Leichtman Research Group recently released the broadband customer statistics for the end of 2019 for the largest cable and telephone companies. Leichtman compiles most of these numbers from the statistics provided to stockholders other than Cox, which is estimated.
The numbers are lower than broadband customers these same companies report to the FCC, and I think that most of the difference is due to the way many of these companies count broadband to apartment buildings. If they provide a gigabit pipe to serve an apartment building, they might count that as 1 customer, whereas for FCC reporting they are likely to count the number of apartment units served.
|4Q 2019||2019 Change||% Change|
Leichtman says this group of companies represents 96% of all US broadband customers. For the year these large ISPs collectively saw growth that annualizes to 2.6%.
The customer additions for 2019 for these large ISPs are just slightly higher than customers additions for 2018. The cable companies performed a little better in 2019 while the losses continue to accelerate for the big telcos. The big telco losers for the year are Frontier, which lost 6.3% of its customer base, AT&T (lost 2.0 %) and CenturyLink (lost 2.8%). AT&T claims to have added 1.1 million customers to fiber for the year, so they are still losing a lot of customers on DSL. Frontier is a total disaster and there may be no recovery for the company if they keep losing broadband customers at a pace of over 6% annually.
‘ 2018 2019
Cable Companies 2,987,721 3,144,657
Telcos ( 472,124) ( 619,605)
Total 2,425,597 2,525,052
The two best-performing companies were again Comcast and Charter, which each added over 1.4 million customers for the year while the rest of the ISPs, including cable companies, collectively lost half a million customers.
One note on the above numbers – the TDS and Cable One numbers include adjustments due to small acquisitions).