Despite Downturn, Comcast Adds Broadband Subscribers In Q1 2009

images1Comcast (s CMCSA) today reported a 5.4 percent boost in profits — to $778 million on sales that rose 5.3 percent, to $8.84 billion — and was the latest carrier to report a rise in the number of broadband subscribers over the previous three-month period. The cable provider raised rates earlier this quarter and gained subscribers worried about losing TV service during the DTV transition.

The company’s overall subscription growth rate slowed to stand at 42 percent as of the final day of the first quarter after adding 837,195 revenue-generating units. Comcast added 298,433 digital phone customers, 53 fewer than the comparable quarter a year earlier. It also lost 78,022 basic video subscribers.

New broadband subscribers, meanwhile, slowed by 33 percent from the year-ago period, to 328,613, but grew by 78 percent from the fourth quarter, in line with quarter-over-quarter growth at other ISPs. That growth could be the result of customers adopting super-fast broadband in the form of DOCSIS 3.0 from Comcast and Verizon’s FiOS. It may also be a natural rebound from a pretty bad fourth quarter, when broadband net adds skidded at most ISPs.

Also during the first three months of the year, Time Warner Cable (s twc) added 225,000 broadband customers, an 81 percent growth in subscribers from the previous quarter. AT&T (s T) added 359,000 wired broadband subscriptions in the first quarter, up 52 percent on a sequential basis, while Verizon’s wired broadband connections increased by 252,000 in the same time period, despite losing 46,000 subscribers on its slower DSL service. Verizon saw a 138 percent gain in net adds over the previous quarter.