Carrier Evolution

Cable modem service appears to retain its advantage as the preferred broadband access method for 82 percent of net new customers in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the Leichtman Research Group.

The unanswered question is whether there is a pattern to the new adoptions, such as new customers disproportionately reflecting business customer purchases (either direct or reimbursable by an employer, for example).

Most of the new customers were added, as you would expect, by the 18 largest cable and telephone providers. Those 18 firms got about 93 percent of all the three million new customers.

Perhaps the more telling statistic is that just two cable companies added 72 percent of those customers in 2011. The largest four firms added 89 percent of all new broadband customers for the full year 2011.

Likewise, the top three telcos–AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink–added 84 percent of all new net telco-supplied broadband access connections for the full year. But the largest seven telcos collectively added only 750,000 net new broadband subscribers for the full year 2011.

Broadband Internet Provider

Subscribers at End of 4Q 2011

Net Adds in 2011

Cable Companies

Comcast

18,147,000

1,159,000

Time Warner^

10,344,000

491,000

Cox*

4,500,000

130,000

Charter

3,654,600

252,900

Cablevision

2,965,000

73,000

Suddenlink

951,400

65,100

Mediacom

851,000

13,000

Insight^

550,000

25,500

Cable ONE

451,082

25,680

Other Major Private Cable Companies**

1,925,000

55,000

Total Top Cable

44,339,082

2,290,180

Telephone Companies

AT&T

16,427,000

117,000

Verizon

8,670,000

278,000

CenturyLink

5,554,000

238,000

Frontier^^

1,735,000

37,833

Windstream

1,355,300

53,600

FairPoint

314,135

24,390

Cincinnati Bell

257,300

1,200

Total Top Telephone Companies

34,312,735

750,023

Total Broadband

78,651,817

3,040,203

Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.
* LRG estimate
** Includes LRG estimates for Bright House Networks, and RCN
^ Totals prior to Time Warner Cable’s acquisition of Insight completed on 2/29/2012
^^ LRG estimate does not include wireless subscribers
Company subscriber counts may not represent solely residential households
Totals reflect pro forma results from system sales and acquisitions
Top cable and telephone companies represent approximately 93% of all subscribers