Americast Outranks DBS in Survey

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The direct-broadcast satellite industry lost its bragging rights as providers
to the most satisfied customers in the cable and satellite industry this
year.

J.D. Power and Associates gave that honor to Ameritech New Media's Americast
wireline cable service.

Earlier this year, ANM signed a deal to sell its cable operations in the
Midwest to broadband overbuilder WideOpenWest LLC. The deal is expected to close
later this year.

Only one incumbent MSO, Cox Communications Inc., scored among the top five
providers in the survey, which scores operators against an index of 101 for the
industry average.

Americast scored 123, followed by EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish
Network (118), DirecTV Inc. (114), Cox (104) and overbuilder RCN Corp.
(101).

The DBS companies continue to outperform cable in terms of satisfaction, the
study indicated.

'The overall customer-satisfaction performance gap between satellite and
cable providers remains sizable,' J.D. Power senior director for
telecommunications Steve Kirkeby said in a press release Thursday. 'Cable
companies are attempting to strengthen their competitive positions by upgrading
their systems to digital.'

More than 4,100 households responded to the survey, which evaluated 14
providers on such factors as cost, billing, program offerings, equipment
capabilities, customer service and reception quality.

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