: Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.
* WOW's total is from the end of 3Q 2017 due to a delay in 4Q 2017 reporting
** Cable ONE does not include the NewWave acquisition in 2Q 2017
^ Includes LRG estimate for Cox
^^ FairPoint was acquired by Consolidated Communications in 3Q 2017, total is reported connects acquired at that time Company subscriber counts may not solely represent residential households
Top cable and telephone companies represent approximately 95% of all subscribers
Net additions reflect pro forma results from system sales and acquisitions, and reporting adjustments; therefore, comparing totals in this release to prior releases may not produce accurate findings
Certain cablecos continue to thrive: Comcast, for example, has added more than 1 million broadband subscribers for each year between 2010 and 2017, Leichtman Research said. Competitor Charter has accomplished that same figure between 2014 and 2017, it noted. This ongoing success combined with top cablecos' over-the-top (OTT) apps, strategic partnerships and acquisitions, plus huge fiber investments, make the concept of national provider consolidation more -- rather than less -- likely within a few years. Now, in her Light Reading article, Senior Editor Mari Silbey discusses nationwide video, but why stop there? Why not extend it to broadband too? (See Warning: US Cablecos Will Go National.)
"The top broadband providers in the US added nearly 4.8 million net broadband subscribers over the past two years," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, in a statement. "The top cable companies accounted for 130% of the net broadband additions in 2017, following 122% of the net adds in 2016."
But telcos lost 625,000 subscribers in 2017, slightly more than the 600,000 lost the prior year, the report said.
There are exceptions within the broad telco group, however. Both AT&T and Cincinnati Bell added broadband subscribers. AT&T increased its broadband subscriber base by 114,000, while much smaller telco Cincinnati Bell added 5,500 subscribers to its base, Leichtman determined.
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