U.S. broadband subscriber growth slowed in 1Q-2024 after net adds in 2023

The pace of U.S. broadband subscriber growth slowed considerably in the first quarter of 2024 as fiber, fixed wireless access (FWA) and cable broadband service providers collectively turned in results that were worse than what they posted in the year-ago period.

Total industry net additions, including or excluding FWA and geosynchronous (GEO) satellite broadband providers, decelerated noticeably in Q1 2024. The total market’s growth rate decreased to just 2.3% year-over-year, the slowest since the COVID-19 pandemic, analysts at MoffettNathanson estimated in its latest broadband industry trends report (paid subscription required). When FWA and GEO satellite categories were excluded, the growth rate was much worse: -0.7%.

The overall number of  U.S. broadband market subscribers decelerated by 299,000 net adds versus the year-ago quarter.  “That was the most abrupt since Q2 2022,” said MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett.  “The bottom line is that penetration of home broadband stalled, and perhaps even declined in the quarter, particularly if one adjusts for the growth in homes passed in rural areas under RDOF [Rural Digital Opportunity Fund] subsidies and unsubsidized edgeouts,” Moffett wrote.

Here’s a breakdown of U.S. broadband subscribers by access type:

  • Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) providers added 879,000 subs in Q1 2024, down from a gain of 925,000 in the year-ago period.
  • Fiber net adds also slowed – from 487,000 in Q1 2024 versus a gain of 517,000 in the year-ago quarter.
  • DSL losses of 560,000 in Q1 were similar to a year-ago loss of 571,000.
  • MSO/cable network operators shed 169,000 broadband subs in Q1, much worse than a year-ago gain of about 71,000 subs.

“The culprit for cable’s weaker broadband net additions was a slower market growth rate,” though lower new household formation and cessation of ACP enrollments in the quarter also played a role, Moffett noted.

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According to Statista, the total number of broadband subscribers in the U.S. stood at 114.7 million at the end of 2023,  This was an increase of over four million subscribers compared to the previous year.

Source: Statista

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In March 2024, Leitman Research found that the largest cable and wireline phone providers and fixed wireless services in the U.S. – representing about 96% of the market – acquired about 3,520,000 net additional broadband Internet subscribers in 2023, similar to a pro forma gain of 3,530,000 subscribers in 2022.

Leitman Research findings for 2023:

  • The top cable companies lost about 65,000 subscribers in 2023 – compared to about 530,000 net adds in 2022
  • The top wireline phone companies lost about 80,000 total broadband subscribers in 2023 – compared to about 180,000 net losses in 2022
    • Wireline Telcos had about 1.97 million net adds via fiber in 2023, offset by about 2.05 million non-fiber net losses
  • Fixed wireless/5G home Internet services from T-Mobile and Verizon added about 3,665,000 subscribers in 2023 – compared to about 3,185,000 net adds in 2022
    • Fixed wireless services accounted for 104% of the total net broadband additions in 2023, compared to 90% of the net adds in 2022, and 20% of the net adds in 2021

“Top broadband providers added about 3.5 million subscribers in 2023, similar to the number of broadband adds in 2022,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc.  “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.”

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References:

https://www.lightreading.com/broadband/us-broadband-subscriber-pace-slows-across-the-board

https://www.statista.com/statistics/217938/number-of-us-broadband-internet-subscribers/

About 3,500,000 Added Broadband From Top Providers in 2023

Dell’Oro: Broadband access equipment sales to increase in 2025 led by XGS-PON deployments

Fiber and Fixed Wireless Access are the fastest growing fixed broadband technologies in the OECD

Verizon’s 2023 broadband net additions led by FWA at 375K

Charter Communications: surprise drop in broadband subs, homes passed increased, HFC network upgrade delayed to 2026

Altice USA transition to fiber access; MoffettNathanson analysis of low population growth on cablecos broadband growth

Dell’Oro: Broadband access equipment sales to increase in 2025 led by XGS-PON deployments

Dell’Oro Group expects broadband access equipment sales to decline by 1% in 2024 versus 2023, with the first half of 2024 seeing continued weakness followed by a surge in spending in the second half of the year. The first half of 2024 will continue to see some of the inventory corrections that marked a tough 2023 that saw a spending decline of 8% to 10%, according to Dell’Oro VP Jeff Heynen.

