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CATV Voice and Internet Subs Continue to Rise

3Q11 Connections: CATV Voice and Broadband Connections

Amid continuing television subscriber losses in 3Q11, the cablecos continued to add to their voice and broadband customer bases in the quarter. Overall, the CATV providers in our sample added 2.5m broadband subs and 2.2m voice subs YoY in 3Q11, annual increases of 7.1% and 12.2%.

The voice gain however is somewhat skewed due to a reporting change by Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) that resulted in a misleading annual gain of 855k voice subs in 3Q11. Prior to 1Q11, Cablevision had broken out VoIP connections separately, but it now reports VoIP subs in its overall voice totals. Adjusting for Cablevision, the cablecos still grew voice subs at a strong 8.5% clip over the past year.

Suddenlink and Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) reported the best annual voice connection growth on a percentage basis in 3Q11, as both increased their voice subs over 28%. The gains at Suddenlink were mostly driven by its 2Q11 acquisition of NPG Digital Phone. As has been the case for the past six quarters, Comcast (Nasdaq:CMCSA) reported the lion’s share of the quarterly voice gains in 3Q11, accounting for 133k of the sample’s 217k net voice adds.

A majority of the broadband gains were also reported by the larger cablecos, with Time Warner (NYSE:TWC) and Comcast fetching 66% of the 550k subscriber adds. Elsewhere, Suddenlink and Knology (Nasdaq:KNOL) picked up subs from acquisitions driving their sample best 21% YoY broadband gains. Perhaps the strongest organic broadband growth was turned in by Charter (Nasdaq:CHTR) which added 79k broadband subs QoQ in 3Q11 as it continues to market and lead with its Internet services, branding itself more as an ISP and less as a traditional cableco.

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