Leichtman: Broadband Providers Added 3.5 Million Subs in 2023

The nation’s largest cable, satellite and telecom providers — representing about 96% of the market — added more than 3.5 million high-speed internet subscribers in 2023, on par with the net gain of broadband subs in 2022, according to new data from Leichtman Research.

The broadband providers account for about 114.7 million subscribers, with cable TV operators representing 76.1 million broadband subs, telecoms more than 30.7 million subs, and fixed wireless services 7.8 million subs.

Cable operators lost about 65,000 subs in 2023, compared to about 530,000 net adds in 2022. Phone companies lost about 80,000 broadband subs compared to about 180,000 net losses in 2022.

Wireline telecoms added almost 2 million net subs via fiber, offset by about 2.05 million non-fiber net losses. Fixed wireless/5G home internet services from T-Mobile and Verizon added about 3.7 million broadband subs compared to about 3.2 million net adds in 2022.

Fixed wireless services accounted for 104% of the total broadband additions, compared to 90% of the net adds in 2022, and 20% of the net adds in 2021

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Over the past four years, top providers added about 15.9 million broadband subscribers, compared to about 10.2 million net broadband adds in the prior four (pre-pandemic) years,” analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a statement.

Broadband Providers Subscribers at end of 2023 Net Adds in 2023
Cable Companies    
Comcast 32.25 million (66,000)
Charter 30.6 million 155,000
Altice 4.5 million (114,100)
Cable One 1.05 million (1,100)
Breezeline 663,286 (29,184)
Other major private companies 7 million (8,000)
Total Top Cable 76.1 million (63,384)
Wireline Phone Companies    
AT&T 15.3 million (98,000)
Verizon 7.7 million 166,000
Frontier^ 2.9 million 75,000
Lumen 2.8 million (279,000)
Windstream** 1.2 million 0
TDS 539,800 29,800
Consolidated 393,219 25,761
Total Top Wireline Phone 30.7 million (80,439)
Fixed Wireless Services    
T-Mobile 4.8 million 2.13 million
Verizon^ 3 million 1.54 million
Total Top Fixed Wireless 7.8 million 3.7 million
Total Top Broadband 114.7 million 3.5 million
Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group

Comcast Lost 389,000 Q4 Video Subs, Upped Broadband Sub Loss to 34,000

Comcast’s legacy cable pay-TV business saw 389,000 subscribers drop video service in the fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31, 2023. While the sub loss was lower than the 440,000 subs lost in the previous-year period, the loss continues a trend of more than 2 million subs annually dropping pay-TV service.

Comcast ended the year with 14.1 million pay-TV subscribers, down from 16.14 million subs at the end of 2022, and 18.17 million subs at the end of 2021.

The nation’s last broadband provider reported a net loss of 34,000 high-speed internet subscribers, up from a loss of 23,000 subs in the previous-year period. For the fiscal year, Comcast lost 66,000 broadband subs, compared with a gain of 243,000 subs in 2022.

Comcast ended 2023 with 32.25 million high-speed internet subs, down from 32.31 million at the end of 2022.

Regardless of the sub losses, Comcast president Michael Cavanagh said the company’s legacy cable business, in addition to Xfinity streaming platforms and broadband reach remain a competitive advantage for both original and third-party licensed content.

“We’ve seen a lot of collaboration with players that want to reach the kind of consumers we have through broadband and video,” Cavanagh said.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Parks Associates: The Whole Country’s Gone Broadband (Well, Almost)

A whopping 92% of U.S. households now have broadband internet access at home, according to a new Parks Associates report.

This bodes well for the future as streaming, as well as for smart home devices, particularly in the realm of security. 

“Consumers’ lives practically revolve around the internet and connected devices, and in all residence types, safety leads smart home product use cases,” said Mindi Sue Sternblitz-Rubenstein, VP of marketing at Parks Associates. “Many consumers are also interested in convenience and automation and rate valuable benefits of smart home devices around monitoring, notifications, automation, and remote controls.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Parks Associates data shows that 42% of U.S. internet households own at least one smart home device, 66% own a smart TV, 20% own a video doorbell, and 17% own a smart thermostat.

According to Parks, there has been steady growth in smart home and security adoption over the years as U.S. internet households accumulate more connected devices through an increasingly diverse list of channels, from retail to service bundles to dealers/installers.

