Operators Add Over 635,000 Broadband Subs in Q3

The eighteen largest cable and telephone providers of broadband services in the U.S. acquired about 635,000 net additional high-speed Internet subscribers in the third quarter of 2011, a new report from Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) finds.

These top broadband providers, which have about 93% of the market, now account for over 77.8 million subscribers -- with cable companies having 43.6 million broadband subscribers, and telephone companies having 34.2 million subscribers.

Many of the new subs were captured by cable operators, who added over 525,000 customers, about 83% of the net adds for the third quarter.

Growth, however, slowed versus the third quarter of 2010, particularly among telcos who added about 38% of the subscribers they attracted last year. Cable's net ads were close to last year's pace, adding about 98% as many subs.

Overall broadband additions in the third quarter of 2011 amounted to 77% of those in the third quarter of 2010.

"Following the traditionally weak second quarter, the broadband market rebounded with over 635,000 net additional broadband customers in 3Q 2011," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG.  "Over the first three quarters of 2011, the top broadband providers added nearly 2.3 million subscribers, compared to 2.6 million subscribers added in the first three quarters of 2010."

The top cable broadband providers continued to outpace telcos, maintaining a 56% share of the overall market, with nearly a 9.5 million subscriber advantage over the top telephone companies -- compared to 8.2 million a year ago.

Comcast added 261,000 broadband subscribers in the quarter -- 41% of the total for the top providers.

Meanwhile, AT&T and Verizon added 642,000 fiber subscribers in the quarter (via U-verse and FiOS), while having a net loss of 619,000 DSL subscribers.

Comcast remained the largest provider with 17.8 million, followed by AT&T with 16.5 million, Time Warner Cable at 10.2 million, Verizon at 8.6 million and CenturyLink at 5.5 million.