Satisfaction with DSL Providers Languishes as Problems with Speed and Reliability Push Internet Customers to Other Technologies

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AT&T, Bright House Networks, Cox Communications, WOW! Each Rank Highest in Customer Satisfaction in Their Respective Region

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 15 October 2012 — As efficient network technologies employing fiber optics and hybrid fiber/coax diminish outages and increase bandwidth speed, customers utilizing DSL technology face reliability issues and worse-than-expected network speed, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction StudySM released today.

Now in its 15th year, the study measures customer satisfaction with high-speed Internet service based on five factors: performance and reliability; cost of service; billing; offerings and promotions; and customer service.

As customers add Internet-connected devices to their home network, which increases their bandwidth speed requirements, more are turning away from DSL as a viable option and turning instead to cable or fiber optic Internet service providers (ISPs).

"As customers continue to add Internet-connected products such as tablet computers and as the demand to streaming video content increases, their expectations for stability and network speed will rise," said Frank Perazzini, director of telecommunications at J.D. Power and Associates. "DSL connections aren't meeting the need for speed, as 21 percent of customers using this technology indicate their network speed is worse than they expected."

Satisfaction with performance and reliability is 650 (on a 1,000-point scale) among DSL customers, compared with 672 among cable modem customers and 725 among customers utilizing fiber-to-the-home connections. Additionally, in the past three months, DSL customers have experienced an average of 2.5 outages, compared with outages experienced by customers with cable modem (2.0) and fiber optic (1.4) connections.

As customer needs have changed, so has the market. Year over year, the market share for DSL has declined to 25 percent from 30 percent in 2011, while cable has grown to 61 percent (from 59%) and fiber optic has grown to 14 percent (from 9%). Among customers who have switched their ISP provider in the past year, 40 percent were DSL customers. Of these former DSL customers, 93 percent chose either a cable or fiber optic provider.

"Overall, the switching intention of DSL customers is 24 percent," noted Perazzini. "Among DSL customers whose network speed expectations are not being met, switching intention increases to 43 percent. These customers are clearly candidates for a technology upgrade."

Satisfaction among residential Internet service providers is measured in four regions:

East Region: AT&T ranks highest with a score of 660. Verizon follows in the regional rankings with a score of 650, while Optimum Online (Cablevision) ranks third with a score of 649.

South Region: Bright House Networks ranks highest in the region with a score of 684, followed by Cox Communications (681) and Verizon (674).

North Central Region: WOW! ranks highest in the region for a second consecutive year with a score of 707, followed by AT&T and Cincinnati Bell in a tie with a score of 654 each.

West Region: Cox Communications ranks highest in the region with a score of 660. AT&T follows with a score of 658, while Verizon ranks third with a score of 655.

J.D. Power and Associates offers consumers the following tips when shopping for an Internet service provider:

  • Compare and contrast the quality of service options available. Some providers offer better technical support than others, while some have a better record than others of avoiding outages or slowdowns.
  • Check to see what's included with your service. For example, ask whether the provider offers virus and hacker protection or offers a loyalty program.
  • Make sure the provider you choose has high customer satisfaction in your geographical region. The satisfaction scores of national providers can vary from region to region.

The 2012 U.S. Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction StudySM is based on responses from 20,750 customers nationwide who evaluated their cable, satellite or telephone company-based provider. The study was fielded in four waves: November 2011, January 2012, April 2012 and July 2012.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.  The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.  For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at

Media Relations Contacts:

Jeff Perlman; Brandware Public Relations; Woodland Hills, Calif.; (818) 598-1115;
Syvetril Perryman; Westlake Village, Calif.; (805) 418-8103;

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No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates.

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