Skip the navigation

What's the Best Broadband ISP?

The votes are in, and one service stands head and shoulders above the rest

July 24, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - In a world filled with outrageous offers and broken promises by broadband ISPs, who can you trust?

That's what Computerworld set out to discover. Like you, we've seen the brassy, glossy come-ons promising high speed, high quality and low prices ... and, like you, we've frequently been disappointed.

So we decided that we'd do a search to find the best broadband ISP in the U.S. by turning directly to the people who know best: you and other Computerworld readers. To do that, we conducted a monthlong online survey asking you to rate your Internet service provider in a variety of categories: overall satisfaction, connection reliability, download speed, upload speed, customer service, technical support, value (price vs. performance) and e-mail service. For each category, readers were given six choices: excellent, good, average, poor, very poor or not applicable/no opinion.

Then we tallied the results from our 1,163 respondents and came up with the winners ... and the losers. (For detailed information about the survey and our number-crunching, see How the Survey Was Conducted and Graded.)

We came up with more as well. Based on your answers, we've been able to create a snapshot of how people feel about their broadband ISP overall, and of how they use the service. We found, for example, that 58% of respondents use cable and 38% use DSL. Included in the DSL numbers are those who use fiber-optic FiOS connections. (Not everyone responded to that question, which is why the numbers don't quite add up to 100%.)

We also found that despite the hype, VoIP isn't exactly skyrocketing with broadband customers; only 27% of you are using it.

When it comes to whether broadband ISPs deliver on their high-speed promises, the answer is a resounding no -- only 20% said their ISP delivers on speed promises, while 64% said it doesn't, and 16% either didn't know or had no opinion.

Editor's note: Due to rounding, the percentages in this story's results charts don't always add up to exactly 100%.

What's the Best Broadband ISP?

What You Think About Broadband Service

Before we take an in-depth look at the overall winners and losers for best and worst broadband ISPs, we'll take a look at a snapshot of how, as a group, broadband ISPs rate with customers.

Overall Satisfaction
Overall Satisfaction  Excellent: 32%
 Good: 41%
 Average: 19%
 Poor: 6%
 Very poor: 2%
 Not applicable/
no opinion: 1%

Here's the biggest shock: For all of your grumbling, and for all of the complaints lodged against broadband ISPs on message boards and blogs across the Internet, you're generally happy with your broadband providers. A full 73% of respondents rated their overall experience with their broadband ISP as either excellent or good (32% for excellent and 41% for good). Only 8% rated their experience as poor or very poor (6% and 2%, respectively), with 16% calling it average.

Standing out from the pack here was Verizon FiOS, with a whopping 94% giving it excellent or good ratings. Only 2% rated Verizon FiOS as poor, and 4% rated it average.

Connection Reliability
Connection Reliability  Excellent: 46%
 Good: 33%
 Average: 13%
 Poor: 5%
 Very poor: 3%
 Not applicable/
no opinion: 0%

Here's another surprise -- despite the whining we all do (yours truly included) about unreliable connections, on the whole we're pretty happy with the reliability of our broadband connections.

Some 79% of you rated your connection reliability as being excellent (46%) or good (33%), with only 8% rating it poor (5%) or very poor (3%). The remaining 13% rated it average.

Once again, Verizon FiOS ruled the roost, with an amazing 96% rating it excellent or good (86% and 10%, respectively). Only 2% rated it poor, and 2% rated it average.

Our Commenting Policies
Internet of Things: Get the latest!
Internet of Things

Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!