“Although the inventory corrections seen in 2023 will continue through the first half of 2024, the second half of the year is expected to be the turning point towards renewed growth,” said Jeff Heynen, Vice President at Dell’Oro Group. “Service providers still have the same goals of increasing their fiber footprint, increasing the bandwidth they can offer their customers, and improving the reliability of their broadband services through the distribution of intelligence closer to subscribers,” added Heynen.

Additional highlights from the Broadband Access & Home Networking 5-Year January 2024 Forecast Report:

  • PON equipment revenue is expected to grow from $10.8 B in 2023 to $11.8 B in 2028, driven largely by XGS-PON deployments in North America, EMEA, and CALA and early 50 Gbps deployments in China.
  • Revenue for Cable Distributed Access Equipment (Virtual CCAP, Remote PHY Devices, Remote MAC/PHY Devices, and Remote OLTs) is expected to reach $1.3 B by 2028, as operators continue their DOCSIS 4.0 and early fiber deployments.
  • Revenue for Fixed Wireless CPE is expected to reach $2.5 B by 2028, led by shipments of 5G sub-6GHz and a growing number of 5G Millimeter Wave units.
  • Revenue for Wi-Fi 7 residential routers and broadband CPE with WLAN will reach $9.3B by 2028, as the technology is rapidly adopted by consumers and service providers alike.

Source: Dell’Oro Group

About the Report:

The Dell’Oro Group Broadband Access & Home Networking 5-Year Forecast Report provides a complete overview of the Broadband Access market with tables covering manufacturers’ revenue, average selling prices, and port/unit shipments for PON, Cable, Fixed Wireless, and DSL equipment. Covered equipment includes Converged Cable Access Platforms (CCAP), Distributed Access Architectures (DAA), DSL Access Multiplexers (DSLAMs), PON Optical Line Terminals (OLTs), Customer Premises Equipment ([CPE] for Cable, DSL, PON, Fixed Wireless), along with Residential WLAN Equipment, including Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 Gateways and Routers. For more information about the report, please contact [email protected].

References:

Broadband Equipment Spending Expected to Pick Up 2nd Half of 2024, According to Dell’Oro Group – Dell’Oro Group (delloro.com)

Calix and Corning Weigh In: When Will Broadband Wireline Spending Increase?

Dell’Oro: Broadband network equipment spending to drop again in 2024 to ~$16.5 B

Dell’Oro: Broadband Equipment Spending to exceed $120B from 2022 to 2027

Dell’Oro: XGS, 25G, and Early 50G PON Rollouts to Fuel Broadband Spending

Alaska Communications uses XGS-PON, FWA, DSL in ~5K homes including Fairbanks and North Pole

AT&T to deploy FTTP network based on XGS-PON in Amarillo, TX

Telefonica España to activate XGS-PON network in 2022; DELTA Fiber to follow in Netherlands

 

Leichtman Research Group: U.S. added 840,000 broadband subs in 2Q-2023

Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) found that the largest cable and wireline phone providers and fixed wireless services in the U.S. – representing about 96% of the market – acquired about 840,000 net additional broadband Internet subscribers in 2Q 2023, compared to a pro forma gain of about 700,000 subscribers in 2Q 2022.

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.

Findings for the quarter include:

  • 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 to 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 2023 – compared to 815,000 net adds in 2Q 2022

“Top broadband providers added about 840,000 subscribers in 2Q 2023, led by another strong quarter from fixed wireless,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc.  “Fixed wireless services have acquired over 800,000 net adds in each of the past five quarters, accounting for about 4.45 million net adds in that period.”

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
Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.

Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) specializes in research and analysis on broadband, media and entertainment industries. LRG combines ongoing consumer surveys with industry tracking and analysis, to provide companies with a richer understanding of current market conditions, and the potential impact and adoption of new products and services. For more information about LRG, please call (603) 397-5400 or visit www.LeichtmanResearch.com.

