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Comcast, the largest broadband company in the U.S., is getting even bigger

Yes, they sell TV, too. But high-speed internet access is where the growth is.

Business Leaders Speak At Fortune Global Forum In San Francisco
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts
Justin Sullivan / Getty

Comcast used to be the biggest cable TV company in the U.S. And it still is. But now it’s something more important: It’s the biggest broadband company in the U.S.

Comcast morphed from cable company to internet company a couple years ago, and the trend has continued since then: Its cable TV customer base has stayed relatively flat, and its broadband customer base has increased, fueled by people who want to pay for internet but not for TV. (Comcast owns NBCUniversal, which is an investor in Vox Media, which owns this site.)

Today the company announced it has 22.5 million TV subscribers and 25.1 million broadband subs. That puts it a couple million subscribers ahead of Charter, its nearest competitor for internet access, and well ahead of everyone else.

One reason that leaderboard is important to keep in mind is that in most cases, Comcast isn’t actually competing with Charter or any other broadband provider: The majority of Americans don’t have a second choice when it comes to high-speed internet.

That’s not the case with pay TV. The cable TV guys have had competition from the satellite TV guys for many years, and more recently from the telcos. And now there are even more players: There are five different pay TV internet services, with more on the way.

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