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Phone Service by Cable Firms Excels in Satisfaction Survey

July 13, 2006|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — Cable TV providers that offer telephone service ranked highest in customer satisfaction in five of six U.S. regions, surpassing traditional phone companies among people who subscribe to national calling plans, according to a study by J.D. Power & Associates.

Overall, however, customer satisfaction continued to decline while the average monthly bill rose, with traditional phone companies charging substantially more than cable providers, the national survey released Wednesday found.

Cox Communications Inc., which a year ago was the only cable company to take top honors in just one region, ranked highest this time in half of the six regions defined by J.D. Powers: the Northeast, West and Southwest.

Verizon Communications Inc. was the only traditional phone company ranked highest in one of its territories, leading the Mid-Atlantic region. Time Warner Inc. led the North Central region and Bright House Networks held the top spot in the Southeast.

The rankings did not include Vonage Holdings Corp. and other providers that use the technology known as voice over Internet protocol even though many of the cable companies ranked in the study do rely on the Net-based phone service to connect their customers.

The attributes used to rank the carriers included reliability, billing, customer service and promotions. The study was based on responses from 12,196 customers nationwide who receive their local and long-distance service from one provider.

But despite growing price competition from cable and pure Internet-based phone service providers, overall spending by customers rose to $52.40 per month compared with $50.70 last year, an increase of 3.4%.

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