References:

BroadbandNow Research: Best & Worst States for Broadband Access

A recent study by BroadbandNow Research has assessed the best and worst states in the U.S. for broadband internet access in 2023. The study evaluated each state and the District of Columbia based on various factors such as access to wired or fixed wireless broadband, access to low-priced broadband, median download speed, and median upload speed.

Key Findings:

  • Availability of low-priced broadband has increased across the U.S. There is now only 1 state with less than 20% of the population having access to a broadband plan for $60 per month or less (down from 25 states last year). Having said that, in only one state, Wyoming, more than half of residents have access to such a plan.
  • Latency (round trip time) is a measure of responsiveness–the time between when you click something and when you get a response–and it’s critical for a smooth internet experience, especially for real-time interactions such as gaming or video calls. There is a huge geographic disparity between states that do well in this metric, like New York or Washington with median round trip times less than 7.5 milliseconds, and states that do poorly, like Hawai’i and Massachusetts with median round trip times greater than 61 milliseconds.
  • Delaware is the best state for broadband internet, with 46.2% of its population having access to low-priced broadband and a median download speed of 96.1 Mbps. On the other hand, Alaska ranked at the bottom of the list, with only 20% of its population having access to affordable broadband and a median download speed of 58.5 Mbps.
  • We support changing the definition of broadband speeds from 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up to 100Mbps down and 25Mbps up, but we’re a long way away from widespread access to those speeds. Nationally, only 39% of Americans are getting 100Mbps down, and only 25% are getting 25Mbps up.

Best and Worst States Map

According to the study, there is only one state, Nevada, with less than 20% of its population having access to a broadband plan for $60 per month or less. This is a significant drop from the 25 states that had such limited access last year.

In the Tri-State area, Illinois secured the 14th spot with 95.7% of its residents having access to wired or fixed wireless broadband. Additionally, 31.4% of the population had access to low-priced broadband. Illinois also boasted a median download speed of 85.3 Mbps, surpassing the national median.

Indiana ranked 23rd overall, with an impressive download speed of 85.7 Mbps. 31.4% of its population also had access to low-priced broadband. However, the state fell short in terms of overall broadband access, with only 92.8% of residents having access to wired or fixed wireless broadband.

Kentucky landed at the 36th spot, with a mere 25% of its population having access to affordable broadband. In an effort to improve access, Governor Andy Beshear, Senator Mitch McConnell, and other lawmakers secured over $1 billion in funding for broadband access in June, marking the largest public investment in high-speed internet in the state’s history.

References:

Best & Worst States for Broadband, 2023

GAO: U.S. Broadband Benchmark Speeds Too Slow; FCC Should Analyze Small Business Speed Needs

FCC proposes 100 Mbps download as U.S. minimum broadband speed

 

Dell’Oro: Broadband Equipment Spending to exceed $120B from 2022 to 2027

Dell’Oro Group predicts the broadband equipment market will surpass $120 billion in cumulative spending between 2022 and 2027. The market research firm says sales of PON equipment for fiber-to-the-home deployments, cable broadband access equipment, and fixed wireless CPE will show a 0.2% Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) from 2022 to 2027.  Service providers continue to expand their fiber and DOCSIS 3.1/4.0 networks, while also increasing the reliability and sustainability of their broadband access networks.

“After three consecutive years of tremendous broadband network expansions and upgrades, 2023 is expected to show a return to normalized levels of spending,” said Jeff Heynen, Vice President of Broadband Access and Home Networking research at Dell’Oro Group. “After 2023, spending is expected to increase through 2026 and 2027, driven by 25 Gbps and 50 Gbps PON, Fixed Wireless CPE, as well as DAA and DOCSIS 4.0 deployments.”

Labor markets are “still being challenged” and a number of fiber based network operators (AT&T, Altice USA, Frontier) have reduced their expansion plans and homes passed targets. “To close out 2022 we did see a significant uptake in equipment purchases, and what happened there was supply chains appeased. A lot of orders that had been on the books for a long time have been fulfilled.”

Network equipment vendors are working through that inventory they had built up while taking on “additional equipment purchases.

