The 18 largest cable and telephone providers of broadband services in the U.S. acquired about 635,000 net additional high-speed Internet subscribers in the third quarter of 2011, according to a new report from Leichtman Research Group.
These top broadband providers, collectively controlling about 93% of the market, now count 77.8 million
subscribers -- cable companies have 43.6 million broadband subscribers, while telephone companies tally 34.2 million.
Many of the new subs were captured by cable operators, which added more than 525,000 customers, about 83% of the net adds for the third quarter.
Comcast remains the largest provider with 17.8 million, followed by AT&T with 16.5 million, Time Warner Cable at 10.2 million, Verizon Communications at 8.6 million and CenturyLink at 5.5 million.
Growth, however, slowed versus the third quarter of 2010, particularly among telcos, which added about 38% of the subscribers they attracted last year. Cable's net adds were close to last year's pace, adding about 98% as many subs.
Overall broadband additions in the third quarter of 2011 amounted to 77% of those in the third quarter of 2010.
"Following the traditionally weak second quarter, the broadband market rebounded with over 635,000 net additional broadband customers in 3Q 2011," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG. "Over the first three quarters of 2011, the top broadband providers added nearly 2.3 million subscribers, compared to 2.6 million subscribers added in the first three quarters of 2010."
The top cable broadband providers continued to outpace telcos, maintaining a 56% share of the overall market, with nearly a 9.5 million subscriber advantage over the top telephone companies -- compared with 8.2 million a year ago.
Comcast added 261,000 broadband subscribers in the quarter -- 41% of the total for the top providers.
Meanwhile, AT&T and Verizon added 642,000 fiber subscribers in the quarter (via U-verse and FiOS), while having a net loss of 619,000 DSL subscribers.