US Broadband’s new reality: slowing growth

The go-go years of the US Broadband business might be behind it and the latest numbers from Leichtman Research Group (LRG), a Durham, NH-based research firm only confirm that. According to their data, broadband providers who represent about 93 percent of the total US market added 580,000 net new broadband customers in the three months ending September 30, 2012. The new additions are about 92 percent of net new additions during the third quarter of 2011.

By LRG’s estimate there are about 80.7 million broadband subscribers in the US. For the first nine months of 2012, US saw an addition of 2.1 million net new broadband subscribers, down from 2.3 million during the first nine months of 2011.

Here are some notable stats:

  • Cable companies continue to dominate the business and added about 575,000 subscribers. Comcast (s CMCSA) added 287,000 broadband subscribers in the quarter – nearly 50% of the total for the top providers
  • Telephone companies added about 5,000 subscribers.
  • AT&T (s T) and Verizon (s VZ) added 749,000 fiber subscribers (via U-verse and FiOS) in the quarter, while having a net loss of 799,000 DSL subscribers.

The market saturation and slowing growth means that companies like AT&T have to upgrade their broadband offerings to stay competitive and steal market share. At present, cable companies are offering a beefier broadband package compared to the phone companies and the results show. Most importantly, Verizon and AT&T’s customers are telling them: they don’t want slower classic DSL connections and instead want faster and better broadband connections.