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The least popular internet provider in the US isn’t the one you think

Updated Mar 25th, 2021 12:59PM EDT
Best Internet Provider
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Back in 2016, the UN General Assembly passed a non-binding resolution that declared internet access to be a human right. And though the resolution didn’t impose any requirements on governments to actually provide internet access, it nonetheless underscored how integral the internet has become in our day-to-day lives.

“Overwhelmingly, studies around the world show that internet access is now vital for access to jobs, to education, for improving worker rights, and to ensure freedom of expression and access to information,” Jack J. Barry articulated for OpenGlobalRights last year.

The importance of good internet access was only heightened during the coronavirus pandemic, and especially during periods of strict lockdown measures. A Pew survey from back in April found that 53% of respondents said that internet access was essential for them during the pandemic. And especially for those who needed access to health information, and for those with kids who needed access to online educational materials, solid, affordable, and reliable internet access became more important than ever.

In light of all that, it’s only natural to wonder which ISPs aren’t worth the trouble and which ones provide an adequate bang for the buck. Tackling this very issue, BestLife recently put together a list of the least popular internet service providers. Their methodology was quite simple and involved looking at how much each ISP costs per month and factoring in their scores from the 2020 American Customer Satisfaction Index “which is based on benchmarks including, but not limited to, how easy it is to understand the bill, quality and reliability of the service, and level of satisfaction when dealing with customer service representatives.”

Interestingly, Xfinity, for as much as people like to trash the company, scored pretty well. The 2020 American Customer Satisfaction Index report reads in part:

While internet service overall is getting better this year according to customers, the bar is still set low. Over time, the industry’s customer satisfaction has stayed within a tight 3-point range. Among 46 ACSI industries, ISPs rank second-to-worst for satisfaction next to subscription TV, with the same major telecom companies dominating both categories.

The top of the industry belongs to Verizon Fios, which delivers internet on a 100% fiber-optic network. With a 4% gain to 73, Fios separates itself further this year from second-place AT&T Internet. According to internet users, Fios is best in class when it comes to reliable service where outages are kept to a minimum.

Third place goes to Comcast’s Xfinity following its large 8% ACSI gain to 66. The move brings Xfinity closer to the two leaders this year and makes it the top-satisfying cable ISP. For the full year of 2019, Comcast reported revenue growth of 9.4% for its high-speed internet business, along with internet customer net additions of 1.4 million. According to customers, Xfinity staff are making a difference as in-store transaction speed is the most-improved factor of the customer experience.

When the dust settled, these were the nine least popular ISPs with the number 1 entry being the least popular of the bunch.

  1. Suddenlink by Altice
  2. Frontier
  3. Mediacom
  4. Optimum
  5. Cox
  6. Spectrum
  7. AT&T
  8. Verizon Fios
  9. Xfinity

Incidentally, a similar list put together by found that Xfinity offered users the best value when taking into account download speeds, price, and monthly data caps.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.