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DSL Takes a Beating in Latest J.D. Power Study
DSL Lines Failing to Meet Modern Household Speed Demands
by Karl Bode 10:47AM Tuesday Oct 16 2012
Two new J.D. Power and Associates studies note that customers on pricier cable tiers claim they're more satisfied, while DSL users complain their connections aren't keeping pace with modern household bandwidth demands. J.D. Power's 2012 U.S. residential television service provider satisfaction study found that Verizon FiOS, Dish, DirecTV and WOW! topped four different regions when it came to customer satisfaction. Comcast and Time Warner Cable were in last place in most categories measured.

The full rankings interestingly found that customers who pay more money for premium packages claim they're more satisfied (716 out of 1000) than those on expanded basic (677) or basic cable (656). Cable companies will be happy to learn that 31% of premium package subscribers say they won't be switching any time soon, compared to 22% for expanded and 20% for basic cable users. At the price points premium tier users are paying for service (often in excess of $200 monthly) you'd certainly hope they were satisfied.

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Meanwhile, the firm's 2012 Internet service provider satisfaction study saw AT&T (helped by U-Verse), Bright House, WOW! and Cox Communications take top honors in their respective regions for broadband services. Neither Comcast or Frontier fared very well in any of the categories measured (billing, reliability, price, customer service, promotions).

Verizon's FiOS service appears to have fallen the rankings due to billing issues (a long-time Verizon pastime) and the company's recent decision to impose sustained price hikes. Ironically, Verizon had used high customer satisfaction rankings to justify higher prices points -- and now that advantage appears to be eroding.

J.D. Power notes that DSL providers in general, often unable or unwilling to upgrade last mile connections due to financial constraints and/or limited competition, are starting to fall seriously behind as households consume more media on more devices. Frontier, which found itself in the ratings basement, apparently wasn't helped by their uncanny ability to impose creative and new heavy-handed fees.

"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."

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