Operators gain 2.5 million broadband customers in third quarter

The top 20 American cable and telephone service providers have signed up more than 2.5 million additional broadband subscribers in the third quarter of 2006, the Leichtman Research Group reported last week.

The cable and telephone providers, representing 94 percent of the U.S. market, now account for almost 50.9 million high-speed Internet customers, the data found. Cable has more than 28.1 million broadband subscribers and 22.7 million DSL and other broadband customers.

Top telephone providers added 1.33 million broadband subscribers, representing 53 percent of the net broadband additions for the quarter versus cable. The total net broadband additions were about 100,000 fewer than the third quarter of last year.

Telephone companies have added more broadband subscribers than cable providers in each of the last eight quarters, acquiring about 1.5 million more subscribers than cable during the past two years, the research found.

The top cable broadband providers still have a 5.4 million-subscriber advantage over the telephone companies, and command a 55 percent share of the market.

According to the LRG report, the top five cable broadband providers in third quarter this years were: Comcast, which posted a net broadband subscriber gain of 536,000, followed by Time Warner (251,000), Cox (75,000), Charter (88,100) and Cablevision (72,438). The top five telephone providers were: AT&T, which gained a net broadband sub boost of 374,000, followed by Verizon (448,000), Bell South (176,000), Qwest (175,000) and Embarq (84,000).