U.S. Cable TV Companies Gain 83% of Net High Speed Access Customers

The largest U.S. cable TV companies accounted for 83 percent of net high speed access  additions in the third quarter of 2014, continuing a trend that has been in place for some time.

Of some 700,000 net new subscribers, cable TV companies added 580,000 net new customers, according to Leichtman Research Group.

The largest U.S.  telephone companies added about 120,000 net high speed access subscribers in the third quarter of 2014, a figure complicated by customers adding fiber connections and dropping all-copper digital subscriber line connections.  

Those figures are based on tracking of performance by the 17 largest U.S. cable TV and telephone companies that represent about 94 percent of all subscribers in the market.

Those suppliers now account for 86.6 million subscribers, with cable companies having over 51.2 million broadband subscribers, and top telephone companies having nearly 35.4 million subscribers.

The telco performance requires some explanation. Where copper facilities have not been upgraded with optical fiber (either “to the home” or “to the neighborhood”), cable providers arguably are taking share because the cable services offer faster speeds and roughly equivalent prices.

Where telcos offer upgraded service using fiber to neighborhood or fiber to home, DSL losses tend to be balanced by equivalent gains in fiber-enabled high speed access. Also, the largest telcos are adding net subscribers, while smaller telcos generally are losing customers.

Also, in some areas, telcos might have made deliberate decisions to lose share rather than upgrade networks. That might be the case either because the expected return on invested capital is higher if investment goes to mobile facilities, or because the actual business case for an upgrade provides a negative or very-low financial return.

Over the past year, there were about 2,930,000 net broadband adds, compared to about 2,540,000 over the prior year, and 2,925,000 two years ago, Leichtman Research Group says.

Broadband Internet
Subscribers at End
of 3Q 2014
Net Adds in
3Q 2014
Cable Companies


Comcast
21,586,000
315,000
Time Warner
12,073,000
108,000
Charter
4,956,000
106,000
Cablevision
2,756,000
(23,000)
Suddenlink
1,135,500
32,200
Mediacom
997,000
10,000
WOW (WideOpenWest)*
729,700
-
Cable ONE
486,142
3,417
Other Major Private Cable Companies**
6,505,000
30,000
Total Top Cable
51,224,342
581,617



Telephone Companies


AT&T
16,486,000
38,000
Verizon
9,146,000
69,000
CenturyLink
6,063,000
8,000
Frontier^
1,922,000
21,500
Windstream
1,142,000
(11,800)
FairPoint
329,494
(3,927)
Cincinnati Bell
270,500
200
Total Top Telephone Companies
35,358,994
120,973



Total Broadband
85,583,336
702,590

Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.

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