DURHAM, N.H.—Leichtman Research Group (LRG) has issued a new report showing that the largest cable and wireline phone providers in the U.S. – representing about 96% of the market – acquired about 2,950,000 net additional broadband Internet subscribers in 2021, compared to a pro forma gain of about 4,860,000 subscribers in 2020, and about 2,550,000 in 2019.
While the new subscribers were down substantially from 2020, LRG noted that the sub gains in 2021 were in fact higher than those in the pre-pandemic years of 2016 to 2919.
As usual in recent years, cable dominated market, accounting for 95% of the new subscribers.
These top broadband providers now account for about 108.4 million subscribers, with top cable companies having about 75.7 million broadband subscribers, and top wireline phone companies having about 32.7 million subscribers.
Key data points from the report include:
- Overall, broadband additions in 2021 were 61% of the total in 2020, and 115% of the total in 2019.
- The top cable companies had about 2.8 million net adds in 2021, 58% of the cable broadband additions in 2020, and 89% of additions in 2019.
- The top wireline phone companies added about 150,000 subscribers in 2021 – compared to a gain of about 30,000 subscribers in 2020, and a net loss of about 590,000 subscribers in 2019.
- Telcos had about 1.8 million net adds via fiber in 2021 – compared to about 1.64 million fiber net adds in 2020.
- Among these top providers, cable companies accounted for 95% of the net broadband adds in 2021 – compared to 99% in 2020, and 123% in 2019.
- The two largest broadband providers were Comcast, with 31,901,000 subs, up by 1,327,000 from 2020 and Charter, with 30,089,000 subs, up 1,210,000 subs from 2020.
“Broadband additions proved to be resilient in 2021 following 2020’s pandemic-related surge in subscribers,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “The top broadband providers added significantly fewer subscribers in 2021 than in 2020, but the net adds in 2021 were higher than in each year from 2016-2019.”
More information including sub counts for individual companies can be found at www.LeichtmanResearch.com.
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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.