|Date:||July 25, 2001|
|Contact:||Audrie Krause, Executive Director|
SAN FRANCISCO - Broadband users who get service from competitive DSL providers or cable companies have a smaller percentage of complaints than DSL users served by the incumbent regional Bell monopolies, according to a NetAction report on consumer satisfaction.
"In general, the Bells' customers had to wait longer to have service installed, were more likely to have been billed before service commenced, and are less satisfied with technical support and customer service," said Audrie Krause, NetAction's executive director.
NetAction's report is based on a survey of 672 broadband users conducted online in April using a sample obtained from Zoomerang, an online survey clearinghouse.
The survey results appear to support anecdotal reports that the media have published about long waits for service installation, missed appointments, lost orders and lack of coordination among service providers. NetAction conducted the survey to determine whether the reports were accurate or exaggerated.
"Our survey found that a higher percentage of negative experiences were reported by DSL users served by the incumbent regional Bell phone companies than by DSL users served by competitive Internet service providers," said Krause. "When we compared responses from all DSL users to responses from the cable broadband users who participated in the survey, we found that a higher percentage of DSL users reported negative experiences."
The complete survey report is available on NetAction's web site. The findings are summarized below:
Of the DSL users who had at least one contact with technical support, the percentage of Bell customers who described themselves as dissatisfied was almost twice that of competitors' customers (29.8% of Bell DSL users compared to 16.1% of users served by competitors).
Of the DSL users who had at least one contact with customer service, the percentage of Bell DSL users who reported being dissatisfied with customer service was almost double that of customers served by competitors (28.7% of Bell customers compared to 16.5% of users served by competitors).
A higher percentage of DSL users who waited more than a month for service to start were Bell customers (43.9% of Bell customers compared to 27.9% of DSL users served by competitors). Not surprisingly, a higher percentage of the Bell customers felt that the wait was too long (50.9% of Bell customers compared to 36% of customers served by competitive DSL providers).
Nearly twice as many Bell DSL customers reported being billed before service started (18.6% of Bell customers compared to 10.5% of customers served by competitive DSL providers).
In the comparison of DSL and cable broadband users, more than twice as many DSL users reported waiting over a month for service to start (36.4% of DSL users compared to 13.8% of cable broadband users). Again not surprisingly, a higher percentage of DSL users felt that the wait was too long (43.91% of DSL users compared to 25.93% of cable broadband users).
In the comparison of DSL and cable broadband users, nearly three times as many DSL users reported being billed before service started (14.8% of DSL users compared to 5.2% of cable broadband users).
The survey results were analyzed and interpreted by Dr. Rashmi Sinha, a researcher and lecturer in the School of Information Management and Systems at the University of California at Berkeley.
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