Comcast's Roberts: Fixed Wireless Access Is Still Just a 'Temporary Opportunity Targeted to Value-Oriented Customers'

Alfred E. Neuman
(Image credit: Warner Bros. Discovery)

Comcast reported zero customer growth in the area of high-speed internet in the second quarter, right after T-Mobile and Verizon collectively touted the addition of more than 800,000 fixed wireless access customers from April - June.

Keeping with the cable industry's ongoing broader mantra, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts insisted he's still not worried about it.

Citing the significant "longterm limitations" of FWA, Roberts described the technology as a "temporary opportunity targeted to value-oriented customers," one driven by a short-term excess of wireless capacity that will soon abate as FWA proliferation increases.

Also read: Comcast Reports Flat Broadband Growth in Q2

Meanwhile, Roberts conceded that the quickening uptake of FWA is impacting Comcast's connections metrics, it hasn't influenced churn. 

Comcast added 354,000 high-speed internet customers in the second quarter of 2021 and 323,000 in the pandemic-impacted April-June period of 2020. 

Writing for our Multichannel News vertical Thursday, Mike Ferrell took a deep dive into whether the growth slowdown being experienced by Comcast and other cable operators is more a matter of saturation than competition from fiber, FWA and other technologies. 

Also read: Cable Broadband Customer Growth Was Down by Around 500K in Q1 ... but Fixed Wireless Added 500K

Certainly, FWA has to be considered a factor. T-Mobile this week reported the addition of 560,000 high-speed internet customers, right after Verizon touted 256,000 FWA additions in Q2. 

And whether it's "temporary" or not, that's influencing Comcast investors, who tanked the stock over 8% Thursday. Charter Communications, which reports earnings Friday, also saw its stock drop over 8%. 

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!