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Cable Expands Broadband Domination as AT&T and Verizon Lose Customers (arstechnica.com) 77

The cable industry's grip on the U.S. broadband space increased last quarter, with Comcast and Charter gaining nearly 500,000 subscribers, combined. Phone companies AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, and Frontier, however, all lost Internet customers. ArsTechnica reports:The 14 largest ISPs, accounting for 95 percent of the US market, gained 192,510 Internet customers in Q2 2016, bringing the total to 91.9 million, Leichtman Research Group reported today. Cable companies accounted for all of the gains, adding 553,293 subscribers for a new total of 57 million. The phone companies lost 360,783 subscribers, bringing them down to 34.9 million. Phone companies' losses more than doubled since Q2 2015, when they lost about 150,000 subscribers. [...] Comcast and Charter, the two biggest ISPs, led the way in subscriber gains. Comcast added 220,000 broadband subscribers to boost its total to 24 million, while Charter (the new owner of Time Warner Cable) added 277,000 subscribers for a new total of 21.8 million. AT&T lost 123,000 subscribers, lowering its total to 15.6 million. Verizon lost 83,000, leaving it with 7 million Internet customers. CenturyLink and Frontier lost 66,000 and 77,000, respectively.

Cable Expands Broadband Domination as AT&T and Verizon Lose Customers

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Of course the companies that rely heavily on DSL lost customers to faster connections. DSL is today's dial up.

    • by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @04:35PM (#52715593)

      DSL has always been slower than cable, the only reason anybody ever thought otherwise is because the telcos spread FUD about cable being a shared medium. What they conveniently left out was the fact that the backbone is shared no matter what media is used, meanwhile DSL being on inferior voice grade copper has to use interleaving to prevent insane amounts of packet loss, which means retransmits that count against your rated speed with accompanying deliberate latency to compensate for jitter, in addition to the fact that they never heard of 802.1x, instead relying on PPP for authentication, which gave you about 15% layer 2 overhead that also counts against your rated speed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        call it what you will, i'd rather have slower if it was actually cheaper.... and in relation to speed, NOT just 5 bucks cheaper for 5mbit vs 30... which is a fucking sham.

        when we signed up years ago, we signed up for 3mbit speed. that's all we needed then, it's still all we need today. yet we went from $29 for 3mbit to somehow paying $69 for 30 (but only getting 15) without ever changing or upgrading anything. and that's the cheapest thing they have. WE WANT OUR SLOWER, CHEAPER SPEED BACK, CHARTER. FUCK YOU

        • I had the same problem. AT&T refused to give me DSL on my AT&T copper line in CA because they had uverse and insisted on that or nothing. So I buy via a 3rd party provider, using AT&T's DSLAM and infrastucture, and actually pay less than AT&T would have charged me for DSL.

          The root problem is that the ISPs in USA want to sell their non-ISP services, and price the services accordingly. E.G. Cable + internet is just a few dollars more than internet only.

        • xDSL at a distance of more than say 3Km and it ain't broad band. The telcos have only themselves to blame for this. For decades they continued to milk and squeeze the American consumer and businesses with their services that were built using government funds and support and their lobbied for monopolies. 25 years ago when the cable companies started to get serious about providing internet service on their trunks the fat and healthy telcos stood back and let it happen without a bit of a fight. They were s
      • ... relying on PPP for authentication, which gave you about 15% layer 2 overhead that also counts against your rated speed.

        FWIW, not all DSL providers use PPPoE. At least not here in Canada.

      • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
        This. Plus the fact that in many areas, especially urban ones. The infrastructure for telcos is shit. In my downtown, the cables running from the CO have at least 30% that are not good enough for DSL. The cost to gig up downtown to replace 1930s and 40s wiring is too great and left alone. Many more outlying areas have newer and better infrastructure, but long line lengths to the CO to deal with. DSL is lose lose all around, and the LECs will die from it.
    • by MBGMorden ( 803437 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @05:04PM (#52715847)

      It's not optimal but really it ain't terrible either. I have 50Mbps cable at my house, but I go over to my parents at least every other weekend and they live further out - 3Mbps DSL is the best available in their area (I'm surprised they even have that available).

