Broadband users take flight

Survey: One in five broadband users ditched their ISP last year, as customer satisfaction takes a tumble

Bad service is driving Europe's broadband customers to swap ISPs in search of a better deal, a survey published on Tuesday indicated.

The Yankee Group European Connected Consumer Survey found that 21 percent of broadband users have deserted their Internet service provider in the last twelve months, compared with 17 percent in 2004.

Broadband service providers (BSPs) and other service providers are increasingly faced with the challenge of holding onto their existing users as customer satisfaction levels slide, warned Yankee Group. It surveyed 2,700 people in the UK, France, Spain, Germany and Italy.

Jonathon Doran, senior analyst at Yankee Group, said that customer retention is the biggest challenge all BSPs face at the moment.

"BSPs need to explore ways to beat price-based competition. BSPs can avoid this by paying close attention to consumer desires including value-added services, enhanced benefits and new features," Doran said.

The survey highlights what appears to be a growing trend of discontent among broadband users in the UK.

ISP Bulldog recently came under investigation from telecoms regulator Ofcom, after widespread complaints from users. Many complained they had been billed for services they had not been provided with, and slammed poor levels of customer services.

Customer satisfaction levels do vary between broadband providers. Smaller providers boast the happiest customers, according to a recent survey by Which magazine.

The consumer-rights group surveyed around 10,000 broadband users who used one of 23 different ISPs. Metronet, a small UK ISP based in Harrow, topped the table with 91 percent of users saying they were 'very satisfied' with their broadband service. Bringing up the rear was NTL, with just 19 percent of users giving it the top rating.