Cable Prices Too High, Consumers Threaten To Switch Providers

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Satisfaction among cable TV program retailers when it comes to pricing continues to drop. But telco providers AT&T's U-Verse and Verizon's FiOS still earn the best overall results.

Consumer researcher J.D. Power and Associates says customer satisfaction is down versus a year ago, with consumers particularly upset with the cost or service from cable operators. It says based on a 1,000 point scale, customer satisfaction of the cost of television service is down 14 points to 541.

J.D. Power says "fairness of prices" satisfaction from cable programming packages is 22% lower than telco providers and 18% lower than satellite companies, such as DirecTV and Dish.

But overall consumers do give the thumbs up -- more than a year ago -- to specific services, such as DVRs and video-on-demand.

Frank Perazzini, director of telecommunications at J.D. Power and Associates, stated: "It's apparent, however, that TV providers must better communicate their price-value proposition, as customers are increasingly voicing irritation with the amount of their monthly bill. 74% of customers who say they definitely or probably will change TV providers in the next year cite price as a major reason to switch."

The company's survey says overall customer satisfaction -- among all television service providers -- really hasn't changed much from a year ago, down just three points to 629 in 2010. (The survey rates on a 1,000 point scale.)

The good news for cable operators: digital service. The study says digital cable customers that subscribe to "basic-only" service has increased to 44% in 2010 from 40% in 2009.

For a third consecutive year, AT&T U-verse ranks highest in the West (with an index score of 698) and South (732) regions. AT&T U-verse also ranks highest in the North Central region (728). In the East region, Verizon FiOS ranks highest for a third consecutive year with a score of 679.

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