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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 04:36 GMT
Free broadband users 'less happy'
A Carphone Warehouse shop
The Carphone Warehouse's TalkTalk service came last
"Free" broadband deals have resulted in a downturn in customer satisfaction levels, a report has said.

According to the uSwitch Customer Satisfaction Report, most providers fail to match rising customer numbers with improved services and technology.

The survey of more than 11,000 customers found a 9% drop in broadband satisfaction levels.

The report also says consumer trust in their internet suppliers is currently at an "all time low".

The TalkTalk service run by Carphone Warehouse had one of the worst scores: 70% of people expressed satisfaction with its service, placing it joint bottom with Orange - the top score was 85%.

TalkTalk admitted struggling with a flood of applications for its "free" offer - but said it was doing much better now.

Diminishing satisfaction

Customer satisfaction levels were also shown to have dropped 4% among home phone users compared to an earlier uSwitch survey conducted six months ago.

Steve Weller, head of communications services at uSwitch.com, said low-cost broadband deals had seen subscriber numbers rise by almost 650,000 since March.

He said: "However, it's disappointing to see that the majority of providers are failing to accompany the growth in customers numbers by sufficient growth in customer service operations, and the required investment in their technology, to ensure that they are looking after customer needs in an acceptable manner."

Broadband provider Virgin.net came top, with 85% of its customers expressing satisfaction.

The survey placed Telewest second with 83% and Tiscali third with 80%.

Tiscali came top of the home phone providers with a customer satisfaction rating of 81%.

Both TalkTalk and Telewest achieved an 80% rating, followed by BT at 72% and ntl at 70%.

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