Cable Broadband Enjoys a Banner Year

Top U.S. ISPs Add 3.1M Subs in 2015, Most Since 2010
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The 17 largest cable operators and telcos in the U.S., representing 94% of the market, raked in 3.1 million net additional high-speed Internet subs in 2015, according to Leichtman Research Group.

Led by cable operator gains, those net adds, 104% of 2014’s totals, were the most in any year since 2010, LRG said.

Cable retained the lion’s share of the market, with 55.3 million cumulative subs at the end of 2015, compared to 35.2 million for the top telcos.

In 2015, cable companies netted 106% of the broadband additions, up from 89% in 2014, and 82% in 2013. The top U.S. MSOS added 3.3 million broadband subs in 2015, or 124% of the total net adds for that group in 2014, and represented the most net adds for cable in any year since 2008, according to LRG.

On the other end, the top telcos tracked by LRG lost about 185,000 broadband subs last year, making it the first year ever for a net decline in the category for the group. Though AT&T and Verizon added 1.48 million subs via U-verse and FiOS last year, they shed 1.7 million DSL customers.

Among some of the individual companies, Comcast added 1.36 million broadband subs in 2015, Time Warner Cable added 1.06 million, while AT&T lost 250,000, Frontier added 101,500, Verizon added 23,000 and CenturyLink shed 34,000.

For Q4 2015, the top ISPs added 950,000 subs, up from 765,000 in the year-ago quarter. MSOs added 1 million subs in that period, while the telcos lost 50,000.

“The top cable and Telco broadband providers in the US cumulatively now account for nearly 90.5 million subscribers in the US, yet the industry added more broadband subscribers in 2015 than in any year since 2010,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG, said in a statement. “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% of these net adds.”