Broadband internet growth stalls in 2020

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The largest cable and wireline phone providers acquired about 2.95 million net additional broadband internet subscribers in 2021.

That’s a big drop from the 4.86 million signups in 2020 but better than 2.55 million in 2019, according to Leichtman Research Group data.

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.

Broadband growth can be at least partially attributed to both wider access to the services, especially in more suburban and rural areas of the country, as well as an increase in customers defecting from traditional pay TV providers in favor of streamers, which require a reliable internet connection.

Meanwhile, pay TV providers shed subscribers in 2020.

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 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.