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By: MarkJ - 31 March, 2011 (7:21 AM)
top j.d. power UK fixed and mobile broadband ISPs 2011The J.D. Power and Associates 2011 UK Fixed Line and Mobile Broadband ISP Customer Satisfaction Study has given top honours ("Highest in Customer Satisfaction") to both PlusNet and O2 for their fixed line and mobile services respectively.

The studies examine five factors that drive overall satisfaction with broadband providers: performance and reliability; billing; cost of the service; customer service/technical support and offerings and promotions.

PlusNet, which just launched one of the country's most affordable superfast 40Mbps FTTC broadband services (here), ranks highest among fixed broadband ISPs with a score of 717 and performs particularly well in the performance and reliability and cost of service factors.

Meanwhile O2 (710) and Sky Broadband (663) follow PlusNet in the rankings. O2 performs particularly well in the offerings and promotions and billing and customer service factors.
Fixed Broadband ISP Segment (Based on a 1,000-point scale)

1. PlusNet - 717
2. O2 - 710
3. Sky Broadband - 663
4. Orange - 634
5. Virgin Media - 631
Industry Average - 631
6. TalkTalk - 626
7. BT - 616
8. AOL - 570
In comparing these results with last year's survey (here) we noted that most of the big ISPs appear to have seen a general decline in their satisfaction scores. In terms of position, Orange somehow managed to rise from 7th to 4th, which is quite impressive given their usually lacklustre performance in most surveys. AOL remains last, much as they always do.

Among Mobile Broadband operators, O2 ranks highest for a third consecutive year and scored 648. O2 performs particularly well in the performance and reliability factor. Following O2 in the rankings are Orange (629) and Three (3) (622).
Mobile Broadband ISP Segment

1. O2 - 648
2. Orange - 629
3. Three (3) - 622
4. T-Mobile - 608
Industry Average - 619
5. Vodafone - 593
The picture was slightly more positive with Mobile Broadband operators and only a small industry decline in satisfaction was observed. Three (3) went from being the worst in 2010 (5th) to 3rd place this year, while Vodafone dropped to the bottom.

Stuart Crawford-Browne, Director of Service Industries Research at J.D. Power and Associates, said:

"Customer expectations are continually rising when it comes to broadband service—users want it to be faster, less expensive and constantly available without interruption.

However, properly setting and managing customer expectations through transparent and clear communications and customer service can go a long way in helping ISPs differentiate themselves from the competition.

It is particularly critical for ISPs to deliver on promised network speeds, particularly when these expectations are being set by marketing and advertising messaging. Rather than advertising maximum network speeds, providers can benefit from communicating the range of speeds that customers can realistically expect to experience."

Among fixed broadband ISP customers, approximately 24% indicate that the network speed they experience is slower than they expected. Likewise this figure hits an almost identical 25% for Mobile Broadband customers.

Interestingly 28% of fixed line broadband ISP customers say they "probably would" or "definitely would" switch providers within the next 12 months, which climbs to 39% for Mobile Broadband operators.

J.D. Power claims that one way to resolve this would be for ISPs to give more loyalty incentives (i.e. reduced prices, gifts etc.) to their customers. At present just 33% of Mobile Broadband customers and 38% of fixed line ISP customers report receiving some type of loyalty bonus. Hard to do when the prices seem to be going up for everybody.
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