When it comes to providers of Internet, TV and phone services, fiber optic network operators such as AT&T with U-verse and Verizon with FiOS are tops among telecoms customers, according to the results of a Consumer Reports’ survey released yesterday.
The survey rates providers in terms of providing all three telecoms services bundled and broken out individually. AT&T’s U-verse and Verizon’s FiOS received top scores for Internet and TV services, and they were among the better phone providers, according to some 69,000 reader experiences surveyed by Consumer Reports. The survey is featured in the magazine’s February issue.
(Editors Note: Interesting that Consumer Reports lumps AT&T U-verse services in with ‘fiber’ based services, considering U-verse is a DSL product. Not sure whether this speaks to the confusion of Consumers Reports or the survey respondents.)
There is a hitch though. AT&T and Verizon’s fiber networks are limited in geographic scope, as well as operationally in their ability to deliver all three services–Internet, TV and phone–via fiber, Consumer Reports notes.
Major cable companies are the next best choice in those areas where fiber telco service isn’t available, the survey says. Smaller cable service providers with more limited geographic scope, such as Bright House, Insight and Wow, ranked on a par with fiber network operators.
Though satellite TV services including DirecTV and Dish Network ranked below fiber-based telcos and the best cable service for TV services overall, they received ratings comparable to top providers when it came to channel selection and picture sound and quality.
When it comes to triple play bundles, 85% of the survey respondents said they would ‘probably’ or ‘definitely’ bundle telecoms services with the same company. Cable companies have the edge over telcos when it came to providing bundled services, according to the survey results. There are problems, however. Some 60% of those surveyed said they had at least one problem with bundled service. Higher than expected and hard to understand bills were the most common complaints.
More and more households are opting out of fixed line phone services–more than 20% of U.S. households have dropped their home phone service. For those not yet willing to “cut the cord,” VoIP options from Skype and Vonage ranked highly with Consumer Reports’ survey respondents. At $40 for the device and $20 per year, some readers also recommended Magic Jack as an alternative to telco, or cable, provided home phone service.