Additional highlights from the Broadband Access & Home Networking 5-Year July 2023 Forecast Report:

  • PON equipment revenue is expected to grow from $11.8 B in 2022 to $13.3 B in 2027, driven largely by XGS-PON deployments in North America, EMEA, and CALA.
  • Revenue for Cable Distributed Access Equipment (Virtual CCAP, Remote PHY Devices, Remote MACPHY Devices, and Remote OLTs) is expected to reach $1.6 B by 2027, as operators ramp their DOCSIS 4.0 and fiber deployments.
  • Revenue for Fixed Wireless CPE is expected to reach $2.7 B by 2027, led by shipments of 5G sub-6GHz and 5G Millimeter Wave units.
  • Revenue for Residential Wi-Fi Routers will surpass $5.2 B in 2027, owing to massive shipments of Wi-Fi 7 units.
Heynen thinks the 2023 slowdown will be “more acute” in North America than in other regions, given the subsidized broadband growth over the last few years. Not only is the industry seeing “the tail end of some of the RDOF [Rural Digital Opportunity Fund] projects,” but the process for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program is just beginning.

“Which isn’t going to float to manufacturers until you know, late 2024, really into 2025,” he said. “I think in the interim, XGS-PON in the European market is certainly going to catch up. We’re also seeing considerable growth in XGS-PON deployments now in China.”

In Dell’Oro’s five-year forecast published in January, Heynen expected fixed wireless subscriber growth, particularly in North America, would “start to moderate” beginning in 2024, due to factors like “capacity issues and fiber expansion.”

Heynen has increased his revenue predictions for the fixed wireless CPE market – which he previously tipped would hit $2.2 billion in five years – and now predicts subscriber growth to continue into 2025.

“Part of that is because of the net reduction in homes passed for fiber,” he said. “In the meantime, fixed wireless will be able to cover more ground while the operators who are building out fiber kind of extend their overall deployment plans.”

Further, operators like T-Mobile and Verizon “are seeing fixed wireless as a way to secure broadband subscribers away from cable operators. The U.S. market is really dynamic in terms of how services can be marketed.”

About the Report:

The Dell’Oro Group Broadband Access & Home Networking 5-Year Forecast Report provides a complete overview of the Broadband Access market with tables covering manufacturers’ revenue, average selling prices, and port/unit shipments for PON, Cable, Fixed Wireless, and DSL equipment. Covered equipment includes Converged Cable Access Platforms (CCAP), Distributed Access Architectures (DAA), DSL Access Multiplexers (DSLAMs), PON Optical Line Terminals (OLTs), Customer Premises Equipment ([CPE] for Cable, DSL, PON, Fixed Wireless), along with Residential WLAN Equipment, including Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 Gateways and Routers. For more information about the report, please contact [email protected].

About Dell’Oro Group:

Dell’Oro Group is a market research firm that specializes in strategic competitive analysis in the telecommunications, security, enterprise networks, data center infrastructure markets.  Our firm provides in-depth quantitative data and qualitative analysis to facilitate critical, fact-based business decisions.  For more information, contact Dell’Oro Group at +1.650.622.9400 or visit www.delloro.com.

References:

Despite 2023 Slowdown, Cumulative Broadband Equipment Spending Expected to Exceed $120 B Between 2022 and 2027, According to Dell’Oro Group

https://www.fiercetelecom.com/telecom/broadband-equipment-market-eclipse-120b-2027-delloro

Dell’Oro: XGS, 25G, and Early 50G PON Rollouts to Fuel Broadband Spending

Dell’Oro: Bright Future for Campus Network As A Service (NaaS) and Public Cloud Managed LAN

Dell’Oro: FWA revenues on track to advance 35% in 2022 led by North America

Dell’Oro: PONs boost Broadband Access; Total Telecom & Enterprise Network Equipment Markets

Dell’Oro: U.S. suppliers ~20% of global telecom equipment market; struggling in RAN business

Futuriom and Dell’Oro weigh in on SD-WAN and SASE market: single vendor solutions prevail

 

AT&T, Verizon and Comcast all lost fixed broadband subscribers in 2Q-2023

The three most dominant broadband wireline ISPs in the U.S. all lost wireline subscribers in Q2-2023.

1.   AT&T’s net total broadband access showed a loss of 35,000 subscribers in Q2-2023, which widened from a loss of -25,000 in the year-ago quarter. AT&T ended Q2 with 15.3 million broadband connections (including DSL), down 1.3% from 15.5 million a year earlier.

