Cable’s Broadband Sub Growth Slips in Q2 Amidst Fiber, Fixed Wireless Gains

During the second quarter, cable saw its decade-long hold on broadband subscriber growth slip. 

  • AT&T

Cable finally saw its tight hold on subscriber growth subside during the second quarter as more subscribers migrated to telco fiber and, in other cases, broadband wireless.

During the second quarter, incumbent telcos, cable operators and fixed wireless operators acquired about 670,000 net additional broadband subscribers. This is down from a pro forma gain of about 1 million subscribers in the same period a year ago.

According to Leichtman Research Group, the top broadband providers account for about 110 million subscribers, with top cable companies having about 75.6 million broadband subscribers, top wireline phone companies having about 32.2 million subscribers, and top fixed wireless services having about 2.2 million subscribers.

“Top broadband providers added about 670,000 subscribers in 2Q 2022, reflecting over 800,000 net adds for fixed wireless services, along with modest net losses for cable and wireline phone providers,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group.  “Over the past year, there were about 3,260,000 net broadband adds, with fixed wireless services accounting for 56 percent of them.”

In this report, we track three main metrics:

Total Broadband Subscribers: This looks at the total number of subscribers the top 16 broadband providers had at the end of the first quarter. Although not as high as when the COVID-19 pandemic began, it’s clear that cable continues to maintain the upper hand in the broadband race, controlling a significant market share of the U.S. residential broadband market.

Broadband Additions, Losses: Cable may still of had the lead in the commanded the broadband market during the second quarter, but it started to see losses as more subscribers migrated to fiber-based services and broadband wireless.

Broadband Revenues: As the largest cable operators and telcos add more broadband subscribers, they will enhance broadband revenues. Just as they had the highest subscribers, Comcast and Charter had the most significant broadband revenues: $6.1 and $5.6 billion, respectively. AT&T and Verizon reported broadband revenues of $2.4 and $2.9 billion, while Lumen’s consumer broadband revenues were $1.2 billion. Look at the chart below to see how these providers performed.

We calculated these numbers by collecting each service provider's earnings report. 

Service provider Total Broadband Subs Subs Added/Lost Broadband Revenue
Comcast                  32.2M 0 $6.1B
Charter 30.3M  -21,000 $5.6B
AT&T 15.5M -24,000 $2.4B
Verizon  7.4M 12,000 $2.9B
Lumen (CenturyLink) 4.4M -90,000 $1.2B
Cox  5.6M 0 (not reported)
Altice USA  4.3M -39,600 $1.93B
Frontier 2.83M 8,000 $268M
Mediacom 1.5M 0 $277M
Windstream  1.2M 2,500 (not reported)
Cable One 1.1M 2,000 $233M
Breezeline 718K -1,689 $290M*
WOW!                     537K 6,100 $103M
TDS Telecom 501K 5,600 $168M
Consolidated  381K 1,063 $68M
Shentel  125K 3,342** $61.4M
       
* Total Breezeline revenues      
** GloFiber additions (lost 587 incumbent cable subs)      

 

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