Cablevision Systems, Cox Communications and Verizon turned in the top scores among data providers for home, small/midsize and enterprise business segments, respectively, according to the annual J.D. Power and Associates survey.
Overall, business satisfaction with data providers' network reliability in 2010 improved markedly from last year, which J.D. Power chalked up to fewer service outages.
In the home-based business segment (one to five employees in a residential location), Cablevision's Optimum Business ranked No. 1 with a score of 645 on a 1,000-point scale, followed by CenturyLink (638) and Verizon (637).
Cox rated highest in small/midsize businesses (companies with 2 to 499 employees) with a score of 683. Cablevision was second with 668, and AT&T was third with 647.
Verizon ranked highest in the large enterprise business segment (500-plus employees) with a score of 696 followed by AT&T with 680.
On the 2009 J.D. Power survey, Cablevision topped both home and small/midsize segments, and Verizon scored highest among large enterprise.
This year, customer satisfaction with performance and reliability improved across all three business segments compared with 2009. Satisfaction on this factor among small/midsize businesses increased by 16 points and for home-based businesses was up 10 index points from 2009. Large enterprise satisfaction with performance and reliability increased just 1 index point.
According to J.D. Power, the average number of short-duration outages -- those lasting less than 5 minutes -- experienced by customers during the past six months decreased by more than 16%, to 5.9 incidents in 2010 from 7.0 in 2009. The average number of "extended" outages, greater than 5 minutes, dropped more than 11% over the same period, to 2.6 incidents in 2010 from 2.9 in 2009.
"While carriers will never be able to eliminate outages due to weather or natural disasters, reducing outages directly attributable to factors they can control may have a favorable impact on customer retention and the provider's bottom line," Frank Perazzini, J.D. Power's director of telecommunications, said in a statement.
"The 2010 Major Provider Business Telecommunications Study" is based on responses from 5,439 business customers and was fielded in September and November 2009 and January and March 2010.
The survey measures customer satisfaction with providers of telecommunications data services such as cable modem, DSL and T-1 on five factors: performance and reliability; billing; cost of service; offerings and promotions; and customer service. A sixth factor, sales representatives/account executives, is included for small/midsize businesses and large enterprise businesses.
J.D. Power is a business unit of McGraw-Hill.