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  • Writer's pictureTeresa Mastrangelo

Cable Operators Continue to Drive North America Fixed Broadband Growth

North America Broadband subscribers reached nearly 115 million at the end of 1Q16. Cable operators continued to add significantly more new broadband subscribers than Telcos, accounting for 90 percent of all fixed broadband network additions in 1Q16.


At the end of 1Q16, fixed broadband penetration of U.S. households is 84 percent and 92 percent of Canadian households.During 1Q16, cable represented 59 percent of subscribers, while Telco (DSL + FTTH) is 38 percent and “other” is steady at 3 percent.

At the end of 1Q16, cable broadband subscribers were 68 million, DSL was 32.8 million; FTTH was 11.2 million while the “other” category, reached 3.0 million.

Comcast maintains the lead as the largest provider of broadband in North America with 23.8 million subscribers, followed by AT&T with 15.8 million.

1Q16 Pay-TV Subscribers

Pay-TV subscribers remained relatively flat quarter-over-quarter at 111.9 million; Subscriber declines were noted across both cable MSOs as well as Telco TV providers- while Satellite – driven largely by growth at DIRECTV (at the expense of AT&T’s U-Verse video service) experienced its strongest quarter since 2009.

Continuing the trend first spotted in 2Q14 – cable broadband subscribers now exceed cable TV subscribers by nearly 8 million.

AT&T is the largest North American Pay-TV operator with 25.3 million subscribers, followed by Comcast with 22.4 million subscribers.

Although OTT video services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, etc continue to gain new subscribers – their impact on overall Pay-TV subscriptions  has been slow to materialize.  However, in the past 12 months, overall PayTV subscribers have declined by over 1 million after having  stayed relatively stable over the past few years.

But considering the overall growth of streaming video services – the loss of 1 million pay-TV subs is relatively small.

I think the key trend to watch is the differential between TV subscribers and broadband subscribers – as evidenced by the fact that cable operators now support nearly 8 million more broadband subscribers than Pay-TV subscribers.


This is the key indicator going forward…


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