October 30, 2008

J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Cable Modem Usage Gains Market Share As Internet Customers Continue to Move to High-Speed Service

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Cable modem usage is increasing at a faster rate than DSL usage among Internet customers as dial-up use continues to decrease, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Internet Service Provider (ISP) Residential Customer Satisfaction Study(SM) released today.

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Now in its 11th year, the study measures customer satisfaction with high-speed and dial-up Internet service providers based on five factors: performance and reliability; cost of service; customer service; billing; and offerings and promotions.

The study finds that the percentage of Internet customers who subscribe to cable modem service has increased to 41 percent in 2008 from 36 percent in 2007. DSL penetration among Internet customers has also increased to 30 percent in 2008 from 27 percent in 2007. The share of Internet users that still subscribe to dial-up service has continued to decrease and now accounts for only 25 percent of Internet subscribers, a decline of 10 percentage points since 2007.

"Customers now view Internet service as a necessity -- not a luxury -- and they're looking for faster products capable of handling higher bandwidth," said Frank Perazzini, director of telecommunications at J.D. Power and Associates. "As more movies, television shows and videos are being offered online, Internet users are looking for faster, higher quality connections to view content. With both cable modem and DSL service providing faster Internet capabilities than dial-up, users are interested in finding the best service, at the best speed, between the two connection types."

The study finds that the number of Internet service customers who consider themselves loyal to their provider has decreased significantly among high-speed customers to 30 percent, from 42 percent in 2007 and to 36 percent from 51 percent in 2007 among dial-up customers. Cost savings is cited by 69 percent of high-speed Internet service customers and 40 percent of dial-up Internet customers as the main reason they would consider switching providers.

"Even when customers aren't necessarily dissatisfied with their current provider, they're willing to switch to another provider if they find a better deal," said Perazzini. "With the current economic uncertainty, and the introduction of several competitively priced high-speed service offerings, building customer loyalty should be at the forefront of every Internet provider's 2009 initiatives."

Dial-Up Internet Service Segment Rankings

EarthLink Net (which includes EarthLink and PeoplePC subscribers) ranks highest in the dial-up segment with an index score of 633 on a 1,000-point scale, performing particularly well in customer service, billing, and performance and reliability. United Online (630) and MSN (602) follow EarthLink Net in the rankings.

High-Speed Internet Service Segment Rankings

In the 2008 study, high-speed Internet providers are examined in four regions:

East Region: Cablevision ranks highest with a score of 650, performing particularly well in offerings and promotions and performance and reliability. EarthLink follows in the rankings with 643, and Embarq ranks third with 634.

South Region: With a score of 670, Road Runner (delivered by Bright House Networks) ranks highest, performing well in cost of service, customer service and billing. Verizon (663) and Insight (661) follow in the region.

North Central Region: Performing particularly well in all five factors driving satisfaction, WOW! ranks highest with 702. Cincinnati Bell follows with 665, and Cox ranks third with 663.

West Region: Cox Communications ranks highest with 641, performing particularly well in performance and reliability and billing. EarthLink (630) and Verizon (625) follow in the ranking.

The study also finds the following information:

-- Customers who use online billing experience fewer billing errors and have higher satisfaction scores compared with the average customer. Overall satisfaction among dial-up customers who receive online bills is 47 points higher, on average, than among those who receive only paper bills. Similarly, the satisfaction scores of high-speed customers who receive online bills are 21 points higher, on average, than those who receive paper bills.

-- Among Internet customers, 65 percent report bundling their Internet service with one or more telecommunications services, compared with 52 percent in 2007.

The 2008 ISP Residential Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 16,933 residential customers of Internet service providers nationwide. The study was fielded in July 2008.

   Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking   Dial-Up Segment   (Based on a 1,000-point scale)    Provider                              Index        J.D. Power.com Power                                         Score         Circle Ratings For                                                           Consumers   EarthLink Net                          633                  5   United Online                          630                  5    MSN                                    602                  3   Dial-Up Segment Average                587                  3   AT&T Yahoo!                            584                  3    AOL Net                                551                  2      High-Speed Providers: East Region   (Based on a 1,000-point scale)    Provider                              Index        J.D. Power.com Power                                         Score         Circle Ratings For                                                           Consumers   Cablevision                            650                  5   EarthLink                              643                  5    Embarq                                 634                  4   AT&T Yahoo!                            629                  4   Cox                                    627                  4   Verizon                                623                  4   Road Runner (Time Warner Cable)        621                  4    Frontier                               612                  3   East Region Segment Average            611                  3    RCN                                    593                  2   Comcast                                576                  2   Charter                                572                  2   

East Region includes: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

   High-Speed Providers: South Region   (Based on a 1,000-point scale)    Provider                              Index         J.D. Power.com Power                                         Score          Circle Ratings For                                                            Consumers   Road Runner (Bright House Networks)    670                  5   Verizon                                663                  5   Insight                                661                  5    EarthLink                              651                  4   Cox                                    645                  4    Embarq                                 639                  3   AT&T Yahoo!                            631                  3   South Region Segment Average           628                  3   Road Runner (Time Warner Cable)        626                  3   Cable One                              625                  3    Comcast                                592                  2   Windstream                             590                  2   CenturyTel                             586                  2   Charter                                566                  2   Mediacom                               549                  2    

South Region includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

   High-Speed Providers: North Central Region   (Based on a 1,000-point scale)    Provider                              Index       J.D. Power.com Power                                         Score        Circle Ratings For                                                           Consumers   WOW!                                   702                  5    Cincinnati Bell                        665                  4   Cox                                    663                  4   Insight                                653                  4   EarthLink                              644                  4   Verizon                                633                  4   AT&T Yahoo!                            626                  4    Road Runner (Time Warner Cable)        610                  3   CenturyTel                             608                  3   North Central Region Segment Average   608                  3   Embarq                                 607                  3    Charter                                564                  2   Comcast                                559                  2    

North Central Region includes: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

   High-Speed Providers: West Region   (Based on a 1,000-point scale)    Provider                              Index        J.D. Power.com Power                                         Score         Circle Ratings For                                                           Consumers   Cox                                    641                  5    EarthLink                              630                  4   Verizon                                625                  4    AT&T Yahoo!                            618                  3   West Region Segment Average            616                  3   Qwest                                  611                  3   Cable One                              607                  3   Embarq                                 607                  3    Comcast                                595                  2   Frontier                               588                  2   Road Runner (Time Warner Cable)        583                  2   Charter                                563                  2   Mediacom                               558                  2    

West Region includes: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, training and customer satisfaction. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2007 were $6.8 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.

    J.D. Power and Associates Media Relations Contacts:    John Tews                         Aimee Canlas    Troy, Mich.                       Westlake Village, Calif.    (248) 312-4119                    (805) 418-8917    [email protected]                [email protected]    

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. http://www.jdpower.com/corporate

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J.D. Power and Associates

CONTACT: John Tews, Troy, Mich., +1-248-312-4119, [email protected], orAimee Canlas, Westlake Village, Calif., +1-805-418-8917, [email protected],both of J.D. Power and Associates

Web site: http://www.jdpower.com/http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/