Broadband Sub Growth Dips 10% in Q3: LRG

Top U.S. MSOs and Telcos Add 520,000 Subs

Leichtman Research Group is the latest to show that broadband growth in the third quarter was a good news/bad news story. On the good side, operators are still adding customers, but the rate of overall growth is showing signs of slowing down as the market gets increasingly saturated.

The top 17 MSOs and telcos, representing 93% of the U.S. market, acquired 520,000 net additional high-speed subs in the third quarter, roughly 90% of the total racked up in the year-ago-quarter, LRG said.

That group now has 83.6 million broadband subs, with cable representing the lion’s share, 48.7 million, compared to 34.9 million among the top telcos.

The major MSOs studied by LRG added 440,000 subs in the period, about 76% of the year-ago total, while the top telcos added 80,000, up from a small gain of 4,000.

Of the telcos, AT&T and Verizon Communications added 828,000 fiber-based broadband subs (via U-verse and FiOS), but lost 798,000 DSL subs. U-verse and FiOS subs now account for 45% of telco broadband customers, compared to 36% a year ago, according to LRG.

The third quarter was indicative of a larger subscriber trend (subscription required) affecting U.S. broadband subscription growth.

“In the first three quarters of 2013, the top providers added about 1,930,000 subscribers, compared to about 2,150,000 in the first three quarters of 2012,” LRG president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman said, in a statement.