October 16, 2012
DSL in Doldrums - Switchover to Fiber Optics Imminent
By Mini Swamy
Today, customers' needs have changed, markets have undergone a metamorphosis as the demand for Internet-connected products and streaming video content increases. Customers have become impatient, are no longer willing to put up with slow, unreliable networks and outages, and are prepared to pay the price for more stable Internet services.
The J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S.' Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study' seems to bear these facts out. Now in its 15th year, the study measures customer satisfaction with high-speed Internet service based on performance, reliability, cost, billing, customer service and offering and promotions.
According to the study, consumers' expectation of stability, network speed, increased bandwidth, reliability will continue to rise as more Internet-connected devices are added to the home network. That then may put an end to DSL as a viable option with users turning to more efficient network technologies employing fiber optics.
"DSL connections aren't meeting the need for speed, as 21 percent of customers using this technology indicate their network speed is worse than they expected,” said Frank Perazzini, director of telecommunications at J.D. Power and Associates.
The study indicated that satisfaction with performance and reliability was the lowest among DSL customers and highest among those utilizing fiber-to-the-home connections. Further, DSL customers experienced an average of 2.5 outages as against 1.4 with fiber optic connections, lending greater urgency to the need to switch over from DSL to fiber optics.
Market share of fiber optics has increased by five percent, cable has witnessed an increase of two percent, while DSL slumped by five percent when compared to 2011. Among customers who have switched their ISP provider in the past year, 40 percent were DSL customers.
"Among DSL customers whose network speed expectations are not being met, switching intention increases to 43 percent. These customers are clearly candidates for a technology upgrade," added Perazzini.
Among residential Internet service providers in the eastern, southern, western and north central regions, it was clearly seen that the major network carriers produced high satisfaction ratings.
The study, fielded in four waves from November 2011 – June 2012 was based on responses from 20,750 customers nationwide who evaluated their cable, satellite or telephone company-based provider.
Since the move to ISPs seems imminent, J.D. Power advises consumers to compare and contrast the quality of service options available, check to see what's included with the service and ensure that the chosen provider has high customer satisfaction in that geographical region, before taking a final decision.
Edited by Brooke Neuman
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