- The number of cable subscribers is up 1.47% since 2022
- The number of fiber subscribers is down about 0.65% since 2022
- Fixed wireless is up over 400% since 2022
- Altice is the fastest-growing cable internet ISP by subscribers since the start of 2022
- Verizon and T-Mobile together gained over four million subscribers since the start of 2022
The number of internet users has been consistently increasing for decades. According to the Pew Research Center only 52% of American adults used the internet in 2015 – that number reached a staggering 93% in 2021 and continues to grow.
Since internet service has become a non-negotiable utility for most of the nation, ISPs have been working to expand their coverage and grow their subscriber base. We’ll outline some of the fastest-growing ISPs and internet technologies of the last few years.
The data used in this article is sourced from Leichtman Research Group’s 2021, 2022 and Q1 2023 data reports. We also sourced statistics from Pew Research Center’s Internet/Broadband Fact Sheet.
Fixed wireless is the fastest-growing internet technology right now
Fixed wireless internet is the fastest-growing internet technology right now (by subscribers) with over 400% growth in subscribers since the start of 2022.
The total top fixed wireless subscriber count at the start of 2022 was 927,000 and climbed to over 5 million at the end of Q1 2023 – 4,108,000 more subscribers.
This surpasses cable and fiber internet growth astronomically. Cable internet grew only by 1,101,625 subscribers (1.47%) since the start of 2022 and fiber internet growth actually declined by 202,472 subscribers (0.65%).
Despite fixed wireless’s impressive growth, cable internet still has the most subscribers of any internet technology in Q1 2023 at 76,233,603.
T-Mobile home internet and Verizon 5G home internet offer lower speeds than competing cable and fiber internet providers, but since it’s a relatively new internet technology that has only hit the market in the last few years, it can be appealing to many consumers looking to switch to a new ISP and internet technology.
T-Mobile and Verizon 5G boast the most added subscribers
At the start of 2022, T-Mobile 5G home internet had 646,000 subscribers and gained 2,523,000 million subscribers by Q1 2023, bringing their total subscriber base to 3,169,000. This is not surprising, considering T-Mobile’s massive growth in the 5G internet sphere since it merged with Sprint in 2020.
T-Mobile home internet offers one 5G home internet plan for $50/mo. with speeds up to 245 Mbps. It has no hidden fees, price hikes or data caps and is available to 70% of the U.S.
Verizon 5G home internet has also made strides in its 5G internet subscriber base. Starting with only 281,000 subscribers at the start of 2022, Verizon 5G’s subscriber base jumped 564% and gained 1,585,000, bringing its subscriber count to 1,866,000 in Q1 2023.
Verizon 5G home internet offers two plans starting at $25.00/mo. with speeds up to 1,000 Mbps. It’s not as widely available as T-Mobile home internet, covering about 13% of the country.
Comcast’s Xfinity has the most net adds of major cable internet providers
Out of the top cable companies, Xfinity gained the most subscribers from the start of 2022 to Q1 2023. Xfinity gained 423,000 subscribers to bring its total count to 32,324,000.
Xfinity has cable internet plans starting at $24.99/mo. with speeds ranging from 75 – 6,000 Mbps. It’s available to about 34% of the country with coverage spanning throughout the Northeastern, Central and Western regions of the country.
How did other cable internet providers do?
Spectrum was not far behind, gaining 420,000 subscribers since the start of 2022, bringing its total count to 30,509,000.
Altice’s Optimum has the highest percentage change in subscriber growth at 5.16%, but gained about half the subscribers of Xfinity and Spectrum.
Breezeline was the only top cable provider in the dataset with a subscriber decline, losing 26,875 subscribers (-3.75%) since the start of 2022.
Breezeline plans start at $19.99/mo. And have speeds from 100 – 1,000 Mbps. However, it’s not widely available, serving less than 1% of the country.
Fiber subscriptions are slightly down
Overall, fiber subscriptions have decreased by 202,472 since the start of 2022. While this is only a 0.65% decline, some fiber ISPs saw much more significant decreases in subscribers.
CenturyLink fiber subscriptions are down by over 9% since the start of 2022, the biggest decline among top fiber internet providers.
CenturyLink lost 309,000 subscribers, bringing its total count to 2,981,000.
CenturyLink offers its fiber internet service to less than 2% of the country. It has plans starting at $49.00/mo. with speeds up to 1,000 Mbps.
AT&T is the only other top fiber provider to show a decline in subscribers, though not as dramatic as CenturyLink’s. AT&T Fiber’s subscriptions declined by 1.03% since the start of 2022, a loss of 159,000 subscribers.
AT&T Fiber has plans starting at $55.00/mo. With speeds from 300 – 4,700 Mbps. It’s available to about 10% of the country with coverage focused in the Midwest and Southern regions.
TDS Fiber internet had the highest growth percentage at 5.12%, gaining 25,100 subscribers.
Verizon Fios had the highest number of net adds, with 163,000 gained subscribers since the start of 2022. This brings their subscriber count to 7,528,000 at Q1 2023.
Verizon Fios has fiber plans starting at $49.99/mo. with speeds from 300 – 940 Mbps. Verizon Fios is not widely available, only serving about 9% of the country with coverage focused in the Northeast.
ISP provider coverage expansion
Comcast’s Xfinity has plans to expand its network throughout 2023, rolling out up to one million new passes across different states.
Comcast will expand its current footprint in Texas to 80,000 new locations, a $100 million investment.
With a $152 million investment in the Pacific Northwest, Comcast will connect 60,000 more locations in Washington and Oregon.
In the Southeast, Comcast will add new locations across Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee.
In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, Comcast announced an expansion of over 7,200 locations in Pennsylvania, 2,600 locations in Connecticut and 2,100 unserved locations in West Virginia.
Comcast also plans to invest $75 million to expand its network in Pueblo and Pueblo West, Colorado. Minnesota, Kansas and Indiana will also see newly added service locations.
T-Mobile home internet plans to expand its 5G network to 35 million new locations by the end of 2023, with a focus on rural areas.
Verizon is planning to build out 500,000 new Fios fiber passings in 2023 with hopes to expand its current coverage footprint to 18 million locations.
Verizon’s 5G internet service currently reaches 200 million people, and it will continue to expand throughout this year to rural and suburban areas.
Spectrum will build out its footprint to over 1 million unserved locations as part of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). There will be build-outs across 24 states with completion expected in 2027-2028.
AT&T plans to expand its fiber footprint to 30 million locations by the end of 2025.
Optimum had a goal to expand to 900,000 new fiber passings by the end of 2023. Optimum states it’s on track with that goal, expecting to reach 300,000 new locations in Q2.
The past year has marked significant growth for many ISPs, especially 5G providers like T-Mobile and Verizon. While fiber and cable providers saw less growth, ISPs of all technology types are working to expand their current footprints to accommodate the growing necessity for high-speed internet access. Check your address to find out if one of these internet providers are available near you.
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Written by:Camryn Smith
Camryn Smith is an Associate Writer with Allconnect.com. She specializes in writing about the broadband industry and helping consumers navigate complex internet service purchasing decisions…. Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
Reviewed by:Matthew Davis
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