The top U.S. providers of wireline high-speed internet service collectively reported additions of just 630,000 customers in the third quarter, down significantly from the pandemic-fueled third quarter of 2020, when the business explosively grew by 1.525 million subscribers, according to the latest Leichtman Research Group figures.
Third-quarter growth still exceeded expansion in Q3 of 2019 (615,000 customers) and Q3 of 2018 (600,000).
Of the 107.9 million wireline broadband customers in the U.S. as of Sept. 30, cable companies accounted for 70% of them.
“Broadband additions returned to pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter of 2021,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “The top broadband providers added significantly fewer subscribers than in last year’s third quarter, but had a similar number of net adds as in 3Q 2019 and 3Q 2018.”
LRG figures account for the top operators representing 96% of the market. Not included in the data is insight on the nascent fixed wireless business, which could challenge the cable industry's dominance of wireline broadband in the coming years.
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