      Honestly - if I were to download a file, it obviously goes a lot slower, but as far as just browsing the web and even watching Youtube videos on their Roku: The difference isn't even noticeable vs my connection at home.

      Whether you want to call it "broadband" or not, DSL is still a perfectly functional and usable Internet connection (unlike dial-up where just browsing the web is slow to the point of being unusable).

    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )

      I've had horrible experiences with Comcast in the long past, but over the last decade or so, their internet service has been top notch. I recently upgraded from 25Mbs to 75Mbs (and actually am getting 90Mbs). Even dealing with their internet departments on the phone has been pretty easy, and they upped their "caps" from 300GB to 1TB last month.

      Verizon doesn't service my area, and AT&T base speeds are terrible, and while they've told me I can get fiber, it's brand new and untested in my area.... I have

      • I had Comcast internet for 2 years in NJ. Technically, it worked great. But wait until you want to cancel because you're moving out; that part is a PITA. Also, if you used a debit card for payments, make sure to cancel it so they don't continue to try billing you; they're infamous for that.

    • Yeah, pretty much. Unless they put big money into large-scale VDSL2 rollouts (which needs short line lengths and even then barely matches cable in terms of throughput), copper phone line methods of delivery are fast becoming obsolete. Cable still has some life left in it. But eventually we will need proper fibre rollouts.

    • Broadband refers to the bandwidth, not the technology. As of January 2015, the FCC defines "Broadband" as a minimum of 25/3 Mbps. Prior to then it was 4/1 Mbps.

      There are technology efforts to boost DSL speed to Gigabit. Personally, I look forward to that as my cable provider needs a bit of competition.

      • Which makes my DSL broadband (45/5 Mbps).

        I suppose I should be glad I have this alternative to the cable giant.

        I might add that for my purposes this is more than I need about 95% of the time. The uptime beats the crap out of the cable giant.

        Their customer service and pricing are as bad though.

    • Of course the companies that rely heavily on DSL lost customers to faster connections.

      Not just that:
      - AT&T tried to migrate their DSL customers to their next generation "U-verse" fiber-to-the-curb technology - but only with new contract terms of service, "triple-play" bundling, tarbaby can't-go-back contracts, no third-party equipment available, a special locally-powered (i.e. phone out in power failure) long-reach box at my slightly-longer-than-standard distance from the fiber-copper transition

      • AT&T tried to migrate their DSL customers to their next generation "U-verse" fiber-to-the-curb technology ...

        If you're forced to move to a new service anyhow (incurring the extra expense, outages, hassle, etc. of a move), it's a good time to examine the competitive landscape and see if a change to a different carrier now makes sense.

    • by Cito ( 1725214 )

      DSL is faster than Comcast in my city.

      I got 100 megabit down / 25 megabit up VDSL2

      VDSL is soon going to G.Fast

      G.fast over copper = gigabit dsl

      G.fast has already rolled out in Europe in few cities as it was recently standardized after several draft versions.

      VDSL2 is now slowly upgrading to VDSL2+ to give 100-500 megabit dsl

      but im happy with 100 megabit dsl... Comcast in my town don't even offer half of that.

      and DSL is unlimited with free newsgroups access unfiltered here.

      my usage just from 1 pc on lan from d

      • G.fast over copper = gigabit dsl

        Only if you can throw a rock out your window and hit the DSLAM, are you going to get gigabit speeds over DSL. In a realistic scenario, even the best-case is less than half that... data rates of 500 Mbit/s up to 100m from the DSLAM.

        • I'd take .5 Gbit in a New York second. Verizon Fios Internet (but no tv, oddly) in rural Chester County PA (so I should not complain), but the best on offer is 150/75, and at an exorbitant price.
    • broadband
      (ËbrÉ"ËdËOEbænd)
      n
      (Telecommunications) a transmission technique using a wide range of frequencies that enables messages to be sent simultaneously, used in fast internet connections. See also baseband

      When DSL stops using multiple frequencies, you can stop calling it broadband. And don't forget that Ethernet is baseband, no matter how fast or slow it may be. /. used to have a technical audience... I guess this place is all but abandoned, now.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @04:20PM (#52715467)
    There is the cable company providing broadband, and only the cable company. Now the company (Comcast) has stated that they want to charge an additional fee for privacy protection. Amazing what you can get away with when you do not have to worry about competition.

