The recent findings from a J.D. Power survey of residential ISP customers underscore the competitive choices consumers enjoy. While the J.D. Power results regarding consumer preferences are consistent with earlier research – including a study reported by Strategis Group in 2001 – the study fails to address or recognize the historic lead that cable modem service has enjoyed over DSL, both in terms of actual subscriber numbers, and consumer satisfaction.
Despite the apparent intentions of consumers as expressed to J.D. Power researchers, cable modem service clearly is beating DSL in the competitive marketplace, and cable modem customers are more satisfied.
The 2001 Strategis Group study, for instance, reported that cable modem subscribers had a higher degree of satisfaction with their service than did their DSL counterparts. Similarly, a Harris Interactive Harris Poll Online, conducted for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) in July 2001, found that “cable modem customers are more satisfied with their service than DSL subscribers are with theirs,” and that, “furthermore, they are more likely than DSL and dial-up subscribers to report that their service exceeds their expectations.” Harris Interactive said the key drivers in these survey results included cable’s perceived superiority in download and upload speeds, reliability, storage space, and installation.
In addition, a CTAM study from 2000 showed that consumers with Internet access at that time were more likely to choose a cable modem as the best value for the money in high speed Internet access.
Finally, the marketplace itself tells a different story than the J.D. Power results. At the end of the first quarter of this year, cable modem subscribers nationwide outnumbered DSL subscribers, 12 million to 6.4 million. And cable modem service was available to 83 percent of U.S. households, compared to DSL availability of just 60 percent.