Consumers are embracing broadband like never before during the COVID-19 pandemic, at least in markets served by tier 1 providers. Comcast just announced its best broadband quarter on record during 3Q 2020.
The communications and entertainment conglomerate added 633K new broadband subscribers during the 3Q 2020, which is a record for the company. That increase more than offsets the 273K video losses Comcast suffered during the same quarter.
Counting business customers, Comcast now has over 30 million broadband customers, by far the largest broadband provider in the U.S.
Usually, Comcast’s broadband gains overshadow modest broadband performance at rivals AT&T and Verizon. But broadband growth during COVID-19 is shared.
Combined, AT&T and Verizon added nearly 500K fiber broadband subscribers during the same quarter. Verizon saw 4x year-over-year growth in 3Q 2020 for new Fios FTTP adds. Just between these three conglomerates, close to 1.1 million new broadband customers were added in 3Q 2020.
There are several factors at play here helping drive broadband growth during COVID-19, including the massive shift to work from home for white collar workers during the pandemic. Broadband is an essential service like never before and the largest broadband carriers are benefiting.
Conditions created by COVID-19 are not all great though. There still is a looming issue of non-pays among existing subscribers, millions of whom are facing financial difficulty because of the pandemic.
It remains to be seen how the recession will ultimately impact the broadband industry. It certainly won’t go unscathed.
Even with the great broadband numbers during COVID-19, Comcast consolidated revenue was down close to 5% for the quarter, and EBIDTA was down over 11%. AT&T reported COVID-19 related impacts amounted to a drag of $0.21 per share, as its overall revenue was down over 5% from a year ago