AT&T continued to add new fiber subscribers, but the pace of that growth slowed.  AT&T added 251,000 fiber subs in Q2, down from +316,000 in the year-ago quarter and down from +272,000 in the prior quarter.

AT&T ended the period with 7.73 million fiber subs. Fiber average revenue per user (ARPU) was $62.26, up from $57.64 in the year-ago period.

Click here for a larger version of this image. (Source: AT&T Q2 2023 earnings presentation)

Click here for a larger version of this image.
(Source: AT&T Q2 2023 earnings presentation)

AT&T added about 500,000 fiber locations during the quarter, ending Q2 with 20.2 million. CEO Stankey said AT&T remains on track to build fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) tech to 30 million locations by 2025.

AT&T’s average fiber penetration rate is hovering at 38%. “Everywhere we put fiber in the ground, we feel good about our ability to win with consumers,” Stankey said.

AT&T shed 286,000 non-fiber subscribers in the quarter, lowering that total to 5.95 million. AT&T also lost another 25,000 DSL subs in the quarter, ending the period with just 259,000.

Source: AT&T

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2.  While Verizon added 54K FiOS internet subscribers in 2Q-2023 (51K FiOS net adds from Consumer, 3K from Business customers), it had a net loss of 304K wireline broadband subs when the loss of DSL subscribers was factored in.

From Verizon’s 2Q-2023 earnings call presentation:

Source: Verizon

Remarkably, Verizon added a net 384K fixed wireless subscribers, an increase from 256,000 fixed wireless net additions in second-quarter 2022. Verizon now has nearly 2.3 million subscribers on its fixed wireless service.

Due to FWA growth, Verizon reported total broadband net additions of 418,000 in 2Q-2023.

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Comcast, the largest U.S. ISP, lost 20,000 residential broadband subscribers, lowering its total to 29.79 million. Comcast’s total broadband subscriber loss of 19,000 (including a gain of 1,000 business broadband customers), was better than the -74,000 expected by Wall Street analysts.

Comcast, which lost 10,000 residential broadband subs in the year-ago quarter, warned in April that it doesn’t expect to see much in the way of broadband subscriber growth gains in the near-term. The company also noted that it expected those numbers to be even lower in Q2 due to a slow housing move market paired with traditional “seasonality” driven by students and retirees returning for the summer.

Dave Watson, president and CEO of Comcast Cable, said on today’s earnings call that he expects Comcast to return to broadband subscriber growth “over time.” One way Comcast is pursuing subscriber growth is through network expansion and edge-outs that will total about 1 million locations in 2023. Comcast, which operates in 39 US states, also intends to participate in the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program, which recently announced state-by-state funding allocations.

Comcast has cited average revenue per user (ARPU) growth as the key metric of its broadband business.  And Comcast’s broadband ARPU grew 4.5% in the quarter, matching the ARPU growth rate it posted in the prior quarter.

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Here are the top 20 broadband wireline ISPs in the U.S.:

# Internet Service Provider Type States
1 Comcast Cable National
2 Charter Communications Cable National
3 AT&T Fiber National
4 Verizon Fiber Mid-Atlantic, Northeast
5 Cox Communications Cable National
6 Altice USA Cable/Fiber National
7 Lumen Technologies Fiber West, Florida
8 Frontier Communications Fiber National
9 Mediacom Communications Cable Midwest, Southeast
10 Astound Broadband Cable/Fiber National
11 Windstream Holdings Fiber South, Midwest, Northeast
12 Brightspeed Fiber Midwest, Southeast
13 Cable One Cable West, Midwest, South
14 Breezeline Cable/Fiber East Coast
15 WideOpenWest (WOW!) Cable/Fiber AL, FL, GA, MI, SC, TN
16 TDS Telecom Cable/Fiber National
17 Midco (Midcontinent Communications) Cable MN, ND, SD, WI, KS
18 Consolidated Communications Fiber National (22 states)
19 Google Fiber Fiber National (16 states)
20 Ziply Fiber Fiber WA, OR, ID, MT

Source:  https://dgtlinfra.com/top-internet-providers-us/

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References:

https://about.att.com/story/2023/q2-earnings.html

https://www.verizon.com/about/news/strong-wireless-service-revenue-growth-and-cash-flow-highlight-verizons-2q-results

https://www.lightreading.com/broadband/atandts-new-fwa-product-performing-well-but-being-used-selectively/d/d-id/785813?

https://www.lightreading.com/cable-tech/comcast-sheds-broadband-and-video-subs-amid-another-big-wireless-gain/d/d-id/785822?