The research firm will host the 18th annual Connections Summit: Performance and Profits: Smart Home Strategies at CES in Las Vegas on Jan. 9. The day-long event, which starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m., will be held at the Venetian. The Summit features the firm’s latest research on the connected home, along with insights from leading technology and service companies.

Comcast Loses Nearly 500,000 Q3 Pay-TV Subs as Broadband Sub Losses Continue

Comcast Oct. 26 reported a loss of 490,000 cable television subscribers in the third quarter ended Sept. 30. The nation’s largest cable operator lost 561,000 subscribers in the previous-year period. Comcast ended the quarter with 14.495 million cable subscribers, down more than 2 million subs from the prior-year period.

The cable subscriber losses reflect ongoing secular changes in home entertainment, which continue to see consumers dropping linear pay-TV service for alternative digital distribution channels.

Meanwhile, Comcast’s ability to offset cable TV sub losses with high-speed internet subscriber gains continues to lose steam.

The nation’s largest internet service provider (ISP) saw a loss of 18,000 broadband subs in the quarter, compared with a gain of 19,000 subs in the previous-year period. Comcast ended the quarter with 32.28 million broadband subs, which includes 2.5 million business customers. That is down 55,000 subs from the same fiscal period last year.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Verizon Loses 78,000 Q3 Fios TV Consumer Subs, Adds 69,000 Broadband Subs

Verizon Oct. 24 reported a decline of 78,000 Fios TV household subscribers in the third quarter, ended Sept. 30. Through nine months of the fiscal year, Fios TV has lost 221,000 subs, compared with a loss of 259,000 subs in the prior-year period. The telecom ended the period with slightly more than 3 million pay-TV subscribers, down from more than 3.3 million subs in the previous-year period.

Verizon ended the quarter with 63,000 business Fios TV connections, down from 69,000 connections last year.

At the same time, Verizon added 69,000 Fios broadband subs, up from a gain of 59,000 high-speed internet subs in the prior year period. Through nine months of the fiscal year, Verizon has added 183,000 household broadband subs, up from 143,000 net additions in the prior-year period. The telecom ended the quarter with 6.92 million broadband homes, compared with 6.68 million subs during the previous-year period.

When including wireline and fixed wireless access (FWA) broadband, Verizon ended the fiscal period with almost 8.8 million consumer broadband subscribers, compared with 7.6 million subs in the prior-year period.

Verizon added almost 1.5 million high-speed internet business subscribers in the quarter, up from 913,000 business additions in the prior-year period.

A Divided FCC Votes to Start Proceeding on Re-Establishing Obama-Era Net Neutrality Guidelines

The Federal Communications Commission Oct. 19, in a 3-2 vote along political lines, agreed to launch a new proceeding on restoring open internet protections for consumers and businesses —  first enacted during the Bush/Obama Administrations, and subsequently scuttled during the Trump Administration.

The federal government will seek comment on proposals to ensure broadband services have effective oversight. If the proposals are adopted after the public comment period and review of that record, the FCC would once again be permitted to regulate internet access and competition among internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T, among others, protect broadband networks from national security threats, and address public safety needs like internet outages.

The “notice of proposed rulemaking” seeks comment on classifying fixed and mobile broadband internet service as an essential “telecommunications” service under Title II of the Communications Act. The proposal also seeks to restore clear, nationwide open internet rules that would prevent ISPs from blocking legal content, throttling speeds, and creating fast lanes that favor those who can pay for access.

“The pandemic made it crystal clear that broadband is no longer nice-to-have, it’s need-to have for everyone, everywhere,” Jessica Rosenworcel, who was named FCC Chairwoman by President Biden, said in a statement. “It is not a luxury. It is a necessity. It is essential infrastructure for modern life. No one without it has a fair shot at 21st century success. We need broadband to reach 100% of us — and we need it fast, open, and fair.”

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, who voted against restoring net neutrality guidelines, contends the internet did not implode after the FCC in 2017 during the Trump Administration voted (along party lines) to overturn net neutrality.

“The decision to return the internet to the same successful and bipartisan regulatory framework under which it thrived for decades, broadband speeds in the U.S. have increased, prices are down, competition has intensified, and record-breaking new broadband builds have brought millions of Americans across the digital divide,” Carr wrote in a release.

