It was close, but North American Telcos did not lose Broadband Subs in 2Q12
Second quarter seasonality driven largely by college disconnects and household moves made a significant impact on both North American Fixed Broadband and Pay-TV subscribers, as both experienced sharp declines in net additions during the quarter. Broadband net additions of 450,000 were the lowest of any quarter since broadband services were launched in 1999, while Pay-TV subscriber losses also reached new levels. At the end of 2Q12, North American broadband operators provided Internet services to 101.4 million; while North American Pay-TV operators supported 111.45 million subscribers. Total VoBB subscribers have reached 35.6 million.
Cable Continues to Dominate Broadband Net Additions
North America net additions by operator type is shown below. As shown, cable broadband net additions continued to outpace Telco (DSL + FTTH); however, both experienced sharp declines during 2Q12. Even if we only looked at this from a U.S. perspective, the results are similar.
For only the 3rd time since we began tracking subscribers in 1999, DSL subscribers have declined, with the worst loss occuring in 2Q10. While some of this is associated with strong cable competition, alot is attributed to the Telco’s own network transitions towards FTTH. In most cases, particularly Verizon – FTTH subscriber additions have outpaced DSL losses – so far. (For reference, we do not count AT&T’s U-verse as a fiber-based service as those subscribers are attached by DSL.)
In addition to Verizon, operators such as Aliant, CBT and hundreds of Independent Operating Companies (IOCs) have been implementing FTTH networks and slowly migrating DSL customers toward fiber-based services.
Telco net additions were most definitely dismal in 2Q12, but we haven’t gone negative just yet.