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No Love for the Big ISPs

It’s the time of the year when the results come out for the American Customer Satisfaction Index that asks customers to rate their satisfaction with a wide range of industries and the larger companies within those industries. This is a huge nationwide poll that ranks the public’s satisfaction with 400 large companies in 45 sectors.

As has been happening for many years, the large Internet Service Providers come in dead last when comparing ISPs to 44 other industries. ISPs were given an overall customer service ranking of 64. The industries ranked just above ISPs at the bottom were related, with subscription TV services (66) and video-on-demand services (68). This puts ISPs below gas stations (68), hospitals (69), and the U.S. Post Office (70).

Following are the specific rankings for the ISPs included in the survey:

Verizon FiOS7172
AT&T Internet7169
Xfinity (Comcast)6766
Spectrum (Charter)6363
Optimum (Altice)6059
Suddenlink (Altice)5553

I’ve been following the ASCI results for many years, and it’s normal to see the ranking score vary by a small amount from year to year. But it looks like a significant change to see Frontier’s leap from a 57 ranking to 61. Perhaps the message that Frontier has changed coming out of bankruptcy is reaching customers. The most interesting number is the ranking for T-Mobile, which has been added to this survey for the first time. The company came in second, just below Verizon FiOS. Verizon has been at the top of the survey ranking for many years.

At the bottom are the two Altice companies, with Suddenlink, ranked at the bottom again with a ranking of 53. Interestingly, Altice recently announced that it is relabeling Suddenlink as Optimum, which is second-worst in ranking. From there, other ISPs are ranked slightly higher than Altice, such as MediaCom, CenturyLink, and Cox.

Companies can change rankings within the industry, but it’s hard. A decade ago, Comcast was nearer the bottom of the rankings and has slowly climbed closer to the top. I’m not a Comcast customer (I once was), and I don’t know what they’ve done to change, but I’ve noticed that I no longer read what used to be almost monthly news articles talking of specific ways the company mistreated customers.

What I find most amazing about this ranking is how politicians have fought so hard and often to protect these companies from regulation. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always thought that a state politician running to strongly regulate the biggest cable company in a state would gain a lot of votes.

By Doug Dawson, President at CCG Consulting

Dawson has worked in the telecom industry since 1978 and has both a consulting and operational background. He and CCG specialize in helping clients launch new broadband markets, develop new products, and finance new ventures.

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