DBS, DirecTV Top Power Survey


J.D. Power & Associates weighed in Thursday with its annual
cable/direct-broadcast satellite customer-satisfaction study, and once again DBS
-- specifically DirecTV Inc. -- pulled the most weight among customers

With a score of 113, DirecTV ranked first among 14 cable operators and DBS
providers covered in the survey, 14 index points higher than the average
cable-service-operator result.

J.D. Power used six criteria -- cost of service, credibility/billing, program
offerings, equipment/service capabilities, customer service and reception
quality -- to gauge its study subjects, and DirecTV performed well across that
criteria spectrum.

'Their particular strength is in the area of customer service,' J.D. Power
senior telecommunications director Steve Kirkeby said in a prepared statement.
'While the overall industry average is declining in answering questions and
solving problems the first time, DirecTV's performance in this area is actually

EchoStar Communications Corp. (Dish Network) placed second in J.D. Power's
satisfaction ranking with a 111 score, followed by overbuilder WideOpenWest LLC
(102), Cox Communications Inc.(101) and RCN Corp. (99).

'Our No. 1 ranking reflects the reliability of our service,' DirecTV
president and chief operating officer Roxanne Austin responded in a statement
released Thursday afternoon. 'Being ranked No. 1 . demonstrates that we are
focused on our business.'

The company has some 10.7 million subscribers.

There was some good news for cable operators in this year's J.D. Power

Cable operators, for the first time since the agency launched its
multichannel-media survey, did better than DBS in the area of customer
satisfaction over the quality of home calls by service technicians.

Digital-cable penetration continues to move forward, up 5 percent already in
2002. Digital cable is now operating in 32 percent of cable homes from 27
percent in 2001.

And the average price of cable per month is more than $3 below the average
DBS monthly charge -- $47.08 vs. $50.71.

Nearly 4,000 U.S. households participated in J.D. Power's latest satisfaction