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Telewest tops JD Power broadband ISP chart

NTL, BT flop

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Telewest has topped a list of the UK's six leading broadband ISPs while NTL - the cableco that is currently in the process of buying Telewest - came last in the 2005 UK Residential Broadband Internet Service Providers Satisfaction Study by JD Power and Associates.

According to the survey of some 935 broadband users, Telewest (which has more than 920,000 broadband users) scored well on broadband performance and reliability, customer service/technical support, and billing, beating AOL UK in second place.

Said Telewest spokesman Philip Snalune: "We're over the moon that broadband users have backed this approach in the JD Power survey."

Wanadoo came a close third followed by Tiscali, with all four ISPs scoring "above average" marks for their ovrall performance.

BT came fifth and was clobbered for being too pricey. NTL scored "significantly below the industry average on all factors except cost of the service", said the report.

Despite today's findings, the report also revealed that punters are prepared to switch broadband suppliers to take advantage of new deals and services. And with regulator Ofcom keen to make switching all telecoms providers much easier, ISPs need to ensure that they remain on top of their game to retain customers.

Said Gunda Lapski, director of European telecommunications research at JD Power: "While lower prices may be enticing, we find that the more satisfied customers are, the less likely they are to switch providers.

"A similar correlation is also apparent between switching intent and the likelihood of customers to recommend their provider to other people. Because customer loyalty and advocacy are so critical to telecommunications providers, it is vital that ISPs go above and beyond to listen to their customers and make sure satisfaction levels are high."

Even though NTL has taking a pounding in this survey, there is something that might prove of interest. It seems punters have a keen interest in receiving bundled services on one bill with BT, NTL and Telewest emerging as the "most popular choices for providers".

Should NTL's merger with Telewest and its take-over of Virgin Mobile go-ahead, its four-play bundled offering of TV, fixed-line phone, broadband and mobile could prove to be a real winner with punters. ®

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