Comcast Earnings Prove Broadband Growth Slowing

As earnings season continues, it’s clear that some in the U.S. have had their fill of broadband. Within the past week AT&T and Verizon reported slowing broadband growth, and today Comcast saw its high-speed Internet access customers grow by 278,000 new subscribers, but added 18 percent fewer customers than it did during the second quarter of last year.

It appears that messing with P2P traffic, the likely enforcement order from the FCC and worries over tiered broadband have done little to dissuade people from moving to cable Internet, perhaps because it’s simply faster than DSL in most areas. During their second quarters, AT&T added only 46,000 DSL broadband subscribers and Verizon added 54,000.

We’ll know more when Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications report earnings next week, but as broadband growth slows, it’s time to tweak the service. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said on the conference call this morning that the company plans to upgrade its network in 20 percent of its market to DOCSIS 3.0 later this year (Comcast said this last year, too). AT&T is pushing U-verse and Verizon is relying on FiOS. Can the former Baby Bells can lay fiber fast enough to keep their customers for the long-term, or might they nickel and dime them with tiered service to goose revenue in the short term?