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Cable Serves 37.7 Million U.S. Broadband Users

The 12 biggest cable operators in the U.S. collectively added about 837,000 high-speed Internet subscribers in the first quarter of 2009, and major telcos added 775,000 - the biggest gains since the same period last year, according to Leichtman Research Group.

Cable companies had an estimated 37.7 million broadband subscribers at the close of the quarter, and telephone companies had about 31.5 million.

Still, the 1.6 million net adds overall for the period was down 27% compared with more than 2.2 million new high-speed Internet subscribers in the first three months of 2008.

And, according to LRG president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman, "given the traditional seasonality of the broadband industry, it should not be a surprise if net adds in Q2 2009 are half of what they were in Q1 2009."

AT&T is the nation's largest broadband provider, with 15.44 million total high-speed Internet wireline customers, followed by Comcast with 15.26 million, Time Warner Cable with 8.95 million, Verizon with 8.92 million and Cox Communications with 4.08 million, according to LRG.