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Summary:

Large phone and cable companies added nearly half-a-million broadband subscribers during the third quarter of 2013. The U.S. seems to be on its way to 100 million subscribers, and Comcast seems to be the big winner of the broadband sweepstakes.

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Slowly and surely, the U.S. is inching towards the 100 million broadband subscriber milestone. Latest figures compiled by Leichtman Research Group, a Durham, NH-based market-research firm, show that about 83.5 million folks buy broadband access from major cable and telecom companies. The data doesn’t include the number of users who subscribe to satellite broadband, wireless broadband or are like me — customers of independent service providers. In the United States, according to Ookla, a broadband speed-measurement service, average bandwidth to the home is a shade over 20 Mbps, versus Hong Kong, which has an average of about 70 Mbps.

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During the three months ending September 30, 2013, data shows that these big companies added a little over 520,000 new broadband connections, a majority of them going to Comcast and other cable companies that are selling faster connections compared to their phone company counterparts. Many cable company executives in recent days have said that folks are opting for their broadband-only services instead of paying for traditional television services.

  • The top cable companies accounted for 84% of the net broadband additions for the quarter and added about 440,000 subscribers.
  • AT&T and Verizon added 828,000 fiber subscribers (via U-verse and FiOS) in 3Q 2013, while having a net loss of 798,000 DSL subscribers.

Comcast has been on a winning streak and has inched up to nearly 21 million subscribers. There are rumors that Comcast is looking to acquire Time Warner Cable, as part of an ongoing consolidation, prompted by demand for broadband.

Data source Leichtman Research Group

  1. 83 million out of 300+ million is pathetic. Broadband internet is as important as electricity for economic growth.

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    1. The connections aren’t necessarily equal to the number of people. A household with one connection can have four or six people sharing the same connection. There are about 116 million households in the US according to the census data.

      From that perspective, we have over 72 percent of the total market penetration, perhaps even a little more. It is not quite the highest — many other nations such as South Korea have higher overall penetration but many are denser and smaller, both in geographical size and population.

      Maybe that will help put context to the numbers.

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  2. Why the net loss in Q3 2013 for Time Warner? What would be the benefit to the subscribers (customers) if Comcast acquires Time Warner?

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