When it comes to telephony services, cable operators are moving to the front of the pack, according to a new study by J.D. Powers and Associates. Cable companies snagged the top honors for customer satisfaction in all six of the U.S. regions for the first time in a study that was released on Wednesday.

For the fifth-straight year, Cox Communications’ residential telephone service was ranked the highest in overall customer satisfaction in the Western Region. Cox also garnered first-place in the J.D. Power and Associates’ 2007 Regional Customer Satisfaction Study for the second straight year in overall customer satisfaction in the Northeast and Southwest regions.

“We’re pleased to be recognized once again in the J.D. Power and Associates study. Through the study’s findings, it is clear that Cox is outperforming the big old telephone companies in satisfying customers,” said David Pugliese, Cox’s vice president of product marketing, in a prepared statement.

The study measured customer satisfaction with both local and long distance services in six regions across the United States. The six factors that determined overall satisfaction, in order of importance, were: performance and reliability, customer service, billing, cost of service, and offerings and promotions.

In the Mid-Atlantic Region, Cablevision ranked the highest by performing well in all six categories, while Bright House Networks ranked first for the second-straight year in the Southeast Region.

"Reliability, advanced features and unlimited calling for a flat-rate with no hidden fees have allowed Optimum Voice to attract more than 1.3 million customers, nearly a third of our local phone market, and a growing number of businesses as well," said John Bickham, Cablevision's president of cable and communications, in a statement.

WideOpenWest! was included in the study for the first time and led the North Central Region with the highest ratings from customers in all six factors of overall satisfaction.

The study cited the power of the triple play bundle as one of the factors in the cable operators’ success. It found that 86 percent of the cable-based voice customers also subscribed to data services from the same provider, which topped last year’s mark of 71 percent. The importance of the bundle was also borne out by the increase in importance weight of the offerings and promotions factor, which increased 3 percent over the 2006 study.