Cable Companies Now are ISPs First, AT&T Might Soon be a Video Provider First
Leichtman Research Group (LRG) says the largest U.S. cable TV operators now have more high speed access customers than they do video customers, according to Bruce Leichtman, LRG president and principal analyst.
And, sometime in 2015, it is possible AT&T will have more fixed network video subscribers than high speed access or voice customers, if its acquisition of DirecTV is approved.
Those two potential facts speak volumes about the new shape of U.S. fixed network communications markets.
The largest U.S. cable TV companies now arguably are Internet service providers with substantial video and voice operations, while AT&T’s fixed networks segment might become a business driven by video entertainment, while it continues to have significant high speed access and voice operations.
In the second quarter of 2014, 17 of the largest cable and telephone providers in the United States, representing about 93 percent of customers in the whole market, acquired nearly 385,000 net additional high-speed Internet subscribers.
Significantly, the top cable companies accounted for 99 percent of the net broadband additions for the quarter, compared to the top telephone companies.
These top broadband providers now account for over 85.9 million subscribers -- with top cable companies having nearly 50.7 million broadband subscribers, and top telephone companies having over 35.2 million subscribers.
For the top cable providers (not including overbuilder WOW), the number of broadband subscribers exceeded the number of cable TV subscribers for the first time ever.
The top cable TV providers had 49,915,000 broadband subscribers at the end of the second quarter of 2014, compared to about 49,910,000 cable TV subscribers.
The top telephone companies added only about 2,000 net broadband subscribers in the second quarter of 2014. In large part, that is because Verizon and AT&T are losing digital subscriber line customers about as fast as they are adding U-verse or FiOS fiber access customers.
AT&T and Verizon added 627,000 FiOS or U-verse subscribers in the second quarter of 2014, with a net loss of 636,000 DSL subscribers,
Subscribers at End
of 2Q 2014
Net Adds in
Other Major Private Cable Companies***
Total Top Cable
Total Top Telephone Companies
Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.