Top Cable Operators Dominate Broadband in 2016

They combine to add 3.3 million broadband subs as telcos lose 600,000, LRG says
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The nation’s largest cable operators again took the lion’s share of broadband subscriber adds in 2016, according to a new analysis from Leichtman Research Group.

The top MSOs added 3.3 million broadband subs in 2016, the most net adds in any year since 2007, while the top telcos lost about 600,000 high-speed Internet customers last year, widened from a loss of 185,000 in 2015, LRG said.

Cable’s dominance continues to deepen, as the top MSOs netted 122% of broadband adds in 2016, versus 106% in 2015, and 89% in 2014.

From a broader view, the top 14 cable and telco providers in the U.S., representing 95% of the market, added 2.7 million net additional high-speed Internet subs in 2016, down from 3.1 million net adds in 2015, LRG said.

Those ISPs account for about 92.9 million subs, with top MSOs having 58.4 million of that total, compared to 34.5 million among the top telcos.  

Among individual companies, Comcast added 1.37 million broadband subs in 2016, and Charter Communications added 1.6 million.

In Q4 2016, the top ISPs measured by LRG added 735,000 subs, compared to 1.03 million in the year-ago period. The top MSOs added 855,000 in the period, as the telcos shed about 120,000.

Among telcos, Frontier Communications lost the most broadband subs in 2016 (243,000), followed by AT&T (down 173,000) and  CenturyLink (down 103,000), per LRG’s estimates. Cincinnati Bell was a bright spot in the group, as it added 15,800 broadband subs in 2016.

 “The top cable and Telco broadband providers in the US cumulatively now account for nearly 92.9 million subscribers in the US, and the industry continues to grow,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. 

“The top broadband providers added nearly 5.8 million net broadband subscribers over the past two years, with cable companies accounting for about 6.6 million net adds,” Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG, said in a statement.