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U.S. Broadband Service Additions Declined in 2009

Broadband service delivery in the United States is highly concentrated -- with most new subscriber additions still going to the very largest service providers, as new competition continues to elude the marketplace.

Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) found that the nineteen largest cable and telephone providers in the U.S. market -- representing about 93 percent of the market -- acquired nearly 4.1 million net additional high-speed Internet subscribers in 2009.

Annual net broadband additions in 2009 were 75 percent of the total in 2008.

The top broadband providers now account for nearly 71.8 million subscribers -- with cable companies having 39.3 million broadband subscribers, and telephone companies having 32.5 million subscribers.

The market status-quo remains intact, with no immediate signs of progressive change on the horizon.

Highlights from the Leichtman market study include:

- The top cable companies netted 57 percent of the broadband additions in 2009.

- The top cable companies added over 2.3 million broadband subscribers in 2009, 73 percent of the total net additions for the top cable companies in 2008.

- The top telephone providers added over 1.7 million broadband subscribers in 2009, 78 percent of the total net additions for the top telephone companies in 2008.

- In the fourth quarter of 2009, cable and telephone providers added 890,000 broadband subscribers, with cable companies adding about 580,000 subscribers and phone companies adding about 310,000 subscribers in the quarter.

"The top broadband providers in the U.S. accounted for 71.8 million at the end of 2009, an increase of nearly 39 million subscribers in the past five years," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group.

The task of igniting new substantive broadband service market development in the U.S. now awaits action from the FCC and/or Congress. Clearly, there's little hope for meaningful broadband adoption progress under the current market conditions.

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