J.D. PowerImprovements in performance and reliability drove customer satisfaction with residential high-speed Internet service providers higher in 2009, according to J.D. Power’ and Associates’ 12th annual “Internet Service Provider Residential Customer Satisfaction Study.”

Overall satisfaction rose 22 index points on a five-factor, 1,000-point scale in 2009 from 2008’s tally.  Customer satisfaction with performance and reliability averaged 687, a gain of 43 index points from 2008’s 644.  A decrease in customers reporting service outages along with improved perceptions of connection speed contributed to the improvement.

Regionally, Verizon lead the way in the East in overall customer satisfaction, Bright House Networks service ranked the highest in the South, WOW! came in on top in the North Central region, and EarthLink ranked highest in the West, according to the survey.

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Broadband Internet access is the backbone of telecompetitors’ bundled service offerings.  As such, ISP performance and reliability are key attributes when it comes to attracting and retaining customers, as well as selling them other services.  The combination of video and Internet services proved to be the most popular bundled service option among those surveyed, while the percentage of customers bundling voice, video and data services increased from 16% in 2008 to 19% this year.

“Internet service may be considered the linchpin of the bundled offering, serving to drive both customer loyalty and incremental sales opportunities,” Frank Perazzini, J.D. Power director of telecommunications, said in a news release. “As competition for new customers increases among Internet service providers, retaining the existing customer base while promoting additional voice and video will continue to be critical.”

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