More Than 1.5 Million Broadband Internet Subscribers Were Added in Third Quarter

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November 18, 2020 Topic: Technology Region: Americas Blog Brand: Techland Tags: InternetPay TVBroadbandCableCoronavirus

More Than 1.5 Million Broadband Internet Subscribers Were Added in Third Quarter

The coronavirus lockdowns have increased the demand for internet access.

Leichtman Research Group, Inc. releases a quarterly report about how many customers the major pay TV providers have lost. The third quarter report, released earlier this week, found that the top pay TV services in the U.S. lost 120,000 subscribers in the third quarter. A high number, but much smaller than the subscriber losses in the first half of the year, when the companies lost over 2 million subscribers in the first quarter and over a million in the second.

The loss of pay TV subscriptions has come with a corresponding surge Internet broadband subscriptions. Now, a new report from that same firm, Leichtman Research Group, has shown a big increase in broadband subscribers in the most recent quarter.

LRG said this week that the top firms added 1,530,000 net additional broadband Internet subscribers in the third quarter, bringing the total universe of American broadband subscribers to 104.9 million. It was the most broadband subscribers added in over a decade, the firm said.

The companies, which account for 96 percent of the total market, had gained 615,000 subscribers in the same period in 2019. The remaining four percent is those subscribed to smaller and regional providers.

The included cable companies, in LRG’s study, added 1,320,000 subscribers in the quarter, of which Comcast accounted for 633,000 and Charter 537,000; none of the cable companies listed lost subscribers in the quarter. On the phone company side, AT&T added 174,000 broadband subscribers and Verizon added 110,000, while two companies—CenturyLink/Lumen and Frontier—lost subscribers in the three-month period.

Comcast ended the quarter with over thirty million broadband subscribers, while Charter ended up with 28.6 million, which were by far the most of any cable company. Cox, Altice and Mediacom all ended the quarter in the single-digit millions.

AT&T, across its different services, has 15.3 million broadband subscribers while Verizon has just over seven million.

“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,” Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc., said in the announcement. “Over the past year, there were about 4,550,000 net broadband adds, compared to about 2,550,000 net broadband adds over the prior year. This marks the most broadband net adds in a year since 3Q 2008-2Q 2009.”

Comcast, and other companies, have begun to indicate that they’re making their peace with the cord-cutting future, and looking to do what they can by encouraging broadband subscriptions, streaming, and other growing businesses.

LRG collects its data from publicly released earnings reports by the companies.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to 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