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US telcos add over a million customers in record-breaking quarter

Telcos in the US grew by over a million broadband customers in Q1 2020.

A new study from Leichtman Research Group found that the largest cable and telephone providers in the US – which represent roughly 96% of the market – acquired about 1,165,000 net additional broadband Internet subscribers in Q1 2020, compared to a pro forma gain of about 955,000 subscribers in Q1 2019.

In total, these providers now account for about 102.4 million subscribers, with top cable companies having 69.2 million broadband subscribers, and top wireline phone companies having 33.2 million subscribers.

The start of 2020 proved to be particularly fruitful, with additions being 122% of those in Q1 2019. Broadband additions overall were the most in any quarter since Q1 2015.

The top cable companies – Comcast and Charter being the largest added about 1,230,000 subscribers in 1Q 2020. Comcast grew by 477,000 to 29,106,000 total subscribers while Charter grew to 27,246,000 – an increase of 582,000. (It is worth noting that Charter’s Q1 results include about 120,000 net adds with 60-day free service related to the impact of COVID-19).

In total, cable broadband net additions in the US were the most in any quarter since Q1 2007.

Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, said: “With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, there were more quarterly net broadband additions in Q1 2020 than in any quarter in five years. Top cable companies performed particularly well, having the most net additions for cable broadband services in any quarter in thirteen years.”