ISPs beat only gas stations in ACSI consumer satisfaction survey

AT&T and T-Mobile topped the ACSI's latest customer satisfaction survey. Overall satisfaction of ISPs rose 6%, but still scored at the bottom of the barrel when compared to other industries.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

June 7, 2023

5 Min Read
ISPs beat only gas stations in ACSI consumer satisfaction survey

AT&T and T-Mobile are enjoying some bragging rights this week after coming away with the top scores in the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey.

And while overall customer satisfaction with US ISPs has climbed, the US broadband industry still scored near the bottom when compared to all other industries.

According to the ACSI survey, which was based on interviews with 22,061 customers selected at random and contacted via email between April 2022 and March 2023, AT&T posted the top score in the fiber ISP category and T-Mobile, which is leaning on fixed wireless access (FWA) for its home broadband service, topped the non-fiber category.

In the fiber category, AT&T posted a score of 80 (out of 100), followed by CenturyLink/Lumen (78) and Google Fiber (76). Frontier Communications (74) and Comcast (73) were at the bottom of that relatively short list:

Figure 1: 1506.jpg Click here for a larger version of this image.
(Source: American Customer Satisfaction Index [ACSI] survey, 2022-2023)

Among performance benchmarks in the fiber ISP category, the quality of the ISP's mobile app scored the highest (84), followed by the reliability of the mobile app (83). Bottom scorers included performance during peak hours (78), variety of Internet plans available (77) and call center satisfaction (74).

T-Mobile's score of 73 topped the non-fiber satisfaction survey, which included cable, DSL and wireless connections. T-Mobile was followed in the non-fiber category by AT&T (72), Cable One/Sparklight (71), Windstream (70) and Comcast (68). The bottom three were CenturyLink/Lumen (62), Frontier (61) and Altice USA (58).

Figure 2: 2342.jpg Click here for a larger version of this image.
(Source: American Customer Satisfaction Index [ACSI] survey, 2022-2023)

The quality and reliability of non-fiber ISPs' mobile apps were also top scorers in performance benchmarks, with scores of 79 and 78. The bottom three: the ability to keep interruptions and outages at a minimum (70), variety of Internet plans (68) and call center satisfaction (63).

ISP satisfaction barely beats gas stations

Overall satisfaction of ISPs rose 6%, to a score of 68, in ACSI's latest study. But ISPs still have a ways to go on the consumer satisfaction front when compared to other industries. The ISP benchmark score of 68 was near the bottom, beating only gas stations, which posted a benchmark score of 65. Subscription TV services, with a score of 69, didn't perform much better. The US Post Office, with a 70, scored higher than ISPs and subscription TV services.

The ACSI study also shined a light on consumer satisfaction for in-home Wi-Fi equipment supplied by broadband service providers.

AT&T led Wi-Fi satisfaction among fiber ISPs with a score of 84, followed by Google Fiber (80), CenturyLink/Lumen and Verizon Fios (79), and Frontier and Comcast (77).

In the non-fiber ISP category, Cable One/Sparklight led with a score of 71, followed by Windstream (76) and AT&T, T-Mobile and Comcast (75). Bottom scorers were Lumen/CenturyLink (67) and Frontier and Altice USA (66).

U-verse, Amazon Prime lead in pay-TV and video streaming satisfaction

In the pay-TV category, U-verse (the IPTV service now part of the newly spun-out DirecTV) topped the list with a score of 78. That was ahead of Verizon Fios (74), Frontier (72), Dish (68) and DirecTV satellite (67). Frontier's relatively high satisfaction score in pay-TV is curious given that the telco has partnered with YouTube TV and no longer sells its own pay-TV service.

Charter Communications (65) and Altice USA (60) were at the bottom of the pay-TV satisfaction category. Of note, Charter is expected to shift the focus of its video strategy to its new national streaming joint venture with Comcast. Altice USA has expressed interest in outsourcing pay-TV to outside partners.

As a subset of pay-TV, the top-performing live TV streaming apps were Hulu (80), Sling TV and YouTube TV (76), and DirecTV Stream (72).

Turning to overall streaming apps, Amazon Prime led with a score of 80, followed by Peacock (79). Hulu's subscription VoD service, Netflix, Paramount+ and YouTube Premium all notched a 78. The bottom-feeders in the category were ESPN+ (72) and Crackle (70).

Figure 3: 2392.jpg Click here for a larger version of this image.
(Source: American Customer Satisfaction Index [ACSI] survey, 2022-2023)

From an industry perspective, video streaming notched an overall satisfaction benchmark score of 77, up 4% year-over-year – the same satisfaction score as the automobile and consumer shopping sectors. Subscription TV services were near the bottom, with a score of 69.

For those keeping score at home, athletic shoes and soft drinks topped all industries, each with a benchmark consumer satisfaction score of 81, followed by breweries, full-service restaurants, online retailers and televisions (80).

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Editor's note: AT&T's score in the fiber category cited in this story was corrected to 80. Originally it was posted as 75, the average score for all fiber service providers in the category.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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