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Wireline Connections Slide as Video and Broadband Fail to Replace Voice Losses

3Q11 Connections: ILEC Quarterly and Annual Growth Rates 

The overall snapshot for ILEC connections growth in 2011 remains negative, despite some positive trends in broadband and video.  Overall wireline connections have fallen by 3.7% in the year ended September 30, 2011, driven by connections losses at the largest companies. Verizon’s wireline connection total fell by 4.8% YoY while AT&T’s total dropped by nearly 3%. A few smaller companies are still growing, however; the mean change for the sample was +1.5%, although acquisitions were behind the really notable gains.

Through the end of September, the public ILECs lost 10.3% (YoY) of their voice customers, bringing the total down to 91.6m. Over the same time frame, total ILEC broadband connections increased by 10.5%, to just less than 40m and video connections increased by 13.2%, to 13.6m.

On a quarterly basis, total wireline connections fell 1.1% in the period, but broadband growth was less than 1% and video growth was just 2.1%. On the other hand, voice connections fell by just 2.3%, which is slower on an annualized basis than the 10.3% lost YoY.

NTELOS’ whopping 74% gain and Shentel’s 10% increase in wireline connections were acquisition fueled, but a handful of companies did enjoy organic growth.  Notably, Consolidated Communications managed to grow its voice connection base marginally YoY and posted a 2.6% organic increase in total connections.

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