Broadband satisfaction drops

14-11-2006

Broadband satisfaction drops
Despite the emergence of "free broadband" and other price deals to attract customers in an increasingly competitive market, overall consumer satisfaction with broadband providers has reached a new low.

While the industry has witnessed a "broadband land grab" over recent months, overall customer satisfaction with broadband services has dropped by nine per cent, a new report published by price comparison website uSwitch has found.

A YouGov survey of more than 11,000 broadband customers, conducted for uSwitch, found that providers Orange and TalkTalk were both rated bottom for the services they offered customers, despite both companies launching "free broadband" packages this year.

Customer satisfaction levels for the companies were recorded at 70 per cent, with the results of the survey following recent negative press reports about their services. TalkTalk has been subject to criticism over service interruptions and delayed connections, while the company's latest results also revealed that over 200,000 of its customers were still waiting to be connected to broadband having requested the service.

Meanwhile, uSwitch refers to the fact that Orange was recently subject to a broadband outrage which affected some 100,000 customers who use its local loop bundling (LLU) network.

Virgin was found to be the broadband provider which satisfied the needs of its customers the most, with 85 per cent of its users saying that they were happy with the service they received, while Telewest came second on 83 per cent, followed by Tiscali on 80 per cent.

In addition, 46 per cent of those questioned said they didn't think their broadband provider was doing enough to ensure they were on the right broadband deal.

In its report, uSwitch said that while evidence suggested that over 1.5 million new consumers had signed up to receive broadband over the past ten months, providers had failed to match the growth with improvements in customer service levels.

"It's disappointing to see that the majority of providers are failing to accompany the growth in customer numbers by sufficient growth in customer service operations and the required investment in their technology to ensure that they are looking after customer needs in an acceptable manner," said Steve Weller, head of communications services at uSwitch.

"These results should provide a clear signal that customers are demanding a more comprehensive, sophisticated range of services, and it is becoming more important than ever before for providers to offer value for money in terms of both price and service," he added.

The uSwitch research also found that consumer satisfaction levels amongst home phone users had fallen by four per cent compared to a previous survey conducted six months ago.


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