Thursday, July 23, 2015

Comcast Broadband Subs Exceed Video Subs

With its release of quarterly earnings, Comcast Cable has watched its number of broadband subscribers grow while its video subscribers continue to drop. And for the first time, the total of broadband subs at 22.54 mm is now higher than video subs at 22.3 mm.  That differential is only expected to widen for some time as video cord cutting accelerates.  At the same time, Comcast also said that the increase in both broadband and phone subscriptions are also slowing, according to the Multichannel article.  Of interesting note, Comcast currently sees 37% of its subscribers taking the triple play products, video, broadband, and phone. 

As consumers continue to embrace streaming to the home and to their mobile devices, companies that provide broadband or cellular platforms to the consumer are few and far between.  There is still only a few choices for a broadband subscription, depending on where you live, from a franchised cable provider like Comcast and perhaps an overbuilder like RCN or FIOS or U-verse, to a cellular provider like Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint, or your phone company's DSL offerings, a slower version of broadband.  And most of us likely take advantage of both a broadband subscription and a cellular subscription. 

Cell companies today enjoy offering data plans that let them charge more as you exceed certain usage benchmarks.  Cable still provides an all-you-can-eat model for broadband usage.  Given the loss of video subs, at some point the economic model for Comcast and others will be to pursue a more stringent broadband usage model that charges more as more data is consumed.  But given the limited competition for broadband offerings, there seems little the consumer can do today to fight back as broadband fees continue to rise. 

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