U.S. residential broadband subscriptions are on track to top 122 million at the end of 2022, according to a new report written by Ian Olgeirson and John Fletcher at Kagan. The analysis predicts that U.S. residential broadband will see even greater competition dominated by market share battles, as the industry reaches a saturation point at >90% residential service penetration.

According to the authors, “There simply are not enough subscribers to accommodate the growth ambitions of each segment. Cable operators believe they can continue to take market share, the telcos believe they can steal momentum with fiber, the wireless services believe 5G is their answer to residential substitution and the satellite services believe they can elevate access everywhere.”

Cable’s hybrid-fiber coax networks are likely to hold slightly over 60% of market share, but telcos are vying to increase their roughly 25% share with fiber upgrades, says the report.  Wireless-only homes are poised to grow from 8% to 12.6% of broadband subs by 2026, the research indicates. Satellite broadband is expected to hold just 1% of market share through 2026, due to “unfavorable cost and speed comparisons.”

“Behind it all is private investment aimed at capturing high-margin revenue and surging public money, most notably the federal push for better high-speed internet accessibility through the $42.45 billion Broadband Equity Access and Deployment, or BEAD, project,” Olgeirson and Fletcher explain. “The subsidies promise to turn up the heat on the entire sector.