Greim, John--Getty Images/LightRocket
By Ethan Wolff-Mann
June 17, 2016

Every once and a while, a new survey comes out just to double check that everyone wishes that their cable and internet providers would vanish. It may be like checking to confirm the sky is still blue, but to many, there’s comfort in consistency.

Published on Thursday, Consumer Reports‘ new survey jives with previous reports that have said Comcast and Time Warner are still some of the most hated companies in America, but differs in one important way: It offers a small silver lining. It’s not all bad.

The light at the end of the tunnel comes from two vastly different entities–Google and small municipal governments. According to Consumer Reports, the Chattanooga, Tenn. municipal government, which runs broadband and cable as a utility, earned stellar marks across the board for its services.

With extremely high infrastructure costs that favor significant economies of scale, it’s no surprise that one of the few viable competitors to big, corporate service providers would be a city or town itself. For Chattanooga, it’s working out, if this survey is anything to go by.

Google rated similar satisfaction, in the cities where it offers its Fiber service. Like the Chattanooga service, it offers extremely fast gigabit speeds.

The competition was very poor in general, however. Only three companies scored better than a middling result for internet, and no service that offered a phone, TV, and internet bundle scored anything higher than “worst.” Be it value, quality, or service, the field was abysmal.

The report noted one “bright spot”: Median internet speeds hit 25 Mbps, which is the FCC’s technical definition of broadband. But of course that still means half of subscribers are technically not getting the broadband they pay for. The survey also indicated that it pays to negotiate: 40% of those who tried, succeeded in getting a better deal.

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