If you subscribe to a broadband Internet service today, more likely you use cable than DSL. According to a study released Thursday by J.D. Power and Associates, cable modem usage is increasing at a faster rate than DSL usage among Internet customers, as dial-up use continues to decrease.
The firm has performed the Internet service provider residential customer satisfaction study for 11 years. Every year, the study measures customer satisfaction with high-speed and dial-up Internet service providers based on five factors: performance and reliability, cost of service, customer service, billing, and offerings and promotions. It uses a 1,000-point scale to gauge the providers' performance.
For 2008, the study was fielded in July and based on responses from 16,933 residential customers of Internet service providers nationwide.
The 2008 result indicates that both cable and DSL service have increased among broadband services, with cable now up to 41 percent (from 36 percent in 2007) and DSL up to 30 percent (from 27 percent), among all broadband users. At the same time, the share of dial-up Internet users has continued to decrease and now accounts for only 25 percent of all Internet users, a 10 percent decrease since 2007.
According to the study, 2008 is also a year of change with only 30 percent of customers remaining loyal to their service provider, down from 42 percent in 2007. Cost saving is the main reason customers switch services, accounting for 69 percent of broadband users and 40 percent of dial-up users.
Regarding customer satisfaction, EarthLink Net is ranked No. 1 in dial-up service, scoring 633 points, followed by United Online (630) and MSN (602). To nobody's surprise, AOL is at the bottom with only 551 points.
The study examined Internet providers in four regions.
East region: Cablevision ranks highest with a score of 650 points, followed by EarthLink (643) and Embarq (634).
South region: Road Runner tops the chart with 670. After that, Verizon (663) and Insight (661) are also high in customer satisfaction.
North central region: In this region, WOW! ranks the highest with 702, which is also the highest in all regions. Cincinnati Bell and Cox follow with 665 and 663, respectively.
West region: Cox Communications ranks highest with 641, followed by EarthLink (630) and Verizon (625).
Personally, I use Comcast and it's ranked among the lowest at 559 points, though I've been fairly happy with it. How about you?