    .
    It's Information Highway robbery!

    • Same thing here. Charter has been a pretty good company (if you aren't trying to get a cable card) but I'd still like options.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Who the fuck is going to build another line to your house and only have a 50% chance you'll sign up with their service? The economics do not work because the infrastructure construction is so expensive. Both companies would have to double their current price to deal with the loss of half of their customers. Providing broadband service isn't like selling widgets. We need the government to build the infrastructure once, and then lease capacity to any ISP.
        • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @04:55PM (#52715783)

          We need the government to build the infrastructure once, and then lease capacity to any ISP.

          The government, or a commercial "last mile" provider, wires the area, then leases it out.

          • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @05:10PM (#52715903) Journal

            Last mile is the problem. Last mile brought back to an aggregation point (COLO Facility), where MANY vendors vie for customers would SOLVE just about every problem we have with regulation and franchise agreements (government granted monopolies).

            Imagine for a second, that the municipality owned that last mile, and leased it based on the customer/subscriber and the Vendor having a contract for service. Customer could order Comcast, Verizon, Charter, Netflix/Hulu, HBOnly or whatever . It might bring in the a la carte CATV we've all been wanting. I ONLY want ESPN and News, I don't want the 85 Shopping channels that you currently offer, unless you PAY me to take them.

            • Imagine for a second, that the municipality owned that last mile, and leased it based on the customer/subscriber and the Vendor having a contract for service.

              Okay:
              * Network build-out goes slower, and is even more strictly limited to those politically and financially influential areas.
              * Your city goes into bond debt, which doubles the cost, and raises taxes to fund what build-out they do.
              * Internet prices are higher, as the government insists on getting all their money back, up-front.
              * Service is worse, as y

              • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
                I love to see people projecting their own incompetency on the government, all of those issues exist with large corporations, like Comcast.
          • The government, or a commercial "last mile" provider, wires the area, then leases it out.

            No. The main expense is the trenching. The cost of the cable is trivial by comparison. A better solution is to trench once and install a 6" conduit between the street and the house. Then this conduit belongs to the homeowner, who can give anyone permission to run cable through it. A corporation or government should not own the conduit, just like they should not own my driveway.

            The conduits along the streets should be at least 12" in diameter, and should be owned by the local government. Any bonded co

    • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @04:23PM (#52715495)

      They also will pad their cable TV numbers by pricing Internet Only plans above Internet+TV plans. So to save money, you need to be counted as a cable TV subscriber even if you put the box in your closet and never plug it in.

      I'm not in Comcast territory, but I'm not much better off. Time Warner Cable... I mean Charter is my only high-speed wired option.

      • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
        Yes - it was cheaper for me to bundle the cheapest TV service with my internet to get the best price. I didn't really need TV Latino, but I didn't hook the box up anyway.... until I decided to cut satellite service out. Getting TV and internet from two different companies just to get the best each has to offer is expensive - and not worth it when you consider it's just TV (and not even premium movie channels).
      • I'm not in Comcast territory, but I'm not much better off. Time Warner Cable... I mean Charter is my only high-speed wired option.

        I'd give anything to have Time Warner as "my only high-speed wired option". They're the only ones offering $15/mo internet service to everyone (other providers have $10/mo service only for a few low-income families). When I moved-in here, I had the choice of $65/mo FIOS or $50/mo cable.

        Now that the idiots who are supposed to be helping the public instead just let Charter buy Ti

  • Yeah I can get better deal with DSL but they always have pricing for one year and then you have to renegotiate, or you have to sign up for a year of service.... I absolutely hate this kind of stuff. All account setup is automated anyway don't give me BS about a contract... the cable is just month to month so I stick with it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Lack of investment in deploying DSL, the highest speeds I see advertised are "up-to" 40mbps. Meanwhile on cable my 150mbps package tests out to 170-180mbps every time I test it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It *may* depend on the timeframe measured. I change between cable & Verizon dsl or fios depending on price. Once one gets too pricey (always do) at end of a year long contract I switch to the cheaper one(s) until they rise in price & I do it again.

