The eighteen largest cable and telephone companies that account for 93 percent of the broadband market added 3 million net subscribers during 2011, according to data from Leichtman Research Group, a Durham, NH-based market research group. At the end of 2011, there were 78.6 million broadband subscribers — 44.3 million with cable companies and 34.3 million with the phone companies.
How does this stack up against total net additions during 2010? Not that well. During 2010, the 19 top companies accounting for 93 percent of the market added about 3.4 million to end the year at 75.1 million subscribers.
Of the 3 million net new additions, nearly 2.3 million of the subscriptions going to cable companies. The phone companies in comparison added 750,000 broadband subscribers. In the fourth quarter of 2011, cable and telephone providers added 765,000 subscribers, with cable companies adding nearly 82 percent of the new connections.
The reason phone companies are falling behind is because both AT&T (s T) and Verizon (s VZ) are focusing all their resources on wireless broadband, an area where they can safely skirt the network neutrality limitations. They are also able to make a lot more money from the mobile data customers. AT&T added 117,000 new customers while Verizon added 278,000 during 2011. In 2010, these two companies added 521,000 and 232,000 broadband subscribers respectively. The top telephone providers added 1.1 million broadband subscribers in 2010.
Comcast (s CMCSA) is the largest broadband provider in the US with over 18.15 million subscribers while AT&T has 16.43 million subscribers. Time Warner Cable (s TWC) comes next with 10.344 million subscribers., followed by Verizon with 8.67 million and Centurylink (s CLNK) with 5.6 million subscribers.