Top cable operators' ongoing investments in fiber and DOCSIS 3.0 and D3.1 continued to pay off with the reward of an additional 585,000 new subscribers in the second quarter of 2018, Leichtman Research Group found.
That's a 25% increase, year-over-year, from the 465,000 new broadband subscribers cable operators garnered in the second quarter of 2017.
Despite their heavy expenditures, the top telcos had a different story: In their case, they lost 130,000 subscribers during the last quarter, the researcher said. This marks the ninth consecutive quarter of broadband Internet losses for telcos, according to Leichtman Research. (See Cable Operators Continue Broadband Blitz.)
In total, the largest cable and telephone providers in the United States, which account for about 95% of the market, acquired 455,000 net additional broadband Internet subscribers between April and June 2018, Leichtman Research determined in its regular quarterly report.
Over the last 12 months, the industry saw about 2.18 million net broadband additions versus more than 2.5 million net additions in the prior year, Leichtman Research found. That's a drop of 12.8%.
"The broadband industry added nearly twice as many subscribers in 2Q 2018 as in last year's second quarter," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst at the eponymous research firm. "This quarter marked the first year-to-year quarterly broadband increase since 2Q 2016."
And the winners are...
Charter led the way, gaining 267,000 net adds in the second quarter, followed closely by Comcast and its 260,000 newest broadband subscribers, reported Leichtman Research.
Breaking Down the Quarter
(Source: Leichtman Research Group)
No cable operator on the report's list of seven companies lost broadband subscribers although some providers' gains were way more modest. Mediacom expanded its broadband customer base by a healthy 20,000; CableOne added a mere 2,326 broadband subscribers, the researcher said. Of course, any pluses are better than minuses -- especially the losses incurred by at least one telco. (The public portion of this report does not discuss churn, only net adds.)
These customer gains occurred against a backdrop of wireless telcos' unlimited data wars and smartphone BOGOs (buy one, get one free - or half-off list). Cable operators themselves continue expanding their community WiFi offerings, delivering free or inexpensive Internet broadband throughout more and more regions as part of their ongoing effort to improve the industry's image and each provider's customer experience ranking, Ian Greenblatt, who recently joined J.D. Power as its Technology, Media and Telecom Practice lead, told Broadband World News.
A couple of phone companies fared better than their peers, as Carol Wilson wrote on BBWN this week. Windstream and Consolidated both boosted their broadband Internet bases; Windstream added 2,300 while 1,557 new broadband Internet customers joined Consolidated.
Larger service providers did not do as well, with CenturyLink, in particular, hit hardest with the loss of an estimated 89,000 subscribers. Frontier followed, with the loss of 32,000, with Verizon coming in third at 10,000 fewer broadband Internet customers, the researcher said. The report found 3,000 subscribers left AT&T's service while 400 no longer use Cincinnati Bell to connect to the Internet.
With its acquisition of Hawaiian Telecom earlier this year, Cincinnati Bell's picture will no doubt change, even though the provider will operate the divisions as separate companies from a customer perspective. M&A activity also could have impacted CenturyLink: Level 3 is a wholesaler, but perhaps some residential customers felt affected by its acquisition of Level 3 or, post-purchase, CenturyLink's regional competitors became more aggressive in their sales and marketing. (See CenturyLink's New Year's Resolution: Exploration & Investment.)
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.