Larger cable providers once again take a beating for perceived value -- even when it comes to bundled plans. ConsumerReports: Unhappy with your pay-TV company? You're not alone. Dissatisfaction with the perceived value of pay-TV service was once again high among the 176,000 members who participated in Consumer Reports' latest telecommunications survey. When we asked for feedback on their experiences with pay TV, home internet, home telephone service, and bundled plans, they shared their displeasure. In fact, most of the larger cable companies -- Optimum (Cablevision), Comcast, and Spectrum (Charter, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks) -- earned low scores in multiple categories, settling into the bottom half of the 25 providers in CR's new telecom service ratings. Only 38 percent of pay-TV subscribers were highly satisfied with their service, meaning they were "very" or "completely" happy with the offerings. Armstrong, a smaller cable company that operates in Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, earned the second-place slot behind Google Fiber, in part due to favorable scores for technical support, reliability, and customer service. Verizon and the two satellite-TV companies -- AT&T's DirecTV and Dish Network -- also rated better than Cox Communications, Comcast, Spectrum, and Optimum. Top-rated EPB, a municipal broadband service run as a public utility in Chattanooga, Tenn., was one of the few bright spots for internet service. It was the only company to receive a top mark for value. It also got top marks for speed and reliability. Google Fiber was a close second in the ratings, the only other company to get a favorable mark for value. Nearly three-quarters of the survey respondents who have a bundled plan -- TV, internet, and phone -- said they got a special promotional price when they signed up. And 45 percent were still enjoying that rate when they answered our survey.
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