At this point, the fact that everyone hates whichever company pipes internet into their homes is a bad joke. We’ve come to expect terrible customer service, inconsistent coverage and confusingly expensive billing — it’s just part of the dream of American home ownership. So really, you should be impressed that ISPs can continue to surprise us with their awfulness.

According to the latest edition of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), a survey that polls 250,000 consumers on the quality of products and services available to households, that’s exactly what’s happening. ISPs rank the lowest among all telecoms companies for consumer satisfaction, and you know that anything that can be worse than wireless providers or even satellite TV companies has to be bad.

On ASCI’s customer satisfaction scale of 0-100, ISPs scored a record-low 62, with customer satisfaction dropping in every single category. Courtesy and helpfelness of staff was worse in 2018 than 2017, as was the speed of transactions, ease of understanding your bill, website satisfaction, internet service reliability, ability to keep interruptions to a minimum, performance during peak hours, variety of available plans, and call center satisfaction. It takes a special kind of commitment to sucking in order to get that kind of across-the-board decrease, so ISP managers, congrats.

ASCI put the blame on the nature of the telecoms industry, which is thirstily designed to maximize the number of net customer additions every quarter, with near-total disregard of everything else.

“If you look at retail, airlines, and many other industries, companies like to reward customer loyalty, offering perks or discounts for doing business with them,” David VanAmburg, managing director at the ACSI. “Telecom is the exact opposite. In many ways, loyalty is punished because subscription TV is focused on customer acquisition and offering the best deal to lure customers away from competitors. In the long run, that doesn’t leave customers very satisfied.”

Chris Mills has loved tinkering with technology ever since he worked out how to defeat the parental controls on his parents' internet. He's blogged his way through Apple events and SpaceX launches ever since, and still keeps a bizarre fondness for the Palm Pre.