As pay-TV operators continue to hemorrhage video subscribers to cord-cutting and over-the-top alternatives, a silver lining has emerged: high-speed Internet. Linear TV providers have become broadband gatekeepers enabling households to access the World Wide Web while offering a fiscal lifeline to an industry in flux.
New data from Leichtman Research Group found that the largest cable and wireline phone providers in the U.S. — representing about 96% of the market — acquired about 1.53 million net additional broadband Internet subscribers in 3Q 2020, compared with a pro forma gain of about 615,000 subs in 3Q 2019.
These top broadband providers now account for about 104.9 million subscribers, with top cable companies having about 72 million broadband subs, and top wireline phone companies having about 32.9 million subs.
Findings for the quarter include:
- Overall, broadband additions in 3Q 2020 were about 915,000 more than in 3Q 2019.
- Broadband additions in 3Q 2020 were the most in any quarter since 1Q 2009.
- The top cable companies added about 1,320,000 subscribers in 3Q 2020 — compared with a net gain of about 830,000 subscribers in 3Q 2019.
- Cable broadband had over one million net adds for the third consecutive quarter — the first time since 3Q 2006 to 1Q 2007.
- Comcast’s 633,000 net adds in 3Q 2020 were more than in any quarter in the past 15 years.
- The top wireline phone companies added about 210,000 subscribers in 3Q 2020 – compared to a net loss of about 220,000 subscribers in 3Q 2019
“With the continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic, there were more quarterly net broadband additions in 3Q 2020 than in any quarter in over eleven years,” analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a statement. “Over the past year, there were about 4.55 million net broadband adds, compared with about 2.55 million net broadband adds over the prior year. This marks the most broadband net adds in a year since 3Q 2008 to 2Q 2009.”
|Broadband Providers||Subscribers at end of 3Q 2020||Net Adds in 3Q 2020|
|Total Top Cable||71.97 million||1.31 million|
|Wireline Phone Companies|
|Total Top Telco||32.94 million||210,608|
|Total Top Broadband||104.92 million||1.53 million|