How low can they go? ISPs hit new depths in customer satisfaction

New survey confirms what most of us know: When it comes to pleasing consumers, ISPs scrape the bottom of the barrel

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Mobile phones, wireless providers on the rise

On the positive side, satisfaction with mobile phones grew by nearly 3 percent, though the iPhone lost 2 points in the survey. MotoGoogle and Samsung gained the most over one year, 5 and 7 percentage points respectively. Seems like all those patent lawsuits Apple filed against Samsung's Android handset designs must have backfired, eh?

Wireless phone providers also got a boost, largely from smaller providers like Tracfone and Cricket that don't lock customers into contracts. Among the big four, Verizon again topped the list with a rating of 73, with T-Mobile sleeping in the basement at 68.

Interestingly, the industries that showed the greatest improvement in the survey are the ones that are shrinking thanks to, respectively, the growth of mobile devices and the Internet. Pay TV satisfaction rose from by 3 percent, while fixed-line phone users are nearly 6 percent more satisfied than they were a year ago.

My theory: The most dissatisfied customers have already ditched their big cable bills and useless landlines for broadband TV and mobile phones.

The ACSI report also notes a small but consistent rise in the number of on-demand video watchers who've eschewed cable and satellite for a la carte viewing via devices like the Roku, Apple TV, and their computers. (I count myself among them.) That would also account for dissatisfaction with the performance of streaming video. (I count myself among those people, too.)

As we become more dependent on the Internet to deliver TV, phone service, and just about everything else except maybe pizza to our homes, we also become more dependent on our ISPs. With survey results like these, that's not at all reassuring.

Are you happy with your ISP? Why or why not? Post your kudos and complaints below, or email me:

This article, "How low can they go? ISPs hit new depths in customer satisfaction," was originally published at Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe toCringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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