In reality, internet service costs have increased significantly, upwards of 167% in the past 10 years. A 2023 Consumer Reports report found that the median cost of high-speed internet service is $74.99 per month. About half of the households were paying between $60 and $90 per month for broadband — with pricing often driven by consumer zip codes and lack of local competition. High-speed internet cost about $28 a month in 2013.

Separately, the FCC contends that designating the internet as a telecommunications service will safeguard the nation’s broadband network against domestic and foreign security threats.

Without Title II jurisdiction, the government cannot issue national security authority to high-speed internet, or broadband. Restoring broadband as a telecommunications service would empower the FCC to use its Section 214 authority against national security threats to the nation’s broadband networks.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

No federal agency can monitor or help with broadband outages that threaten jobs, education, health, and safety without Title II authorization, according to the FCC. While the agency can address phone service outages following natural disasters and work to ensure the resiliency of those networks before disasters strike, the FCC lacks authority over broadband networks, which can leave communities across the country without recourse when the internet service fails, according to the agency.

Research: 840,000 Consumers Added Broadband in the Second Quarter

After a brief decline, the largest cable and wireless telecom services in the U.S. — representing about 96% of the market — added about 840,000 net additional high-speed internet (broadband) subscribers in the second quarter (ended June 30), compared with a pro forma gain of about 700,000 subscribers in the previous-year period, according to new data from Leichtman Research Group.

These top broadband providers now account for over 112.9 million subscribers, with top cable companies having about 76.2 million broadband subscribers, top wireline phone companies having about 30.7 million subscribers, and top fixed wireless services having about 5.9 million subscribers.

Leichtman found that overall, broadband additions in 2Q 2023 were 120% of those in 2Q 2022. The top cable companies added about 10,000 subscribers in 2Q 2023 — compared with a loss of about 60,000 in 2Q 2022.

The top wireline phone companies lost about 60,000 total broadband subscribers in 2Q 2023 — similar to about 60,000 net losses in 2Q 2022. Wireline Telcos had about 450,000 net adds via fiber in 2Q 2023, and about 510,000 non-fiber net losses.

Fixed wireless/5G home Internet services from T-Mobile and Verizon added about 890,000 subscribers in 2Q — compared to 815,000 net adds in 2Q 2022.

“Fixed wireless services have acquired more than 800,000 net [subs] in each of the past five quarters, accounting for about 4.45 million net adds in that period,” said analyst Bruce Leichtman.

Broadband Providers Subscribers at end of 2Q 2023 Net Adds in 2Q 2023
Cable Companies    
Comcast 32,305,000 (19,000)
Charter 30,586,000 77,000
Altice 4,576,100 (36,600)
Cable One 1,057,900 (5,100)
Breezeline 680,785 (6,734)
Other major private companies 7,035,000 0
Total Top Cable 76,240,785 9,566
Wireline Phone Companies    
AT&T 15,304,000 (41,000)
Verizon 7,562,000 34,000
Lumen 2,909,000 (72,000)
Frontier 2,865,000 2,000
Windstream^ 1,175,000 0
TDS 523,600 8,200
Consolidated 376,829 6,967
Total Top Wireline Phone 30,715,429 (61,833)
Fixed Wireless Services    
T-Mobile 3,678,000 509,000
Verizon 2,260,000 384,000
Total Top Fixed Wireless 5,938,000 893,000
Total Top Broadband 112,894,214 840,733

Comcast Posts 543,000 Q2 Pay-TV Sub Loss as Offsetting Broadband Customer Gains Disappear

Comcast Cable reported a loss of 20,000 residential broadband subscribers in the second quarter (ended June 30), compared to a loss of 10,000 high-speed internet subs in the same period a year ago. The company ended the quarter with 29.8 million high-speed residential customers, the largest ISP provider in the country.

Comcast has always relied on broadband — the lifeline to streaming and digital distribution — to justify ongoing secular declines in linear television and pay-TV. That trend has slowly come to an end over the past several quarters.

While the company added 3,000 broadband subs in the first quarter (ended March 31), that paled in comparison to the 253,000 net additions in Q1 2022.

Comcast president Mike Cavanagh would rather focus on the 4.5% increase in average revenue per broadband subscriber, which helped drive broadband revenue up 4.4% to $6.37 billion.

