Fewer homes subscribe to broadband Internet service than they did two years ago, according to a new survey, the first sign that the cord-cutting phenomenon that has plagued cable television may be spreading. Meanwhile, smartphone ownership continued to expand, as more people are relying solely on mobile Internet connections.
Although the decline uncovered in the Pew Research survey was modest — 67% of homes had broadband this year down from 70% in 2013 — the results marked the first time in decades that the reach of the wired Internet shrunk among households. Some 13% of households reported that they are “smartphone only,” up from 8% in 2013.
If the trend continues, cable companies like Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (TWC) may have to rethink some of their strategies for coping with cord cutting among television viewers. The big cable companies have said they’ll be able to make up for lost TV revenue by charging more for broadband Internet connections, imposing usage caps and offering online TV.