Are DSL Users Satisfied With Their Service?

Section I: The Sample of Users Surveyed

bar chart showing 70% DSL customers, 9% cable, 3% dialup, 18% other

Figure I-1

Our sample (Figure I-1) consisted of 672 users of broadband or dial-up Internet service. Of the total, 472 (70.2%) were DSL subscribers, 63 (9.4%) were cable broadband subscribers, 18 (2.2%) had dial-up connections, and 119 (17.7%) had some other kind of Internet access such as Ethernet, wireless or ISDN. (The "Other" group includes respondents who did not specify the type of connection they were using.)

About half of the DSL users, (51.6%), and a majority of cable broadband users, (60%), reported paying between $30-$49 per month for service. The percentage of DSL and cable broadband customers who reported paying $29 or less per month was nearly identical (17.9% of DSL users and 18.3% of cable broadband users). At the other end of the price range, a higher percentage of DSL users reported paying $50 or more per month for service (19.2% of DSL users compared to 10% of cable broadband customers).

We also asked our survey participants why they subscribed to broadband, and what they used it for. Most of our respondents (87.6%) indicated that the service was for personal use. Nearly half (49.9%) used broadband service for business, and 24.5% used it for school. The top reasons for subscribing were faster connection speed (75.7%), not tying up the phone line (54.5%), and the fact that the service was always on (51.3%). Other reasons cited by respondents mostly had to do with problems with dial-up service, such as busy signals and dropped connections. A number of respondents specifically mentioned dissatisfaction with America Online (AOL) as the reason for switching to broadband Internet service.

Previous Internet Service
% of Users
No Service
4.5%
Proprietary Dial-Up
64.7%
Free Dial-Up
16.8%
High Speed Connection at Work
12.2%
Cable or ISDN
7.1%
DSL
4.7%

Table I-1

We also asked respondents what type of Internet service they were using before broadband. Most users (Table I-1) reported having some type of proprietary dial-up service (64.7%). The second largest segment reported using a free dial-up service (16.8%). A number of users reported having previously used more than one kind of service. The most common combination was a proprietary dial-up service and a free dial-up service.

A majority of the respondents who subscribed to DSL service (57.4%) had residential ADSL, while 9% had business ADSL. However, a large percentage of the respondents (28%) were not sure what type of broadband service they were using. This uncertainty may reflect the users’ lack of familiarity with the specific types of DSL service, or it could be because the respondents were using the service at work or school.

NEXT: Section II: Comparing Bell and Competitive DSL Providers