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Cable Companies Command Broadband Internet as They Shed TV Subscribers

Close up of girl on laptop and cellphoneMillions of cord cutters may be ditching their TV subscriptions, but that hasn’t stopped major cable companies from making huge strides in broadband internet. The latest study from Leichtman Research Group, Inc. shows cable companies, including heavyweights like Comcast, Charter, and Cox, accounted for nearly 68 million broadband subscribers in the U.S. Put another way, that’s just over two-thirds of the country’s 101 million broadband subscribers.

Comcast, which lost over 733,000 TV subscribers last year, managed to sign up 1.4 million new internet accounts in 2019, putting its industry-leading total at over 28 million at the end of the fourth quarter. Similarly, Charter’s Spectrum TV service may have lost 484,000 customers in 2019, but the company also added 1.4 million internet users during the year.

Not all TV providers were able to make up for losses through their internet businesses. Case in point: phone companies. AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink all ended 2019 with fewer internet customers, and the research group predicts Frontier shared the same fate. Overall, telcos, which offer DSL and fiber optic lines with fast speeds but limited availability, accounted for around 33 million broadband subscribers in 2019.

It’s clear cable companies are finding successes elsewhere as TV subscriber numbers fall, and it remains to be seen if the big telcos can follow suit.

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