Big name ISPs fail to impress

US magazine lambastes poor service and support

The Microsoft Network, America Online and CompuServe have been publicly humiliated by PC World Magazine -- the world's biggest-selling monthly computer publication -- after it released its annual list of the top ISPs in the US. All three failed to make it into the top 10 -- and CompuServe was lucky to make it onto the list at all. Of the three, MSN performed the best with a ranking of 14 out of 20 – one place better than AOL at 15 -- and an overall rating of just "fair." But in summarising MSN's service the judges said: "Ho-hum at best; loses points for relatively short support hours and toll-only support line." AOL also received a "fair" rating but the judges slammed the service saying: "A cinch to set up -- just pop in the disk -- but poor performance and weak support still dog this behemoth." CompuServe -- rated "poor" -- performed worse still limping in at 19 out of 20. "Once dominant service is now long in the tooth," the judges said. "Can be a struggle to set up and support needs improvement." There was better news for AT&T WorldNet which pipped IBM Internet Connection into first place. The judges said AT&T's service as "outstanding" and added that it was "world class" except for slow responses to support e-mail. The companies were assessed by an independent company to gauge the speed and reliability of the service, among other things. The company also surveyed 8,000 subscribers of PC World Magazine to gauge their levels of satisfaction with their ISPs. ®

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