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Cable, Internet again lowest-scoring sectors in customer satisfaction index

A Time Warner Cable truck is parked in New York. Cable and Internet are once again the lowest scoring of all 43 consumer categories surveyed by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. And Time Warner Cable, the dominant provider in the Charlotte region, ranks at or near the bottom in both categories, though satisfaction with its Internet services has improved somewhat since 2014.
A Time Warner Cable truck is parked in New York. Cable and Internet are once again the lowest scoring of all 43 consumer categories surveyed by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. And Time Warner Cable, the dominant provider in the Charlotte region, ranks at or near the bottom in both categories, though satisfaction with its Internet services has improved somewhat since 2014. AP

Cable and Internet are once again the lowest scoring of all 43 consumer categories surveyed by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. And Time Warner Cable, the dominant provider in the Charlotte region, ranks at or near the bottom in both categories, though satisfaction with its Internet services has improved somewhat since 2014.

According to ACSI’s index, released Tuesday, the ratings for subscription television service companies and Internet companies were both 63 (of a scale of 100.) For cable companies, that represents a 2 point drop from 2014; for Internet companies, the score was unchanged from 2014.

David VanAmburg, managing director of the satisfaction index, said the decline in both categories reflected concern with prices, products and services.

“You have a lot of customers looking at their bill and saying, ‘Boy this is a lot of money I’m paying every month for something that can be extremely frustrating,’ ” VanAmburg said. “If it were a very high quality experience and I was getting stellar customer service, maybe it’s worth the price.”

In the television category, Time Warner Cable’s ranking fell 5 points to 51, tying ACSI newcomer company Mediacom Communications for the lowest score among more than 300 companies in the index. At the other end, Verizon topped the list with its FiOS service and a score of 71, followed immediately by No. 2 AT&T U-Verse with a score of 69.

In the Internet category, Comcast ranked at the bottom with a score of 56. At the top of the list was AT&T U-Verse with a score of 69, followed by FiOS with a score of 68.

Time Warner Cable upped its score by four points from 2014 to 58 in 2015. VanAmburg said the improvement may have been caused by an investment in broadband speeds.

“While (Time Warner Cable’s) overall score is not what we would call great, it’s definitely a marked improvement and suggests that they were making the right moves,” VanAmburg said.

Time Warner Cable said in April it is rolling out faster Internet speeds and improved television services in the Charlotte region this summer. Time Warner customers will receive speeds up to six times faster than their current level of service, up to 300 megabits per second, at no extra charge.

Similarly, Google and AT&T have said they plan to offer Charlotte-area customers speeds of 1,000 megabits – or 1 gigabit – per second. VanAmburg said as more companies enter the TV and Internet market, competition heats up and forces companies to fight harder for customers.

“They would be forced to compete on delighting that household as a customer with fast Internet, with great customer service and with great pricing. It just benefits everyone when there’s more competition,” VanAmburg said.

Last week, Charter Communications announced it intends to buy Time Warner Cable for about $55 billion. The merger would quadruple Charter’s subscriber base and create the second-biggest cable provider.

Time Warner Cable, based in New York serves about 480,000 customers in the Charlotte area. St. Louis-based Charter serves about 130 markets in North Carolina, including Lincolnton, Hickory and Asheville.

Peralta: 704-358-5079;

Twitter: @katieperalta

ACSI Subscription Television Service Rating

Company

2014

2015

Subscription television service category

65

63

Verizon Communications (FiOS)

68

71

AT&T (U-Verse)

69

69

DirecTV

69

68

DISH Network

67

67

Cablevision Systems

n/a

67

All others

66

66

Bright House Networks

n/a

65

Charter Communications

60

63

Cox Communications

63

62

Suddenlink Communications

n/a

57

Comcast

60

54

Mediacom Communications

n/a

51

Time Warner Cable

56

51

ACSI Internet Service Provider Rating

Company

2014

2015

Internet service providers category

63

63

AT&T (U-Verse)

65

69

Verizon Communications (FiOS)

71

68

All others

65

65

Bright House Networks

n/a

63

Cablevision Systems

n/a

61

Frontier Communications

n/a

61

CenturyLink

65

60

Cox Communications

64

58

Time Warner Cable

54

58

Charter Communications

61

57

Mediacom Communications

n/a

57

Comcast

57

56

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