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Comcast: Broadband subs hurt by fiber-optic rivals, economy

Comcast added 118,000 broadband Internet customers in the second quarter, a tally that was lower than some expectations. Executives said Comcast was seeing tougher competition from fiber-optic rivals Verizon and AT&T and economic doldrums.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

Comcast added 118,000 broadband Internet customers in the second quarter, a tally that was lower than some expectations. Executives said Comcast was seeing tougher competition from fiber-optic rivals Verizon and AT&T and economic doldrums.

Speaking on a conference call, Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis said competition picked up from Verizon's FiOS as well as AT&T U-verse services. Comcast operating chief Steve Burke also noted that Comcast had aggressive pricing a year ago and some price sensitive customers would naturally drop service as those promotions went away. Indeed, Verizon added 196,000 net FiOS Internet subscribers in the second quarter. AT&T added 209,000 U-verse TV subscribers in its second quarter and said the Internet attach rate topped 90 percent, or about 188,000 net adds.

Analysts were expecting Comcast to add roughly 180,000 Internet subscribers, according to Deutsche Bank. Miller Tabak expected 195,000 Internet broadband subscribers for Comcast. However, analysts were heartened that Comcast was focusing on profitable growth instead of just volume.

The Internet broadband additions were one of the few worry spots on Comcast's quarter (statement). Comcast, which aims to close the acquisition of NBC Universal by the end of 2010, reported second quarter revenue of $9.52 billion, up 6.1 percent from a year ago. Earnings were 31 cents a share, a penny shy of Wall Street estimates. However, expenses related to the NBC Universal acquisition cut about 2 cents a share from Comcast's earnings. Excluding those expenses, Comcast had better-than-expected results.

By the numbers:

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