 

SDFI: Denmark Achieves 94.5% Gigabit Broadband Internet Coverage

New data from the Broadband Mapping 2023 report by the Danish Agency for Data Supply and Efficiency (SDFI) reveals that 97.5% of homes and businesses in Denmark now have access to high-speed broadband internet access.

The latest report from the Styrelsen for Dataforsyning og Infrastruktur (SDFI) sheds light on Denmark’s regional broadband coverage rates. The Region North Jutland has almost reached a 100 percent coverage rate.

According to the report, the coverage rate in Northern Jutland stands at an impressive 98.9%. Central Jutland closely follows with 97.7% coverage, while Southern Denmark boasts a coverage rate of 98.3%t. Zealand, the country’s largest island, achieves a solid coverage rate of 98%.

Although the country has made progress in digital connectivity, according to SDFI, there are still regional disparities in coverage. The Capital Region of Hovedstaden lags behind the other regions with a coverage rate of 96.2% (compared to Northern Jutland with 98.9%). Further, 94.5% of all households in Denmark can access Gigabit speeds, an increase of 2.6 percentage points year-on-year.

The report highlights the ongoing efforts of telecommunications companies in deploying broadband across the country. According to SDFI, 97.5% of homes and businesses currently can access fast broadband with speeds of at least 100 Mbps download and 30 Mbps upload. Moreover, 94.5% of users have access to gigabit speeds, representing a 2.6 percent increase from last year.

The findings of the SDFI report demonstrate Denmark’s commitment to improving broadband infrastructure and connectivity nationwide. As the country continues to prioritize digital transformation, it will pave the way for a more connected and digitally empowered society.

References:

https://www.commsupdate.com/articles/2023/06/30/95-of-danish-households-covered-by-gigabit-speeds/

https://telecomtalk.info/denmark-achieves-945percent-gigabit-broadband-coverage-sdfi/727153/

https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/node/9828/printable/pdf

MoffettNathanson: 87.4% of available U.S. homes have broadband; Leichtman Research: 90% of U.S. homes have internet

When the FCC announced the November 18th release date for their long-awaited broadband mapping update, reflecting location-specific broadband availability as of June 2022, analysts at MoffettNathanson  thought it would contain information on how many of  U.S. homes have access to broadband and how many are too rural and are therefore unserved.  However, that FCC release didn’t offer the numbers they needed, and the market research fim didn’t
have the necessary information to calculate it themselves.

In the underlying FCC datasets, which are provided for public download, each location served by a given technology or provider is a separate entry. One location is equivalent to one street address. But many street addresses in the U.S. correspond to multiple living units, and the number of units per location is not publicly available (the location fabric used by the FCC was contracted to a third party, CostQuest Associates, and that fabric is provided only to the FCC, broadband providers, state/local government entities, and select other interested parties). With approximately 31% of residences in multifamily homes, according to a 2019 survey by the Census Bureau, the number of units per location was, as of the November 18th release, a crucial missing piece for any meaningful coverage analysis we could do on our own.

Principal Analyst Craig Moffett wrote:

The FCC’s new maps of broadband availability can tell us coverage for residential locations or business locations, but not the combined total. The companies we cover sometimes break out residential and commercial, but not always. [As an aside, about half of small businesses in the U.S. are actually operated out of peoples’ homes, but hopefully this, at least, doesn’t introduce further distortion, since we are presumably still seeing just one subscription for one location]. So we’ll do our best to make sure we’re matching numerator and denominator by specifying whether we’re looking at all locations or residential locations only.

