The number of U.S. fixed broadband subscribers dropped by nearly 200,000 on a net basis in 2Q 2016, a decline of 0.2 percent, according to the latest market data from Point Topic.
A 4 percent decline in the number of copper-based broadband connections was the main factor, the market research specialist says. AT&T, Century Link and Verizon’s DSL lines dropped 7.7%, 1.6% and 27.2%, respectively quarter over quarter.
That contributed to a drop in AT&T’s overall fixed broadband customer base, which fell 123,000 in 2Q.
It appears AT&T has shifted its strategic focus to LTE wireless and satellite broadband service provision, Point Topic, as well as other industry observers point out. AT&T recently acquired DirecTV and called a halt to U-verse set-top box (STB) production earlier this year. Management last month announced it is phasing out the U-verse brand completely, with the intention of folding its assets and resources into initiatives that enhance its DirecTV-driven and future service offerings and market presence. Notable among these is an effort to build a home gateway that can connect to AT&T’s broadband satellite and wireless networks.
Declines in Verizon’s fixed broadband subscriber base were driven, in large part, by the carrier divesting its fixed broadband assets in three markets to Frontier Communications, a transaction that came into effect April 1. According to Point Topic, Frontier did not migrate all acquired customers smoothly, which means that some of them may be lost to mobile broadband providers.
U.S. Fixed Broadband Subscribers
The shift from fixed to mobile broadband connections has become a nationwide trend, according to Pew Research studies. U.S. home broadband connections declined from 70 percent in 2013 to 67 percent in 2015 as more Americans turned to mobile wireless connections over the period, Pew researchers found Smartphone ownership increased to 68 percent in 2015, according to Pew.
In contrast with the U.S., some 7.6 million fixed broadband connections were added in China in 2Q, a year-over-year rise of more than 3 percent, according to Point Topic.
Other major broadband markets also experienced what Point Topic deems healthy growth of fixed connections in 2Q. A net 466 thousand were added in Japan, 307 thousand in Germany, 203 thousand in the Russian Federation, and 192 thousand across the U.K, according to Point Topic’s 2Q fixed broadband data set.