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Cable companies now serve up more Internet than cable TV, study shows

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The cable TV and Internet landscape is a rapidly changing one, and it’s become increasingly clear to all parties involved that cord-cutting plays a significant role in the transformation. New data released this week by the Leichtman Research Group shows that during Q2 2014 major pay-TV providers lost about 300,000 net video subscribers, but added roughly 385,000 new high-speed Internet subscribers. This year top U.S. cable providers have passed an important milestone that has been anticipated for quite some time: they now have more broadband subscribers than traditional pay-TV subscribers.

Related: Pay-TV operators lost more subscribers than they added for the first time last year

The seventeen largest cable and telephone providers in the U.S., which represent about 93 percent of the market, now account for over 85.9 million subscribers. Top cable companies – including Comcast, Time Warner, Charter, Cablevision, and others –  have nearly 50.7 million broadband subscribers, while top telephone companies like AT&T, Verizon, and CenturyLink account for the other 35.2 million subscribers. The latest increase in broadband subscribers amounted to 130 percent of those added in Q2 2013 – over double what the big boys of the industry added last year. In other words: cable is shrinking, and broadband is on the rise.

The trend has finally pushed the forecast of increasing broadband subscribers ahead of Pay-TV subscribers. At the end of Q2 2014, top cable providers had about 49,915,000 broadband subscribers and only 49,910,000 cable TV subscribers. While that may be a minuscule majority, it’s easy to see the writing on the wall. As time goes on, it appears more and more customers are deciding to nix traditional pay-TV models, choosing instead to find their news, media, and video entertainment online.

One other interesting piece of data from Leichtman’s research is the fact that top cable companies were responsible for a whopping 99 percent of the net broadband additions for the quarter – telecommunications companies made up the meager remaining 1 percent. It appears that, for now at least, Pay-TV giants like Comcast and its proposed bride Time Warner Cable are in the drivers seat when it comes to offering the Internet service of choice.

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Alex Tretbar
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Alex Tretbar, audio/video intern, is a writer, editor, musician, gamer and sci-fi nerd raised on EverQuest and Magic: The…
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