Broadband Booms as Pay-TV Subscriptions Plummet

May 19, 2022 Topic: Broadband Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: InternetCableBroadbandBusinessTelevision

Broadband Booms as Pay-TV Subscriptions Plummet

The big story is that nascent 5G home wireless services are growing quickly.

The nation’s major pay-TV providers may have lost nearly two million subscribers in the first quarter of this year, but at the same time, they added about one million broadband subscribers. And the big story is that nascent 5G home wireless services are growing quickly.

That’s according to Leichtman Research Group, Inc., which found that the major companies added that many subscribers, compared to a gain of about 1.1 million in the same period the year before.

As of the end of the first quarter, the companies have a total of about 109.3 million subscribers, of which 75.6 million come from cable companies.

Of those cable companies, Comcast added 262,000 broadband subscribers, to reach a total of about 32.1 million, while Charter added 185,000 to reach 30.2 million. All other cable companies listed added subscribers in the quarter, except for Altice, which lost 13,000.

Overall, the cable companies added 482,830 broadband subscribers, giving them a total of about 75.6 million.

“Top broadband providers added over one million subscribers in 1Q 2022, similar to last year’s first quarter, but the distribution of net broadband additions differed from a year ago,” Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc., said in the announcement. “Fixed wireless services accounted for half of the net broadband adds in 1Q 2022, compared to about 10% of the net adds in 1Q 2021.”

As for the telecom companies classified as “wirelines phone companies,” the major ones made modest gains in broadband subscribers, with AT&T adding 29,000 subscribers and Verizon gaining 35,000 to give them 15.5 million and 7.4 million respectively. Lumen was the only telco company listed that lost subscribers, dropping 49,000 to reach a total of 4.47 million. That category gained a total of 50,000 broadband customers to attain a total of 32.2 million.

The “Fixed Wireless Services” category showed more growth, with T-Mobile adding 338,000 customers and Verizon gaining 194,000 subscribers to their 5G home internet products. That category gained 532,000 customers to reach 1.4 million—a substantial increase compared to a gain of 110,000 in the first quarter of last year.

Earlier this week, CNET took a look at the two 5G internet offerings and the question of whether they can reliably replace more traditional home internet.

“After several weeks of trying out T-Mobile's and Verizon's respective $50-per-month solutions, both have shown plenty of promise for eventually replacing my home broadband,” CNET’s Eli Blumenthal wrote of his evaluation of the services. “But neither have been reliable enough to keep today, so for now, I'm switching back to a more focused home internet provider.”

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters.