Phone, Cable Firms Nab Broadband Subs

NEW YORK As part of its fourth-quarter research notes, the Leichtman Research Group has reported that the top 20 U.S.-based cable and telephone service providers, representing about 95 percent of the market, signed up more than 2.5 million additional broadband subscribers in the third quarter of 2006.

Cable and telephone providers now account for almost 51 million high-speed Internet customers. Cable companies have more than 28 million broadband subscribers, while telephone concerns have close to 23 million DSL and other broadband customers, per LRG.

The LRG data for the quarter also show that the top telephone providers added more than 1.3 million broadband subscribers, representing 53 percent of the net broadband additions for the quarter versus cable. The research also showed that total net broadband additions were about 100,000 fewer than in the third quarter of last year.

“Not surprisingly, the broadband market in the U.S. bounced back in the third quarter of 2006 with about 450,000 more net additions than in the second quarter of the year. Through the first three quarters of 2006 there have been over 7.7 million net broadband additions,” according to the report, authored by LRG president Bruce Leichtman.

Other key findings:

–Telephone companies have added more broadband subscribers than cable providers in each of the last eight quarters, acquiring about 1.5 million more subscribers than cable over the past two years.

–The top cable broadband providers still have a 5.4 million subscriber advantage over the phone companies and command a 55 percent share of the market.

–According to the LRG report, the top five cable broadband providers in Q3 were: Comcast, which posted a net broadband subscriber gain of 536,000, followed by Time Warner (250,000), Cox (75,000), Charter (88,000) and Cablevision (72,400).

–The top five telephone providers were: AT&T, which gained a net broadband sub boost of 374,000, followed by Verizon (448,000), BellSouth (176,000), Qwest (175,000) and Embarq (84,000).