Operators see best broadband adds since 2010 with 3.1M new subs

The 17 largest cable and telephone providers in the U.S. – representing about 94% of the market – added more than 3.1 million high-speed Internet subscribers in 2015, the most in a single year since 2010, when they added 3.4 million. The increase was just slightly more than a year ago, when operators added 3 million broadband subscribers.

Of the estimated 90.5 million broadband subs in the United States, said Leichtman Research Group in its latest report, cable companies account for 55.3 million, up from 51.96 million a year ago, telcos, meanwhile, have some 35.2 million subs, up just slightly from 35.38 million a year ago.

That trend is likely to continue as cable leverages its capabilities to deliver higher broadband speeds and more operators turn to DOCSIS 3.1 technologies.

While cable has been making hay out of American’s increased reliance and demand for high-speed broadband – the segment has add more than 2.1 million subs in each of the past 7 years and seen a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5.86% — telco broadband adds have lagged in comparison.

In 2015, for the first time ever, telcos actually saw a decline in broadband subscribers, dropping 187,000 connections.

Over the same period, telco broadband subscriber CAGR has been just 1.32%. In large part, telcos have struggled as they’ve shed DSL subscribers. Verizon and AT&T for example, are down 1.71 million DSL subs in 2015, and have added just 1.48 million U-verse and FiOS Internet subs.

Telco fortunes could change as they bring more fiber homes online.

Over the past three years, meanwhile, total broadband additions in the U.S. have topped 8.7 million.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn