By any accounting measure, broadband subscriber additions in the U.S. were booming in the recent third quarter, fueled in part by more remote workers and online learning.
The third quarter marked the most broadband additions in the U.S. the since the first quarter of 2009, according to Leichtman Research Group (LRG).
All told, U.S. cable and telco service providers, which account for about 96% of the market, raked in roughly 1,530,000 net additional broadband Internet subscribers in the third quarter, compared to a pro forma gain of about 615,000 subscribers the same quarter a year ago. Overall, broadband additions in Q3 were about 915,000 more compared to Q3 2019.
The top cable companies, which include Comcast and Charter Communications, added about 1,320,000 subscribers in the third quarter, compared to a net gain of about 830,000 subscribers in Q3 of last year.
In last month's Q3 earnings, Comcast posted the best broadband quarterly results in its history by adding more than 633,000 residential and business subscribers. In its third quarter, Charter added 537,000 residential and small business internet customers versus 380,000 in the prior year quarter.
For the first time since the third quarter of 2006 to the first quarter of 2007, LRG reported that cable added one million net adds for the third consecutive quarter in a row.
The top telcos added about 210,000 subscribers in the third quarter compared to a net loss of about 220,000 in Q3 of last year.
“With the continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic, there were more quarterly net broadband additions in 3Q 2020 than in any quarter in over eleven years,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, in a statement. “Over the past year, there were about 4,550,000 net broadband adds, compared to about 2,550,000 net broadband adds over the prior year. This marks the most broadband net adds in a year since 3Q 2008-2Q 2009.”