80 Percent U.S. Internet Penetration of Households; 70 Percent Penetration of Broadband

By Gary Kim December 10, 2013

Nearly 80 percent of U.S. households are now are connected to the Internet, representing 86.1 million households. Some 70.2 percent of U.S. households were connected using high-speed access services in June 2013, growing to 71.3 percent by the end of 2013, up from 69.6 percent in 2012, IHS iSuppli says. Cable TV companies have market share exceeding 50 percent, IHS isuppli says. Other suppliers would estimate cable share at a more-substantial 58 percent.

Telco connections represent a more complicated story, since many telcos are replacing older digital subscriber line connections with optical or other hybrid-fiber-copper connections. That means DSL lines are shrinking as telcos replace those lines, serving the same customers, using a new fiber connection. At the end of June 2013, there were 31 million DSL connections in service, representing 34 percent of the fixed broadband market.

But, overall, DSL share has been shrinking by 0.3 percent each quarter for the last 18 months, even as suppliers such as AT&T and Verizon Communications switch customers to fiber connections, suggesting that telco services are losing some customers, presumably to cable TV providers. Still, fiber to the home connections are growing about 3.1 percent quarterly. At nearly seven million connections at the end of the second quarter of 2013, FTTH had about eight percent share of the fixed broadband Internet market.

A separate study by Leichtman Research shows how market share is changing. Just 17 providers represent 93 percent of the high speed access market. In the third quarter of 2013 those firms added a net 520,000 net high speed access subscribers. The top cable companies accounted for 84 percent of the net broadband additions for the third quarter of 2013.

The cable companies have nearly 48.7 million broadband subscribers while the telephone companies have 34.9 million subscribers, according to Leichtman Research.

AT&T and Verizon added 828,000 fiber subscribers (AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS) in the third quarter of 2013, while having a net loss of 798,000 DSL subscribers. U-verse and FiOS broadband subscribers now account for 45 percent of telco broadband subscribers, compared to 36 percent in 2012,  Leichtman Research says.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

Contributing Editor

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