The ability for Internet service providers (ISPs) to meet or exceed customers’ demand for higher speeds is a key driver of overall customer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Internet Service Provider Residential Customer Satisfaction Study. Verizon, Cox and WOW won top honors in separate regions.

Now in its 14th 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.

The study finds that the Internet speed customers expect to receive from their service provider is achieved 69 percent of the time and is exceeded 17 percent of the time, while 14 percent find their Internet speed to be below expectations.

The study finds that the proportion of customers who contact customer service has increased by 8 percentage points from 2010 to 39 percent in 2011. In addition, the number of customers reporting an outage has increased year over year to 34 percent from 27 percent. The study also finds that the percentage of customers who contacted customer service by telephone has increased to 92 percent in 2011 from 81 percent in 2010.

High-speed Internet service providers are examined in four regions:

  • East Region: Verizon ranks highest with a score of 640 and performs particularly well in three of five factors: offerings and promotions; cost of service; and performance and reliability. Cox Communications follows in the regional rankings with a score of 635, while AT&T ranks third with a score of 626.
  • South Region: With a score of 665, Verizon ranks highest in the region and performs well in two factors: performance and reliability as well as offerings and promotions. Bright House Networks’ Roadrunner service follows in the rankings with a score of 658, while Cox Communications ranks third with a score of 654.
  • North Central Region: WOW! ranks highest in the region with a score of 708, performing particularly well in all five factors driving satisfaction,. Insight Communications follows with 651, while AT&T ranks third with 642.
  • West Region: Cox Communications ranks highest in the region with a score of 645 and performs particularly well in performance and reliability; billing; and offerings and promotions. Following Cox in the regional rankings are Verizon (632) and Xfinity service from Comcast (619).

The 2011 Internet Service Provider Residential Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 23,098 residential customers of Internet service providers nationwide. The study was fielded in four waves: November 2010 and in January, April and July 2011.

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