Cable companies provided the best phone service for the third year running in J.D. Power & Associates’ latest customer satisfaction poll.

The survey organization breaks the market into four geographic regions. Cox Communications was the leading provider in two, Bright House Networks in a third and WideOpenWest (WOW) in the fourth.

Overall customer satisfaction with residential telephone service increased notably in 2009, according to the “J.D. Power & Associates 2009 Residential Telephone Customer Satisfaction Study.” The 2009 average was 653 on a 1,000-point scale, an increase of 18 index points from 2008.

J.D. Power attributed the increase to service improvements. Despite that, however, the number of customers who left their provider increased to 10 percent from 9 percent in 2008, which J.D. Power said is the result of escalating competition.

In the East Region, Cox just edged out Cablevision, followed by Time Warner Cable, Verizon, AT&T and Comcast.

In the South Region, Bright House led Cox, Verizon, Embarq, AT&T, TWC, Comcast, Windstream, CenturyTel and Charter.

In the North Central Region, WOW prevailed over, in order, Cincinnati Bell, TDS Telecom, AT&T, Embarq, Comcast, TWC, Verizon, CenturyTel, Windstream and Charter.

Cox also topped the West Region, followed by Qwest, Verizon, AT&T, Embarq, TWC, Comcast, CenturyTel, Frontier, Charter and Windstream.

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