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Broadband-Only Homes Gain Traction, As Cord-Cutting Soars

Fern Siegel

Cord-cutting continues, as broadband-only homes record upticks.

Market research firm Kagan found 37 percent of wired broadband homes cut the traditional video cord year-to-date. That’s a big jump from six years ago, when 12.5 percent cut multichannel video subs.

Penetration of broadband-only in U.S. households jumped from 8.8 percent to 29.5 percent during the same period.

For the first half of the year interval, the broadband-only net gain is about 80% higher than the previous record, set in 2019.

The pandemic is escalating cord cutting, since the economic hits are necessitating budget tightening.

“Given the economic headwinds of the first half, U.S. households likely were looking to cut back on discretionary spending, including entertainment,” said Tony Lenoir in an S&P Global blog post. “At a monthly $100-plus average, traditional multichannel services stand out in budgeting decisions, particularly in the era of streaming video proliferation.”

A second consideration is the growth of streaming services, such as Peacock and HBO Max. (Disney+ and Apple TV+ debuted in late 2019.)

Last year, Kagan forecast homes with broadband, but without pay TV subs, would grow to 40.8 million in 2023. The researcher predicted broadband-only homes would be 41.7 percent of wireline broadband homes in 2023.