American Satisfaction With Internet Providers Is Declining

Are you unhappy with your internet service? Well, you’re not alone! In fact, your disdain for your internet provider might be part of the majority opinion right now. The J.D. Power U.S. Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study, a national measurement of customer satisfaction survey, announced its numbers for the broadband industry and they were terrible! So terrible in fact that Americans are even more unhappy with their internet provider than they were last year to a new seven year low.

J.D. Power says that this huge decline in satisfaction is the result of bad customer service and higher prices, but is that all? Their reports reveal that customers are becoming increasingly unhappy with the entire experience.

It isn’t J.D. Power saying it either. The American Customer Satisfaction Index gave low marks to the internet service provider industry as well. The usual suspects hit the bottom of their list in satisfaction; Verizon Fios, Frontier Fiber and Xfinity Fiber.

What Is The American Customer Satisfaction Index?

The American Customer Satisfaction Index is a survey that measures customer satisfaction on popular residential products and services nationwide. This index doesn’t just report on internet providers either. It also looks into other industries too like fast food restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, utility companies, airlines, and many more industries you use everyday.

What Is The J.D. Power U.S. Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study?

For major internet providers this survey scores on a 1,000 point scale in five different areas; billing and payment, communications and promotions, cost of service, customer care, and lastly performance and reliability. The results are divided by location; East, North Central, South and West. Let’s go over what these five areas mean to you:

  • Billing and payment: is billing accurate? Are payments easy to set up?
  • Communications and promotions: How well is the internet provider communicating their promotions and offerings to their current customers.
  • Cost of service: Is the cost of internet service affordable and reasonable?
  • Customer care: How are their customer care teams handling customer issues? Good, bad or mediocre? Do they feel as though their issues have been resolved on the first call?
  • Performance and reliability: Is their internet service good? Is it reliable?

Internet Providers Mentioned In The J.D. Power Report

Only major internet providers were included on the J.D. Power U.S. Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study report. Many of which you may already know if you live in an urban or suburban area because of their nationwide availability. These providers are: 

  • AT&T
  • Centurylink
  • Cox Communications
  • Frontier Communications
  • Mediacom (Xtream)
  • Midco
  • Spectrum (Charter)
  • Suddenlink
  • Windstream
  • WOW!
  • Xfinity (Comcast)

Unfortunately, it seems as though midsize to small internet providers get left out of customer satisfaction surveys due to their lack of availability nationwide. The American Customer Satisfaction Index also leaves these smaller providers out.

The Cold Rock Bottom Numbers

In overall internet provider satisfaction Verizon is at the top in the East, Midco in North Central, AT&T in the South and AT&T again in the West. It’s to be noted that no provider comes even close to a perfect 1,000 point score. All top scores are in the 700’s, leaving much to be desired. Here are the main highlights:

  • 11 Major Internet Providers were in the charts. No medium to small internet providers were mentioned.
  • AT&T and Verizon have the best and most consistent scores year over year.
  • Verizon comes in with the most survey points in the East for a 10th consecutive year with a score of 758.
  • AT&T comes in with the most survey points in the South for a 5th consecutive year, with a score of 761. 
  • Verizon comes in as the best in the East with a score of 758.  Region average is 707 out of 1,000.
  • Midco comes in as the best in North Central with a score of 734. Region average is 700 out of 1,000.
  • AT&T comes in as the best in the South with a score of 761. Region average is 730 out of 1,000.
  • AT&T comes in again as the best, now in the West with a score of 729. Region average is 701 out of 1,000.
  • Frontier, Spectrum, and Cox Communications all hug the bottom of each region ranking much below each region’s average survey score.

Why We’re Worried About External Survey Numbers

The downward direction of overall satisfaction with major internet providers is alarming. It shows that customers are the least satisfied with the cost of service which isn’t a surprise with ongoing inflation in every single industry nationwide. However, people shouldn’t be so unhappy nor nickel and dimed to subscribe to essential services.

We believe that this discontentment with internet providers should subside in the years to come. With recent attention COVID-19 showing the internet as an essential service and new investments coming from President Biden’s infrastructure bill, we should be able to expect increased competition in space. Increased competition means better prices and services to go around.

As mentioned earlier, the J.D. Power U.S. Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study report doesn’t mention one midsize to small internet provider. Regional internet providers shouldn’t be overlooked by the consumer. In fact, these regional providers may be better in cost and service to the communities they serve so closely with.

What’s Next For The American Customer & Their Internet Service

It’s no secret that consumers everywhere heavily rely on their internet service for everything. We can’t pay bills or pay jobs reliably without it.The hope is that from this survey internet providers will see these ratings and make improvements on their service. It’s an unbiased source that can easily be used to prioritize failing benchmarks unlike internal customer satisfaction surveys that may not ask the right questions.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index and the J.D. Power U.S. Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study are updated annually based on their most recent data and benchmarks. We’ll see next year how these companies respond and turn their numbers around. 

Back to top button