High-speed overtakes dial-up; DSL subs happier

Wed, 09/20/2006 - 8:26am
Brian Santo, CED

It was only a matter of when - and whether anyone would remark upon it, given that it was a foregone conclusion. There are now more high-speed data subscribers than dial-up users in the U.S.

Also, DSL subscribers are happier with their service than cable modem customers, according to the just-released J.D. Power and Associates' 2006 Internet Service Provider (ISP) Residential Customer Satisfaction Study.

Fifty-six percent of residential ISP customers now subscribe to high-speed Internet service, an increase of 11 percent from 2005, dropping the market share of dial-up service to 44 percent.

The average amount subscribers report spending a month for high-speed Internet service has steadily decreased since 2004, down by $1.99 to $42.13 in 2006. Meanwhile, the average amount dial-up service subscribers report spending has also declined; down $0.69 from 2004, to $18.45 a month in 2006.

The bundle strategy is clearly responsible for a good deal of the shift, according to Steve Kirkeby, executive director of telecommunications and technology research at J.D. Power.

The study measures customer satisfaction based on: performance and reliability; cost of service; image; customer service/technical support; billing; e-mail services; and offerings and promotions.

Included in the study for the first time, WideOpenWest! (WOW!) ranked highest in customer satisfaction with high-speed service, with high rankings in performance and reliability, image, customer service, billing, cost of service and offerings and promotions. The next two slots are filled by Bright House Networks' Road Runner service and BellSouth's DSL offering.

The study finds that DSL subscribers are significantly more satisfied than cable modem customers, a gap inspired largely by price. Despite that, cable modem penetration continues to climb, with 32 percent of all households subscribing to Internet service, up from 28 percent in 2005. DSL subscriptions, meanwhile, are up from 16 percent of the market in 2005, to 23 percent in 2006.

In the dial-up rankings, PeoplePC ranked highest, followed by BellSouth and EarthLink.



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