Broadband Sub Growth Returns to Pre-Pandemic Levels in 3Q 2021

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DURHAM, NH—Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) has found that the largest cable and wireline phone providers in the U.S. acquired about 630,000 net additional broadband Internet subscribers in 3Q 2021.

Among the largest operators, which represent about 96% of the market, that is a big drop from the pandemic fueled broadband sub boom that added 1,525,000 subscribers in 3Q 2020. But the numbers are in line with the 615,000 subs added in 3Q 2019, and the results from 3Q 2018, when there were about 600,000 net adds. 

LRG noted that these top broadband providers now account for about 107.9 million subscribers, with top cable companies having about 75.2 million broadband subscribers, and top wireline phone companies having about 32.7 million subscribers.

“Broadband additions returned to pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter of 2021,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc.  “The top broadband providers added significantly fewer subscribers than in last year’s third quarter, but had a similar number of net adds as in 3Q 2019 and 3Q 2018.”

LRG also reported that the top cable companies added about 590,000 subscribers in 3Q 2021, which is only 45% of the net additions the top cable companies had in 3Q 2020.

Meanwhile the top wireline phone companies added about 40,000 total broadband subscribers in 3Q 2021, a fraction of the 3Q 2020 net adds of about 200,000.

Telcos had about 475,000 net adds via fiber in 3Q 2021, and about 435,000 non-fiber net losses. 

Comcast once again ended the quarter as the largest broadband provider with 31.7 million subs and 300,000 net additions, followed by Charter (29.9 million subs and 265,000 additions), 

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George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.