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Cable Now Controls Nearly 70% of U.S. Fixed Broadband After Biggest Year Since 2008

The eight biggest U.S. cable companies collectively added 4.819 million wireline broadband customers in 2020 and now control approximately 69% of the U.S. fixed internet market. 

According to Leichtman Research Group (LRG), the 4.86 million total fixed broadband customers added last year by the 16 largest providers, accounting for 96% of the U.S. market, was the most since 2008. 

Telco operators, which are still mostly in the process of ramping up fixed 5G services, collectively added only 39,535 customers to the total. Verizon led all telco providers with 173,000 customer additions. 

The pandemic year customer growth performance represented a 190% uptick over the industry’s 2019 expansion. 

Charter Communications alone added 2.215 million customer in 2020, followed by Comcast, which added 1.971 million broadband subscribers. 

Analyst Bruce Leichtman, who has been tracking the U.S. broadband industry since 2001, said he can’t remember a time when cable’s share of the market was bigger. 

“With the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, there were more net broadband additions in 2020 than in any year since 2008,” he said. “The top cable and telco broadband providers in the U.S. cumulatively added about 4,860,000 subscribers in 2020, compared to about 5,100,000 subscribers in 2018 and 2019 combined.”

Leichtman Research Group - full year 2020 broadband.

(Image credit: Leichtman Research Group)