While Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG) has had a major strategic influence over numerous telecom companies, data released to the U.S. Copyright Office about the service's actual pay-TV deployment suggests that the impact may be outsized.
According to the data, obtained by MoffettNathanson, Google Fiber had only around 53,000 subscribers as of December, with the video customer base growing by 79 percent over the previous year.
Given that Google Fiber has been in the market for five years, and has added recently a number of new cities to its deployment, MoffettNathanson said it's surprised that the service added only around 12,000 new subs over 12 months.
"If you listen closely enough, you can hear the happy chorus of subscribers in Kansas City singing in unison. But you'd better listen awfully closely, with elephant ears… because there still aren't that many singers. The number of subscribers to Google's fiber service remains astonishingly low," MoffettNathanson's report said.
According to the research company, Google Fiber accounts for "5/100ths of 1 percent" of the U.S. pay-TV market.
"As a stand-alone entity," the firm added, "Google Fiber would be approximately 1/7th the size of the smallest distribution company in our firm's coverage, Cable One. They are 1/15th the size of Mediacom, and just over 1/70th the size of the new U.S. Altice (assuming Altice's deal for Cablevision successfully closes)."
MoffettNathanson concedes the data applies to only pay TV.
"We presume that Google has many more broadband subscribers than video ones," the report added. "Still, this latest data is a useful barometer of just how slowly all this happens, and just how tiny Google Fiber remains in the grand scheme of things. Recall that the multi-city bake-off that led to their original selection of Kansas City as their first market took place way back in 2010 (not coincidentally, that was when the prior FCC administration was knee deep in its first Net Neutrality/Title II imbroglio), so they've been at it for six years now. Google Fiber is no longer brand new."
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