The FCC’s coverage data also doesn’t distinguish between occupied and vacant units. For our calculation of penetration, we’d want to exclude most vacant units, since vacant units don’t need broadband. Excluding all vacant units likely understates the denominator, though; for example, some second homes (which are treated as vacant) may have year-round broadband subscriptions. The best we can do is assume the coverage of total units is the same as the coverage of occupied units, and that vacant units with broadband subscriptions are negligible.

The FCC does report service coverage for satellite and fixed wireless. But some of those FWA subscribers are in areas where there’s no access to wired broadband, while others are in areas where wired broadband is available. Naturally, the companies won’t tell us how many of each there are. So we’ll just have to leave them all out. We’ll focus just on the availability of wired broadband.

Editor’s Note:  The FCC broadband map for my address show a Licensed Fixed Wireless operator serves my condo. It’s California Internet with symmetrical 1G upstream/1G downstream.  Also, there are two Satellite providers – Hughes Network Systems, LLC 25M/3M and Space X 350M/40M.  Wired internet is available from AT&T and Comcast.

We’d really want to know how many DSL subscribers are in each of those different cohorts. But the
companies we cover don’t report how many of their DSL subscribers are in areas where there is
also a cable or fiber operator, and how many are in areas where DSL is the only option. The first
group is at risk. The second group is not. So, we’ll just have to include all DSL.

According to the FCC’s current estimates, wired broadband (defined as anything over 200 kbps downstream and 200 kbps upstream) was available to 93.7% of residential units in America as of June 30, 2022. Again, we don’t know the percentage of occupied housing units with wired broadband available, but let’s assume it’s the same. And we don’t know the number of residential units in the location fabric, so we’ll use the Census Bureau’s estimate of 128.1M occupied housing units in the U.S. Given these assumptions, we estimate wired broadband was available to around 120.0M occupied housing units as of June 30, 2022. With, by our count, an estimated 104.9M residential wired broadband subscriptions in America in Q2 2022 – again, including DSL, and sometimes including commercial as well as residential subscribers – that translates into penetration of 87.4% of broadband-available homes.  We estimate that 81.5% of all households subscribe to wired broadband.

Craig’s Conclusions:

The goal for the FCC is to create maps that are not frozen in time but instead become living and breathing reflections of a dynamic marketplace. The new maps are subject to a public challenge process, enabling interested parties, including operators, local governments, and even individual would-be subscribers, to dispute reported availability. Challenges will eventually be part of a routine updating process. Indeed, the maps released in November were the product of what had already been a months-long initial challenge process. The maps are, again, a critical input to distribution of $42.5 billion of funds earmarked for rural broadband by the JOBS/Infrastructure Act. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is required by law to use the FCC’s new map to distribute those funds in what is referred to as the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, something they have committed to do by June 2023. They are likely to begin that process almost immediately, based on the number of unserved locations in each state, although NTIA chief Alan Davidson has said they will wait for the FCC to release the second version of its coverage map, later this year, before they actually begin to disburse those funds.

The network operators themselves, including the cable operators in particular, will in our view be major participants in the BEAD process, bidding aggressively to bring broadband to unserved census blocks on the periphery of their current franchise areas.

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Meanwhile,  Leichtman Research Group indicates that 90 per cent of U.S. households get an Internet service at home, compared to 84 per cent in 2017, and 74 per cent in 2007. Broadband accounts for 99 per cent of households with an Internet service at home, and 89 per cent of all households get a broadband Internet service – an increase from 82 per cent in 2017, and 53 per cent in 2007.

These findings are based on a survey of 1,910 households from throughout the United States and are part of a new LRG study, Broadband Internet in the U.S. 2022.  This is LRG’s twentieth annual study on this topic.

Other related findings include:

  • Individuals ages 65+ account for 34% of those that do not get an Internet service at home
  • 56% of broadband subscribers are very satisfied (8-10 on a 1-10 scale) with their Internet service at home, while 6% are not satisfied (1-3).
  • 44% of broadband subscribers do not know the download speed of their service – compared to 60% in 2017
  • 61% reporting Internet speeds of >100 Mbps are very satisfied with their service, compared to 41% with speeds <50 Mbps, and 57% that do not know their speed
  • 40% of broadband households get a bundle of services from a single provider – compared to 64% in 2017, and 78% in 2012
  • 59% of adults with an Internet service at home watch video online daily – compared to 59% in 2020, 43% in 2017, and 17% in 2012

“The percentage of households getting an Internet service at home, including high-speed broadband, is higher than in any previous year,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc.  “Computer usage and knowledge remain the foundation for Internet services in the home.  Among those that do not get an Internet service at home, 58% also do not use a computer at home..”

