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Top U.S. ISPs Added 1.2 Million Subs In Q1

The top 17 U.S. cable operators and telcos, representing about 93% of the market, nabbed about 1.2 million net additional high-speed Internet subs in the first quarter, the best quarterly showing in two years, according to the latest data crunch by Leichtman Research Group.

Cable was again dominant, as major MSOs accounted for 83% of the net broadband additions in the quarter.

Overall, these top ISPs ended the quarter with more than 85.5 million subs, with cable representing 50.3 million of that total, versus 35.3 million among the largest telcos.

Those ISPs combined to generate 105% of the net adds from the first quarter of 2013, LRG said. Cable, meanwhile, added 970,000 subs in the period, 121% of the net adds in the category from a year ago, while the biggest telcos added 200,000, or 64% of the total net adds versus the first quarter of 2013.

Among individual ISPs, Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, raked in most subs (383,000) in the quarter, while AT&T (78,000 adds) represented the telcos’ high-water mark. Among the ISPs factored into the just one, Windstream (-500) managed to lose broadband customers in the quarter.

The recent, collective broadband subscriber surge will likely be fleeting, noted Bruce Leichtman, LRG’s president and principal analyst.  

“With nearly 1.2 million net additions in the first quarter of 2014, broadband providers had their best quarter in two years,” he said, in a statement. “If recent history is an indicator, however, gains will be slower over the next couple of quarters. In each of the past four years, net adds in the first quarter were greater than in the second and third quarters combined.”