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The law of large numbers eventually catches up with everyone, so why would the new broadband subscription numbers be any different. And that’s precisely what is happening to the big three US broadband providers: AT&T, Verizon and Comcast.
The problem is that the slowdown in new additions is happening at much faster rate that one would think. According to UBS Research, the net additions in the quarter for AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast were 1.018 million combined versus 1.67 million last quarter and 1.245 million in the second quarter of 2006.
John Hodulik of UBS notes that other cable operators might disappoint with their subscriber numbers, and all this will add-up in slower growth in broadband subscriptions globally. The slowdown will be severe in mature broadband economies. Despite strong growth the Baltic States, East European nations and Brazil, UBS Research predicts that the subscriber growth will decline from mid-30s (%) to mid-teens by next year.
By 2010 there will be about 474 million broadband subscribers worldwide, up from an estimated 322 million by 2007. This is a substantially large base of subscribers for web services – online video, search, media, gaming and social networks – to thrive and grow rapidly. Apart from the obvious candidates like say Google (YouTube), which companies do you think stand to benefit from such a large broadband subscriber base?