    * I'm sure this is done in waves by many people probably at the time I do it for the same reasons, money/cost - & this pattern of MINE? It's being reflected in the article above via the 2 ISP/BSP providers I do this with every year too.

    (I say this sinc

    • by DewDude ( 537374 )

      I change between cable & Verizon dsl or fios depending on price.

      I don't believe you. When you subscribe to FiOS; they disconnect your copper and have no way of going back to it. It is *extremely* difficult to keep copper unless you are a business, or have some major legitimate reason for keeping copper. In which case; they will charge you for an extra line.

      • I change between cable & Verizon dsl or fios depending on price.

        I don't believe you. When you subscribe to FiOS; they disconnect your copper and have no way of going back to it. It is *extremely* difficult to keep copper unless you are a business, or have some major legitimate reason for keeping copper. In which case; they will charge you for an extra line.

        Huh? Oh you mean for the phone line... Yea, if Verizon/Frontier is your LEC and they have installed FIOS and you didn't have another cable option, then you are up the optical creek. But I dare say that's not very common. I know of new construction areas where this is true, where they never put in copper, and they are stuck with one option, but this is not very common around here.

        At my home, they installed FIOS about 10 years ago. They left the TWC copper connection dangling and just hooked up the FIOS ON

        • by DewDude ( 537374 )
          I wasn't including any discussions about another cable provider; those technically aren't Verizon's lines and they legally can't touch them. But that guy was saying he switched "between Verizon DSL or FiOS"; which I find nutty since Verizon typically physically disconnects your PTSN/POTS copper and will not reconnect it.

          Going between cable and FiOS isn't an issue...move the coax from one to the other. They shouldn't have done anything to TWC's copper; as that's technically owned by TWC and they legally can
  • I was on Verizon Fios for 10 years ... They jacked my rate up to $83/month for internet only at 10/10mb ... They offer Triple play with 50/50 to new customers at $59.99, but they couldn't offer me jack because I'm not a new customer. Now I'm not their customer at all.

    Now I've got Cox (cable) for $39.99 15/5 and I'm receiving offers from Verizon 2-3 times a week. Higher speeds available ... The base speed is fast enough for my needs.

    If only Verizon 1) respected/valued their current / long-time custo

    • by DewDude ( 537374 )
      That's crazy. Every time my contract is up for renewal; I'm able to get the nice steep discounts on service.

      I'm only paying $15 more than I was 6 years ago. I've gone from 25/25 to 35/35 to 75/75; I've gone from the lowest HD package to the largest HD package with Starz and HBO completer.

      Ok...the TV hardware got more expensive when I added more TVs...but even then I was able to negotiate.

      You just never learned how to deal with these people. You're one of those "they're not offering it to me so I gues
  • by netsavior ( 627338 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @04:51PM (#52715741)
    The only reason I am off AT&T and on Time Warner is because AT&T capped their services as leverage to try to force you to subscribe to Direct TV or Uverse TV. (unlimited internet access if you subscribe to TV).

    I didn't want to pay 30 dollars a month for an extra service that I won't use, so ironically I had to call up the TV provider, and subscribe to their internet only plan, for cheaper than AT&T.

    They tried forcing their customers to pay for their dumb mistake of acquiring Direct TV, and it didn't work.
    • Ditto to this. I was content with Uverse, but with 4 rokus streaming I had to switch to Time Warner. The data caps were a retarded idea.
    • AT&T here is cheaper than Comcast for me. And the advantage that it's not Comcast.

  • As much as I don't want to -- after almost 20 years of being on Verizon DSL, I'm going to have to switch to "xfinity".

    I can only get ~3Mbit via DSL, due to my distance from the CO, combined with Verizon's aging equipment (circa 1992!) in my semi-rural location. There are people in all directions about 10 miles away from me that have FIOS as an option, which I'd gladly pay more for, but Verizon (in a surprise bit of candor) has told me that we'll "never get" FIOS at our location.

