FTTH Council survey shows high satisfaction with fiber

JUNE 29, 2009 -- Customers of telecom companies that run fiber-ptic lines all the way to the subscriber premises are more likely to give high ratings to their television and Internet services than those who access their services via cable modem or DSL.

JUNE 29, 2009 -- Customers of telecom companies that run fiber-ptic lines all the way to the subscriber premises are more likely to give high ratings to their television and Internet services than those who access their services via cable modem or DSL, according to survey results released today by the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council (search Lightwave for the FTTH Council).

The survey, commissioned by the council and conducted by the consulting and marketing firm RVA LLC, was based on a random sampling of more than 1,200 households, equally divided among FTTH users and subscribers to other broadband services. It found that 67 percent of FTTH users gave the highest rating -- "very satisfied" -- to their Internet connection speeds, compared to 58 percent of cable modem users and 46 percent of DSL users.

In addition, 74 percent of those watching television over FTTH were "very satisfied" with the quality of the HD picture they received, compared to 50 percent of cable TV and 51 percent of satellite TV subscribers. FTTH users also reported higher satisfaction rates with regard to their service reliability, particularly its "uptime."

The survey also found that the level of customer satisfaction with the installation process was about the same for all broadband services, and that FTTH users on average report a 6 percent drop in their monthly bills from their previous service provider.

Direct fiber services were found to be, on average, much faster than those relying on copper in the last mile, according to survey respondents, who were asked to test their Internet connection speeds at www.speakeasy.net and report the results. FTTH users reported an average download speed of 10.4 Mbps, 51 percent faster than the average reported by cable modem users and 593% higher than what was reported by DSL users.

"When you listen to what real subscribers are saying about their broadband services, we found that those who have end-to-end fiber are the most satisfied broadband customers around," said FTTH Council President Joe Savage. "On average, they are getting faster Internet and higher-quality television services and are paying less for them."

When current and non-FTTH users were also asked how important having a fiber connection would be if they were looking to purchase a home, they rated FTTH tops among five home amenities that also included green space and walking trails, 24-hour neighborhood security patrol, a community pool, and a fitness center or club house. Eight-two percent of current FTTH users said that "very high speed Internet" would be and important factor in buying a new home.

"The survey results make clear that once they have it, people really love their direct fiber broadband," said Savage. "When we asked FTTH users whether they would consider disconnecting their service if economic conditions forced them to rethink their household budgets, 49 percent of them said their fiber connection would be the 'last thing' they would give up. Only 11 percent said it would be the first."

A recent survey conducted by systems vendor Alcatel-Lucent found similar sentiments.

The polling was conducted in April and May of this year.

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