By Sue Chetwin, CEO Consumer NZ.
Choosing an internet service provider (ISP) can be tricky – it is one area where bigger is not necessarily better.
Every year we ask our members to rate their ISPs. It’s one of our most popular reports, which is logical given the amount of time we spend on the internet. For the past five years, the same small companies keep appearing at the top of the list.
In our latest survey, ISP Inspire came out on top at 99% satisfaction. The other two small companies that regularly rate highly with our members are Actrix and Snap.
Our members are asked to rate areas like in-home setup, billing and technical phone help, online help, connection and speed.
So how do the big players rate? Middling. Vodafone, Telecom and TelstraClear (now owned by Vodafone) all rated in the middle of the pack. Telecom was rated below average for connection and speed, while TelstraClear was below average for its phone and online help.
At the lower end were Orcon, Slingshot, Compass and Woosh.
From a consumer perspective, what we want from our ISP is obviously a system that works efficiently and as speedily as possible. Importantly, we want problems to be fixed fast.
Our members said of the top-rated ISP: “An ISP which provides the best customer support possible. Friendly staff quickly, promptly and efficiently deal with any queries – technical or accounts.“
Of the worst they said, “I don’t bother phoning as from experience it takes hours for someone to answer and even then they are not very helpful.”
Interestingly, they said they only stayed with the ISP because of the email address. It was inconvenient to move. But is it?
One of our former board members shifted to a smaller player after reading one of our surveys and found the new service to be excellent. The ISP took care of everything, including redirecting traffic from his old email address to the new one.
Consumer runs a free telecommunications comparison site TelMe.org.nz. If you’re looking to switch providers of your phone and ISP services, give it a try.