Cable Ops Added 980,000 Broadband Subs In Q1: Study

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Cable operators garnered 75% of net broadband subscriber additions in the first quarter -- adding 980,000 in the period versus 320,000 for telco competitors -- although Q2 gains will probably be less than half that, according to a study by Leichtman Research Group.

All told, the 17 largest cable and telephone providers in the U.S., which represent about 93% of the market, acquired 1.3 million net additional high-speed Internet subscribers in the first quarter of 2012, LRG found.

Cable's Q1 2012 net adds were 15% higher than a year earlier, while telco broadband adds were down 25% (from 425,000 in the first quarter of 2011). Comcast added 439,000 broadband subscribers in the first quarter of 2012, the biggest quarterly gain for the MSO since the first quarter of 2008.

"Net broadband additions in 1Q 2012 were about 520,000 more than in 4Q 2011, and the most since the first quarter of 2010," LRG president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman said in announcing the study. "Yet, given the mature status of the broadband industry, and traditional seasonality, it is likely that net adds in 2Q 2012 will be less than half of what they were in 1Q 2012."

The largest 11 cable operators have a 57% share of the overall broadband market, with about 45.3 million subscribers -- 10.7 million more than the top eight telephone companies.