“We’re the largest broadband provider … and we can effectively compete in wireless with a strong value-proposition to customers,” Cavanagh said on the fiscal call, adding that broadband features that include cloud-based X1 and Flex platforms.

“[This is] how we have been able to achieve near record levels of low churn, and grow ARPU consistently quarter after quarter,” he said.

Meanwhile, the nation’s No. 1 cable TV operator continues to hemorrhage legacy pay-TV subscribers — falling below 15 million subs for the first time. Comcast saw Q2 subscriber losses increase 4% to 543,000 from a loss of 521,000 subs in the prior-year period. The company ended the period with 14.98 million subs, down from 17.14 million subs last year, which represented a subscriber loss of more than 2 million over the past 12 months.

Leichtman: First-Quarter Broadband Subscriber Growth Cooled to Less Than 1 Million

The nation’s top high-speed internet providers added a combined 960,000 broadband subscribers in the first quarter ended March 31, the lifeline to accessing over-the-top video. That was down from a broadband sub gain of 1.08 million subs in the previous-year period, according to new data from Leichtman Research Group.

The top broadband providers now account for more than 112 million subs, with cable companies having about 76.2 million broadband subs, wireline phone providers having about 30.8 million subs, and fixed wireless services having about 5 million subs.

Findings for the quarter include:

Overall, broadband additions in Q1 2023 were 89% of those in Q1 2022. Cable companies added about 65,000 subscribers in Q1 2023 — compared to about 485,000 net adds in Q1 2022.

Wireline phone companies lost about 20,000 total broadband subs in Q1 2023 — compared to about 65,000 net adds in Q1 2022. Wireline Telcos had about 500,000 net adds via fiber in Q1 2023, and about 520,000 non-fiber net losses

Fixed wireless/5G home Internet services from T-Mobile and Verizon added about 915,000 subs in Q1 2023 — compared to 530,000 net adds in Q1 2022

“Top broadband providers added nearly 1 million subscribers in 1Q 2023, with fixed wireless services accounting for 95% of the quarterly net adds,” said Bruce Leichtman in a statement.  “Over the past year, fixed wireless services have accounted for 105% of the approximately 3,400,000 net broadband additions.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Broadband Providers Subscribers at end of 1Q 2023 Net Adds in 1Q 2023
Cable Companies    
Comcast 32,324,000 5,000
Charter 30,509,000 76,000
Altice 4,612,700 (19,300)
Cable One 1,063,000 2,600
Breezeline 689,903 (3,878)
Other major private companies 7,035,000 7,000
Total Top Cable 76,233,603 67,422
Wireline Phone Companies    
AT&T 15,345,000 (41,000)
Verizon 7,528,000 44,000
Lumen 2,981,000 (56,000)
Frontier 2,863,000 24,000
Windstream^ 1,175,000 0
TDS 515,400 5,400
Consolidated 369,862 2,404
Total Top Wireline Phone 30,777,262 (21,196)
Fixed Wireless Services    
T-Mobile 3,169,000 523,000
Verizon 1,866,000 393,000
Total Top Fixed Wireless 5,035,000 916,000
Total Top Broadband 112,045,865 962,226

Comcast Lost 2 Million Pay-TV Subscribers in 2022, Broadband Sub Growth Cools

Comcast’s legacy cable pay-TV business continued an industrywide trend, losing 2 million subscribers in 2022, up from a loss of 1.66 million subs in 2021. The company ended last year with 16.1 million pay-TV subs, which was down about 11% from 18.2 million subs at the end of 2021.

The pay-TV subscriber losses underscore consumers’ ongoing migration from linear TV to alternative video distribution such as Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu and Peacock, among others, and free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) platforms.

To help deliver streaming video to consumer households requires high-speed internet service, or broadband. Comcast remains the nation’s largest internet service provider, ending 2022 with more than 32.1 million broadband subscribers.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

At same time, that tally underscored a cooling off of broadband sub growth. The company actually lost 26,000 high-speed internet subs in the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2022). That compared with a gain of 212,000 broadband subs in the previous-year period. Comcast attributed the sub losses to the impact of Hurricane Ian in Florida last September.

For the fiscal year, Comcast added 250,000 broadband subs, down 81% from a gain of 1.33 million subs in 2021.

The decline in video subscribers helped lower Q4 programming expenses almost 6% in the quarter, partially offset by contractual rate increases. Programming expenses dipped 2.8% for the fiscal year.