EarthLink finished first in all four categories — speed, price, reliability, and customer service – in HighSpeedInternet.com’s 2021 ISP customer satisfaction study.
In addition to assessing providers, the firm identified three key trends. It pointed out that the previous survey was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, so a comparison quantifies the impact of the crisis. The organization found that the sudden surge in usage led to a reduction in average satisfaction scores, with the most significant falloff in speed and reliability.
HighSpeedInternet.com also found that fiber customers gave higher ratings to their providers than other delivery conduits and that 58% of customers bundle one provider’s Internet and TV offering.
Key findings based on a 5-point scale:
- Overall customer satisfaction: EarthLink (4.2), AT&T and Verizon (3.8), Cox, Sparklight and RCN (3.7).
- Internet speed satisfaction: EarthLink (4.1), Verizon (3.9), Cox, AT&T, Suddenlink, Mediacom, RCN and Sparklight (3.8).
- Price satisfaction: EarthLink (3.9), Verizon and AT&T (3.5), Suddenlink (3.4), Cox, RCN, Sparklight and Optimum (3.3).
- Reliability satisfaction: EarthLink (4.0), Verizon (3.8), AT&T, Mediacom, RCN and Cox (3.7).
- Customer service satisfaction EarthLink (4.0), Cox, Verizon and RCN (3.8), AT&T and Sparklight (3.7).
The satisfaction fallback between 2021 and 2020 was consistent. Overall ratings dropped from 3.75 to 3.70, speed from 4.0 to 3.8, price from 3.4 to 3.3, reliability from 3.9 to 3.7 and customer service from 3.8 to 3.7.
“The COVID-19 pandemic caused a sudden surge in home internet usage,” Bison Messink wrote in a blog post about the ISP customer satisfaction study. “Many Americans suddenly found themselves with inadequate internet connections as their needs changed, and we see this reflected in our survey results.”
A report released in May by NCTA: The Internet & Television Association found that 86% of respondents rate their Internet as excellent or good; 84% are satisfied with their download speed; 82% are satisfied with their signal strength/network range, 84% are satisfied with the security of their service and 82% are satisfied with their service’s reliability. That survey was conducted by Morning Consult.