The 17 largest cable and telephone providers in the U.S. added about 260,000 net high speed Internet subs in the second quarter of 2012, the fewest of any quarter in the eleven years that the Leichtman Research Group has been tracking their subscriber counts.
The results show that those large operators, which serve about 93% of the U.S. market, only added about 71% of the subscribers they gained a year earlier in the second quarter of 2011.
Cable operators, however, did much better, adding 330,000 subscribers, versus a 70,000 sub loss among DSL providers.
As a result, the top cable broadband providers now have a 57% share of the overall market, with nearly 11 million more subscribers than the top telephone companies. A year ago at the end of the second quarter of 2012, cable operators led the telcos by about 9 million.
"The seasonally weak second quarter again proved to be a slow quarter for industry growth," explained Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, in a statement. "Net broadband additions in 2Q 2012 were over one million less than in 1Q 2011, and about 100,000 fewer than in last year's second quarter, making 2Q 2012 the weakest on record. Yet, over the past year, the top broadband providers have added nearly three million subscribers, with cable providers accounting for 83% of the net additions."