Cable Companies/MSOs Continue to Dominate U.S. Broadband Access with 64% Market Share

by Karl Bode  edited by Alan J Weissberger

The nation’s biggest cable companies continue to dominate traditional telcos when it comes to quarterly broadband additions. According to the latest data by Leichtman Research, the nation’s top cable operators added 845,000 subscribers during the first quarter, while the nation’s telcos lost 45,000 broadband subscribers during the quarter. That’s largely thanks to many phone companies (Verizon, Frontier, Windstream, CenturyLink) refusal to upgrade aging DSL users at any real scale, resulting in a slow but steady exodus as users flee to cable to obtain the FCC’s definition of broadband (25 Mbps).

According to Leichtman, that’s eight straight quarters during which the nation’s telcos have lost subscribers.

Leichtman’s findings for the quarter include:

  • Overall, broadband additions in 1Q 2018 were 83% of the 965,000 net adds in 1Q 2017
  • The top cable companies added about 845,000 subscribers in 1Q 2018 – 84% of the net adds for the top cable companies in 1Q 2017
  • The top telephone companies lost about 45,000 subscribers in 1Q 2018 – similar to the net losses in 1Q 2017
    • Telcos have had combined net broadband losses in each of the past eight quarters
  • At the end 1Q 2018, cable had a 64% market share vs. 36% for Telcos – compared to 61% for cable vs. 39% for Telcos at the end of 1Q 2016

“With the addition of 800,000 subscribers in the quarter, top broadband providers in the U.S. cumulatively now account for about 96.5 million subscribers,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc.  “Over the past year, there were about 1,950,000 net broadband adds, compared to about 2,550,000 net adds over the prior year.”

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At the end of the first quarter, cable had a 64% market share versus 36% for Telcos — compared to 61% for cable versus 39% for Telcos at the end of 2016. This expanding monopoly not only reduces the incentive on cable to to improve historically-terrible customer service, but it also gives them the green light to abuse these captive markets via a bevy of price hikes — especially arbitrary and unnecessary usage caps and overage fees.

Overall, broadband growth continues to slow, which is driving many of these companies into additional markets (like online advertising).

References:

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Interesting reader comment:

Telcos Refusal to upgrade period.

quote:


That’s largely thanks to many phone companies (Verizon, Frontier, Windstream, CenturyLink) refusal to upgrade aging DSL users at any real scale, resulting in a slow but steady exodus as users flee to cable to obtain the


The mess the US is in goes back to the break up ATT, and possibly further.

The RBOC’s and other ILEC were in the cat bird seat, and BLEW IT! They could have taken their already wired to practically every one position and just blown the MSO’s out of the water in the early days of @Home etc..

INSTEAD they chose to just let the MSO’s develop things, and DO NOTHING In most cases to some DSL, and some fiber. When VZ started to get its act togehter and try to right the ship, Gordon Gecko’s just backed up and ran into the iceberg again!

I honestly believe had ISDN been pushed harder by ATT in the 70’s we would see ubiquitous HSD to everyone via ATT. WHY Well starting with a DIGITAL LINE to the premises in the 70’s… then upgrade from there…128K in the 70’s compared to what most were getting 110 or 300 or even if you were lucky 1200 baud! 2400 baud was not that old into the early 80’s! I had a 2400 baud for QLink..

The ILEC/RBOC’s blew their chance, they had everything there and all they had to do was continue to ugprade. They chose not to! Now we have this mess.

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