The annual American Customer Satisfaction Index for 2015 placed Comcast and Time-Warner Cable near the very bottom of all telecom and technology companies in the rankings, the researchers involved announced Tuesday.
The ACSI's ratings -- on a 100-point scale -- gave Comcast a score of 54 as a TV service provider and 56 as an ISP, well below the industry average of 63 in both categories. TWC received a 51 in the former category and a 58 in the latter. The ratings were based on the ACSI's in-house analysis of survey responses from 14,000 Americans, which were collected during the first quarter of 2015.
Low scores for Comcast and TWC were a sign of the times for the information services sector as a whole, which, for the purposes of the ACSI research, includes the ISP, wireless Internet, wireless and wireline phone, subscription TV and computer software industries. Overall, the researchers said, consumers were 3.4% less satisfied with businesses in those fields than they were a year ago, a figure driven in large part by downturns in pay TV subscribership and dissatisfaction with a lack of choice among ISPs.
ACSI director David VanAmburg said in a statement that prospective merger activity is unlikely to produce an upturn in those results.
"Cable companies are trying to strengthen their positions through consolidation, but the benefits to consumers of one coaxial cable company absorbing another are questionable," he said.
Overall satisfaction with the wireless sector declined as well, due to unhappiness over perceived drops in data transmission speeds and service quality. The industry in general scored a 70, with Verizon leading the big four with a mark of 71, though that represents a five-point drop from last year's figures. Close behind were AT&T and T-Mobile, at 70 each, with Sprint falling to the bottom at 65. The highest-rated company in wireless was pre-paid service provider TracFone, at 77.