FiOS Tops in ISP Survey

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Readers of PC Magazine gave the tech support provided by Verizon FiOS their highest marks among Internet providers of all stripes.

The readers, who responded to an e-mail poll from the magazine, scored FiOS support highly in the July 29 edition for service reliability, speed, and customer service, among other attributes. The provider’s lowest score was for fees charged for that support. Verizon's score, on a scale created by the magazine based on reader responses, was 8.6 out of 10.

The fiber-based Internet service also had among the lowest percentage of users reporting they needed equipment repairs, and among the highest percentages of customers who said they would pick the company as their ISP.

The highest-ranking cable operator was Cablevision Systems Corp.’s Optimum Online, which earned an 8.1 score. Second place among cable-based providers was a tie between Bright House Networks and Earthlink, each gaining a 7.9 score. Cox's score fell one-tenth from last year, and that was enough to drop it into third on the ranking. Overbuilder WOW! Internet dropped off the survey; the magazine explained that providers have to have at least 50 consumers who submit surveys for the ranking in order to obtain a statistically significant sample on which to peg ratings.

Two cable operators, Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc., got scores deemed significantly below average for attributes including speed, reliability and customer service.

The best DSL provider, AT&T South, got a 7.7 score. The rankings showed that some regional Bells are stepping up their service game: Embarq Communications' score went from 6.5 last year to 7.4. (Embarq is one of the broadband providers which in the last year have introduced fee-based support for so-called out-of-scope calls that allows consumers to get remote help for digital products such as routers that are not provided by Embarq but impact customer experience.)

HughesNet was the only ranked satellite-delivered broadband provider.