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.
Subscribers at End
of 3Q 2014
Net Adds in
Other Major Private Cable Companies**
Total Top Cable
Total Top Telephone Companies
Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.