    I can pay about the same for

  • by Streetlight ( 1102081 ) on Tuesday August 16, 2016 @05:11PM (#52715913) Journal
    In other news, pay TV subscriptions drop 665,000 in the second quarter, 2016

    http://www.leichtmanresearch.c... [leichtmanresearch.com]

    Maybe many those slow DSL and satellite video subscribers moved to cable companies to get the speed they need for streaming video entertainment.
  • Around here the cable company is losing customers hand over fist to the telco.

    Those talking about how cable is a superior technology to DSL don't know what they're talking about. What makes either technology superior or inferior is the implementation, both technologies are capable of good solid high speeds if implemented right. Around here that means DSL is the way to go, the cable company advertises speeds they can't possibly provide due to oversubscribed nodes and lack of infrastructure upgrades, while th

    • by TheSync ( 5291 )

      Those talking about how cable is a superior technology to DSL don't know what they're talking about. What makes either technology superior or inferior is the implementation, both technologies are capable of good solid high speeds if implemented right.

      There is an inherent problem with twisted pair. If your local DSL loop is over 2.5 km, you will never get over 5 Mbps. The average US local loop is 4+ km.

      It is true that if your DSL loop is shorter, say 600m, VDSL2 can get you 100 Mbps, and if it is crazy sh

      • by green1 ( 322787 )

        I could just as easily say there's an inherent problem with coax that if you have too many subscribers on a node you'll never get full speeds.
        The issue is that twisted pair has less congestion as it's not a shared medium and unlike DSL with DSLAMs out in the community, coax only has a few nodes in central locations.

        I think you completely ignored my sentence about implementation. If implemented correctly DSL can do great speeds. The telco here has spent the last decade moving DSLAMs out in to the field close

        • by Chas ( 5144 )

          Who gives a shit how congested it is if you're getting 5.0/0.5 on twisted pair DSL and 250/20 on coax?

          DSL: Oh! Coax is so congested! Boo hoo! It'll only take me a day and a half to download this!
          Cable: Oh crap! I'm so congested! It's going to take me 20 minutes to download this!

          • by green1 ( 322787 )

            Who cares how far from the CO you are if you get 100/25 on DSL and 10/2 on coax?

            Cable! Oh! DSL is so distance limited! Boo hoo! It'll only take me a day and a half to download this!
            DSL: Oh crap! I'm so distance limited! It's going to take me 20 minutes to download this!

            You continue to completely ignore implementation. Your complaints have zero to do with the underlying technology, and everything to do with how it's implemented. Just because the cable company got it right in your location while the telco scr

  • They were offering me 6Mbps DSL! Wow! My Charter service averages 11 times that for just a little more $$. I laughed as I threw the letter in the garbage.

    A long time ago during the dial-up dark ages, I told the cable and phone companies that whoever got to my house first would get my business. Cable won that race by years, and I have no intention of ever changing.
    • My mother in a small town could only get 1Mbps DSL. Which was much preferrable to her dialup or a spotty signal from a neighbor (with permission). No other options available without going to cable which was very overpriced and would require extra installation costs. But 1Mbps is plenty for just browsing the web.

  • Stupid phone companies! They could had taken over too, but they decided to give up because it is too costly. :(

  • I had (past tense) Frontier DSL for over a decade. They did gradually increase speed from 2.1Mbps to 3.6Mbps, but this was still slow for video. The upload speed of 420K was also crippling with cloud backup and photo sharing(my first Backblaze backup took 6 weeks). I have two phone lines coming into my house, so I repeatedly asked them about bonded DSL to get a more usable speed. They were clueless. They'd said they'd provide me 2 un-bonded services at the price of 2 separate services, but had no plan
  • Consider there is no specially made internet infrastructure to the users door and this is all a retrofit. Of course the guy with the most copper in the cable is going to do the best. When there are more options, users will jump ship rapidly.. if only just to try them out. That is the problem with abusing your customer base for marginal profit increases. You do make a lot of money over a long period of time, but when a new technologies comes out you risk have a mass market exodus from your produt, even as y

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