Cable broadband customer growth slowed by 31% in Q3

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While U.S. cable operators continued to seize market share in the third quarter in the area of broadband service, their rate of customer growth slowed by nearly 31%.

That was the conclusion of Leichtman Research Group, which found that the leading seven U.S. cable operators added 538,238 high-speed internet (HSI) subscribers in the third quarter. In the third quarter of 2016, these same operators added 774,956 HSI customers. 

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Leichtman’s tally includes publicly traded cable companies Comcast, Charter, Altice, WideOpenWest and CableOne. It also includes Mediacom, which reports customer data to the SEC on a conditional basis. Leichtman hazarded to guestimate HSI customer additions of 15,000 in the third quarter for privately held Cox Communications. 

The biggest decliner was Comcast, which added 329,000 HSI customers in Q3 2016 vs. just 213,000 in Q3 2017. Charter also dropped year over year to 285,000 to 387,000.

With every major telco operator losing wireline broadband customers in the third quarter, save for AT&T (added 29,000 customers), the telco sector lost 155,793 HSI subscribers—a small uptick from the 149,593 it lost in the third quarter of 2016. 

Overall, the top 14 carriers controlling 95% of the U.S. broadband market added 382,445 customers in the third quarter, nearly a 39% decline from the 625,563 customers added in Q3 2016. 

Overall, cable operators control nearly 62.5% of the total U.S. wireline broadband market, Leichtman said.