Reflecting on 1Q16

While cord-cutting promises to remain one of 2016’s most talked-about industry topics, the explosive growth of broadband is adding a lively new dimension to the debate over the future of cable companies.

The Leichtman Research Group (LRG) reported that, in Q1 2016, the 17 largest cable and telephone providers in the U.S. gained nearly 1.1 million net additional high-speed Internet subscribers, bringing their total number of broadband subscribers to 91.5 million. It was a particularly strong quarter for cable companies, which accounted for the bulk of the new subscribers at 1,065,000, compared to only 10,000 for telcos.

“Broadband in the U.S. continues to grow, with cable providers accounting for 111 percent of the three million net broadband additions over the past year,” notes Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG.

This marks the third time in the past five quarters that cable companies have added more than a million net subscribers.

In related news, LRG also reported that the top nine cable companies gained 53,000 video subscribers in Q1 2016, making it a strong quarter compared to last year’s Q1, when they lost 65,000 subscribers. In fact, it was the first time that top cable operators have reported net gains in video subscribers in the first quarter since 2008. Cable proved to be a top performer for the pay-TV group, along with DirecTV, which also saw major net gains.

What does all this mean for the future?

Though the numbers remain open to interpretation, the industry is proving its resilience. As the demand for high-quality, high-speed Internet increases, cable companies are well positioned for the foreseeable future.