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AT&T ISP Review & Reader Survey Results

Service & Support: 2 ¾ Stars

Sometimes it isn't how often your service disappoints you, but how your ISP treats you when it does that makes the difference. Support was rated the number-one factor when choosing an ISP, according to our surveyed AT&T customers, and that category received the company's second-best satisfaction rating just above 2 ¾ (2.79) stars.

Customer satisfaction is another hard subject to properly gauge, with reputable studies on the matter being scarce. However, J.D. Power rated AT&T as having the highest customer satisfaction in the western region of the U.S. in its September 2014 "Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction" study. With our survey score approaching three stars, some of our readers seemed to agree with that assessment.

"Overall, AT&T has been responsive to issues reported to them," said one of our survey entrants. "In the day and age of fiber optics being a norm, charging $55 for 24 Mb/s is robbery," said another price-conscious consumer. The commenter went on to admit, "However, they do have reliable service and decent customer service."

Some readers disagreed wholeheartedly, lambasting the company for a combination of alleged missed appointments, long phone waits and billing issues. Many readers who rated support below three stars detailed a plethora of issues, including defective equipment, outsourced customer support and a feeling of being unimportant to the company.

"[The service is] good overall, but a little pricey for the speeds, given that when something happens, you are a number and not a person," said one customer in our survey.

We have all been there. When our technology fails us, it's never at a convenient time, it never comes back up fast enough and and it's never an important enough issue to the people on the other side of the phone. It could be said all service providers at one point or another have let us down, and likely will again. However, with a score of 2 ¾ stars, our readers ranked AT&T's support slightly above average, and a decent majority of our readers who gave lower scores to performance and price seemed to rate support at three stars or higher.

Derek Forrest is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He writes hardware news and reviews gaming desktops and laptops.
  • jasonelmore
    I wish you guys would do ratings for the Other 3 DSL companies like Windstream and CenturyLink..

    Those 2 companies are the absolute worst broadband companies in the world. All DSL plans in my area are restricted to 1 Mbps because of over selling, and no upgrades are planned to ever increase these speeds.
    Reply
  • Achoo22
    I don't understand why the article states that it's impossible to measure downtime. My modem is pinged a couple of times a minute from multiple locations, all located on major backbones. This data, compiled, gives an excellent real-world representation of overall connection uptime and performance.

    Of course, it's overkill when first-hop pings exceed 300ms with 3% or more packet loss every night from 6PM to midnight or whenever demand goes up. The Windstream DSL service simply isn't engineered to support its users simultaneously.
    Reply
  • cohetedor
    Your pricing unbundled is way off on 6mbps DSL. I'm in MI and have to pay $57 a month. And Uverse starts as slow as 768k, I know because they tried to cut my regular DSL off last January and 768k was the fastest they could offer me.
    Reply
  • Kridian
    16986855 said:
    I'm in MI and have to pay $57 a month. And Uverse starts as slow as 768k, I know because they tried to cut my regular DSL off last January and 768k was the fastest they could offer me.
    Dear lord! My condolences.

    Reply
  • dorsai
    There is no better argument for municipal broadband projects in my opinion...these survey's make one thing clear...unless they are pushed by competition ISP's will not improve their service. Any speed below 15mbps in this day and age does not even qualify to be called "broadband". States should be pushing all of the companies offering anything below 15mbps speeds to upgrade their networks since they are suffering negative economic impacts by allowing the status quo...
    Reply
  • 10tacle
    I participated in this survey last month, so I'm glad to see the results. My two biggest complaints were outages (while relatively quick, still a PITA, especially when gaming online and recording on the DVR) and lower than what my speed should be that I'm paying for. The good news is that my city is one of the markets that will get ATT's gigabit fiber. I had Comcast in my previous home and while it was more expensive and the customer service was horrid, it was also faster for the same price tier and there were next to zero outages.
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    It's strange how this varies so wildly from my experience. I have had ZERO downtime in the past two years, I'm paying for 12mbps and I'm getting 15, and customer service has always been friendly and helpful. My bill went up after a year, and literally all I had to do was call and ask "Can you give me a discount?" and then my price went back down to normal. I'm very satisfied with U-Verse.
    Reply
  • Achoo22
    All DSL plans in my area are restricted to 1 Mbps because of over selling, and no upgrades are planned to ever increase these speeds.
    It's worse here. My neighbor, further from the DSLAM than I am, pays less for 6mb/s than I pay for 1mb/s and because his CO pin is hooked up to a less congested set of tspans than mine, his service is better. Meanwhile, I can't even get them to make a QOS filter setup so that my low-bandwidth, latency sensitive functions (eg, ssh and telnet to work) can function.

    I won't even be able to load bandwidth-heavy webpages (like Amazon, which is about 3MB/24mb per load and will give 404 blank pages if any of the connections stall) to shop from home during Black Friday/Cyber Monday until after midnight.
    Reply
  • Teamchaos
    I had AT&T DSL 18Mb/s for a few years. I never got more than 10-12Mb/s. Eventually I switched to Charter and now I enjoy 100Mb/s bandwidth that consistently exceeds what I'm paying for (typically 102Mb/s). AT&T may be reliable, but it's sloooow. My house is near the end of their line in my neighborhood and I'm sure that was a factor, but still shouldn't have had to pay for more than I received.
    Reply
  • ummduh
    I had the 45Mbps plan here in Napa, CA. I was usually able to get the rated speeds, but VERY often I could not stream anything more than 240 in youtube, and often Netflix wouldn't load in HD. Also, the pings were pretty bad, in the 60-90MS range. (speedtest.net tests) I'm talking literally every weekday after 3pm, and every weekend you couldn't use youtube. Netflix was more hit and miss.

    We ditched cable/tv service all together and switched to comcast 150Mbps service against my own will. Pings in the 10-16MS range (plus speedtests out to 18xMbps regularly), and haven't had any problems with youtube/netflix bufferings or loading in their highest resolutions and bitrates.
    Reply