docsis 3.1The 17 largest cable and telcos high-speed ISPs in the U.S. added some 645,000 net new subscribers in 2015’s third quarter (3Q’15). Representing about 94 percent of the U.S. market, a total 89.5 million rely on the 17 largest cable and telcos for broadband Internet access, according to the latest report from LRG (Leichtman Research Group).

Cable-company broadband Internet subscribers totaled 54.3 million as of end-3Q, while the total for telcos came in at more than 35.2 million, LRG highlights. 3Q’s broadband subscriber growth gains contrast with the ongoing decline in cable and telco pay-TV subscriber numbers. On November 17, LRG reported the 13 largest U.S. traditional pay-TV providers lost a net 190,000 video subscribers in 3Q. That compares, and adds to, the net 155,000 lost in 3Q’14.

Comcast topped LRG’s overall ranking with 22.87 million broadband subscribers, with broadband subscriber growth of 320,000 in 3Q. AT&T ranked second overall though it lost a net 129,000 broadband subscribers to end 3Q with a total 15.83 million.

Third-ranked Time Warner Cable had broadband subscriber growth of 246,000 during the quarter to bring its total broadband subscriber base to 13.02 million. Verizon ranked fourth, adding a net 2,000 new subscribers to bring its end-3Q total to 9.22 million.

CenturyLink ranked fifth among cable and telco broadband service providers. The telco lost a net 37,000 subscribers in 3Q, ending the quarter with 6.07 million, according to LRG.

Cable MSO Charter added a net 147,000 subscribers to bring its total to 5.44 million, good enough for a sixth-place ranking. Seventh-ranked Cablevision added a net 3,000 subscribers for a total 2.78 million. Frontier followed, bucking the telco ISP trend of negative broadband subscriber growth by actually adding a net 27,000 subscribers for a total 2.42 million.

Other key takeaways include:

  • Overall, broadband additions in 3Q 2015 amounted to 92% of those in 3Q 2014
  • The top cable companies added about 790,000 broadband subscribers in 3Q 2015, representing 134% of the net additions for the top cable companies in 3Q 2014
  • The top telephone companies lost about 140,000 broadband subscribers in 3Q 2015 — compared to a gain of about 110,000 in 3Q 2014
  • AT&T and Verizon added 305,000 subscribers via U-verse and FiOS in 3Q 2015, while having a net loss of 432,000 DSL subscribers
  • In the first three quarters of 2015, cable companies added about 2,300,000 broadband subscribers, while Telcos lost about 130,000 subscribers

Commenting on its latest research results, LRG president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman said: “While major providers now account for nearly 90 million broadband subscribers in the US, top cable providers added subscribers at a faster pace over the past year than they did over the prior year. Over the past year, cable companies accounted for 103% of the 2.93 million net broadband additions.”

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