References:

https://broadbandmap.fcc.gov/home

https://www.leichtmanresearch.com/90-of-u-s-households-get-an-internet-service-at-home/

Point Topic: Global Broadband Tariff Benchmark Report- 2Q-2022

In the twelve months to the close of Q2 2022, global residential fixed line broadband subscribers saw their average monthly charges decrease by 4% on copper, cable and fiber-based tariffs. Across the three technologies the average bandwidth increased by 22% year-on-year (y-o-y), due to the increased innovation and proliferation of fiber-based networks globally. Business subscribers continued to struggle with rising monthly charges, with the average monthly charge increasing by 12% and the average downstream speed standing at 426 Mbps compared to residential tariff averages of 464 Mbps.

The Asia-Pacific region retained its dominant bandwidth position with average speeds of 1,146 Mbps, up from 1,355 Mbps in Q4 2021 and 1,135 Mbps y-o-y, followed by North America, Western Europe, and Southeast Asia with the three regions reaching a combined average of around 465 Mbps.

Qatar, Switzerland and Southeast Asian countries still remain at the top of the league by average bandwidth along Italy, France and Bulgaria; these countries all rank in the top ten cheapest for residential broadband in terms of average cost per Mbps being less than $0.10 PPP.

In Q2 2022, the combined average download bandwidth grew by 20% compared to Q2 2021 and stood at 426 Mbps. This was caused by the boost in the average speed over cable and especially fibre, 14% and 22% respectively. Copper maintained largely the same average download speed compared to the previous quarter. However, the overall global average monthly cost across the three technologies has increased by just over 12% from $217 PPP to $244 PPP at the close of Q2 2022

References:

Global Broadband Tariff Benchmark Report, Q2 2022 (point-topic.com)

 

Point Topic: Global fixed broadband connections up 1.7% in 1Q-2022, FTTH at 58% market share

Global fixed access broadband subscribers reached nearly 1.3 billion at the end of Q1 2022, up by 1.7 percent from the previous quarter, according to the latest figures from Point Topic. The market research firm said the number of connections increased in 90 percent of the 131 countries researched, including the 20 largest markets. The global growth rate remains slightly less than a year ago.

For the first time ever, Fiber to the Home (FTTH) connections were more than half of all fixed broadband connections.  Indeed, the share of FTTH in the total fixed broadband subscriptions continued to increase to 58 percent at the end of March 2022. Cable broadband connections were the next most common technology with a 17 percent share, while connections over all other technologies lost market shares to fibre. Compared to the end of 2021, FTTH connections increased 13.5 percent, while copper broadband lines were down 9.8 percent.

Main trends in Q1 2022:

  • Fixed broadband subscriber numbers grew in 90 per cent of the 131 countries covered in this report.

  • The share of FTTH in the total fixed broadband subscriptions continued to increase and stood at 58 per cent. Superfast and ultrafast cable broadband connections followed with an 17 per cent share. Connections over all other technologies lost market shares to fibre.

  • Between Q1 2022 and Q4 2021, the number of copper lines fell by 9.8 per cent, while FTTH connections increased by 13.5 per cent.

  • China added 14 million, Brazil 1.1 million and France a million fibre broadband subscriptions.

In Q1 2022, the quarterly fixed broadband subscriber growth rate stood at 1.7 per cent, with the number of connections reaching 1.3 bn (Figures 1 and 2). Similarly to Q4 2021, the growth rate was slightly lower than in the respective quarter a year ago.

The data used in this report is taken from Point Topic’s Global Broadband Statistics service that allows customers to analyse the datasets covering fixed broadband subscribers in more than 130 countries at country, operator and technology level.
Please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail [email protected] for more details.
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References:
https://www.point-topic.com/post/global-broadband-subscribers-q1-2022

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