Roberts: Broadband Growth Will Hit Record in Q3

(Image credit: Comcast)

Comcast, coming off one of its best quarters ever in terms of broadband subscriber additions in Q2, is on track to beat that milestone in Q3, adding more than 500,000 high-speed internet customers in the period, chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said at an industry conference Tuesday.

At the virtual Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference on Sept. 14, Roberts said that Comcast’s previous best broadband quarter ever was in Q1 2008, when it added about 492,000 broadband subscribers. 

“We’re going to beat that,” Roberts said. “We’re already looking at well over 500,000 [additions]. The quarter hasn’t closed and I’m not sure where we will land, but I feel really great about that success”

The third quarter officially ends on Sept. 30. 

Roberts added that combined, broadband performance in Q2 and Q3 combined will be “better than anything we’ve seen in 10 years.” 

That broadband growth also is translated into better financial metrics. Roberts said Comcast Cable EBITDA growth -- at 5.5% in Q1 and 6% in Q2 -- should be “substantially” above that in Q3, adding that its NBCUniversal content business is “starting to come back." 

Consolidated EBITDA growth will be lower, mainly because its Theme Parks were hit hard by the pandemic.

On the video side, Roberts noted that its Peacock streaming service, launched nationally in July, has reached 15 million sign-ups, a 50% increase from July when it had about 10 million customers. 

Roberts noted that NBCU has undergone some management shakeups, adding that the changes are being made to reflect how the business has changed. 

“We would like to get to a place where we’re indifferent, and I think we're almost, frankly we're there,” Roberts said of Comcast’s attitude toward whether customers opt for traditional video or streaming options.

“In video, some customers want it all, and other customers just want to be streaming,” Roberts said, adding that it just crossed the 2-million customer milestone for its broadband-only Flex service. He added that video continues to be an important part of the overall strategy. For example it has layered Peacock and its 10,000 hours of free content on the flex service, which has increased the value of both services to consumers. 

“We wanted to come up with something more than just an internet connection,” Roberts said concerning the development of Flex. “...I think we’re onto something pretty special there.”