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J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Optimum Business and Verizon Rank Highest in Satisfying Business Customers With Telecommunications Data Services.

Improvements in Customer Service Lead to Overall Satisfaction Gains

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., June 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Optimum Business ranks highest in satisfying home-based and small/midsize business customers with telecommunications data services, while Verizon ranks highest among customers in the large enterprise business segment, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Major Provider Business Telecommunications Study(SM) released today.

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With an index score of 654 on a 1,000-point scale, Optimum Business by Cablevision ranks highest in the home-based business segment--a new segment in the 2009 study. Optimum Business performs particularly well in performance and reliability, as well as offerings and promotions. Cox Communications (637) and EMBARQ (629) follow in the segment rankings.

Optimum Business also ranks highest in the small/midsize business segment with a score of 673, performing particularly well in four of the six factors driving satisfaction: sales representatives/account executives; billing; cost of service; and offerings and promotions. Cox Communications follows Optimum Business in the segment rankings with a score of 669, while AT&T ranks third with 632.

In the large enterprise business segment, Verizon ranks highest in customer satisfaction with a score of 694, performing particularly well in five factors: performance and reliability; sales representatives/account executives; customer service; cost of service; and offerings and promotions. Time Warner Cable follows Verizon in the segment rankings with 677.

After a sharp decline in satisfaction scores in the small/midsize and large enterprise business segments between 2007 and 2008, overall satisfaction in both segments increases in 2009, driven by improvements in the billing and customer service factors.

  Comparison of Overall Satisfaction Scores by Segment, 2008-2009

  Segment                                     2008     2009     Difference
  Small/midsize business segment
   average                                     600      627     27 points
  Large enterprise business segment
   average                                     665      672      7 points


"Providers have taken major steps to improve customer service since the 2008 study, and those investments are beginning to pay off," said Frank Perazzini, director of telecommunications at J.D. Power and Associates. "Improved service tools and better-prepared customer service representatives have improved problem resolution during the first contact to 56 percent, compared with less than 40 percent in 2008."

The study also finds a considerable decline in the percentage of small/midsize and large enterprise business customers who said they had difficulty understanding the customer service representative, which includes a lack of understanding of the problem by the customer service representative and issues with the clarity of a customer service representative's response. Among small/midsize business customers, 16 percent report having experienced this problem, compared with 23 percent in 2008. Only 13 percent of large enterprise business customers report having experienced this problem--down from 26 percent in 2008.

"The sharp decline in communication-related problems between customer service representatives and their clients is just another example of how strong internal training programs pay long-term dividends for business services providers," said Perazzini. "These results are particularly impressive considering that there were no major differences in network outage performance between 2008 and 2009."

The study measures customer satisfaction with providers of telecommunications data services, such as cable modem, DSL, T1, T3/DS3, Ethernet and frame relay. Providers are ranked in three segments: home-based businesses (companies based in a residential location with one to five employees); small/midsize businesses (companies with two to 499 employees); and large enterprise businesses (companies with 500 or more employees). Five factors are used to measure satisfaction across all three segments: performance and reliability; billing; cost of service; offerings and promotions; and customer service. A sixth factor--sales representatives/account executives--is included for small/midsize businesses and large enterprise businesses.

The 2009 Major Provider Business Telecommunications Study is based on responses from 4,252 business customers with telecommunications data services at home-based, small/midsize and large enterprise business in the United States and includes evaluation of their data service providers. The study was fielded in January and April 2009.

  Customer Satisfaction Index Rankings
  Home-Based Business Segment
  (Based on a 1,000-point scale)

                                Index       JDPower.com Power Circle Ratings
  Provider                      Score       For Consumers
  --------                      -----       -------------

  Optimum Business               654                5
  Cox Communications             637                4
  EMBARQ                         629                4
  Verizon                        626                4
  Qwest                          625                4
  AT&T                           617                4
  Home-Based Business Major
   Provider Average              601                3
  Time Warner Cable              589                3
  Comcast                        570                2
  Charter                        535                2


  Small/Midsize Business Segment
  (Based on a 1,000-point scale)

                                Index       JDPower.com Power Circle Ratings
  Provider                      Score       For Consumers
  --------                      -----       -------------

  Optimum Business               673                5
  Cox Communications             669                5
  AT&T                           632                3
  Verizon                        629                3
  Small/Midsize Business
   Major Provider Average        627                3
  Comcast                        621                3
  Time Warner Cable              598                2
  Qwest                          592                2


  Large Enterprise Segment
  (Based on a 1,000-point scale)

                                Index       JDPower.com Power Circle Ratings
  Provider                      Score       For Consumers
  --------                      -----       -------------

  Verizon                        694                5
  Time Warner Cable              677                3
  Large Enterprise Major
   Provider Average              672                3
  AT&T                           666                3
  Comcast                        630                2

  About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2008 were $6.4 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.

  J.D. Power and Associates Media Relations Contacts:
  John Tews; Troy, Mich.; (248) 312-4119; media.relations@jdpa.com

Syvetril Perryman; Westlake Village, Calif.; (805) 418-8103; media.relations@jdpa.com

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate

CONTACT: John Tews, Troy, Mich., +1-248-312-4119, or Syvetril Perryman, Westlake Village, Calif., +1-805-418-8103, both of J.D. Power and Associates, media.relations@jdpa.com

Web Site: http://www.jdpower.com/ http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/

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