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Cox Communications review: Fast internet speeds

Cox Communications (“Cox”) is a broadband communications and entertainment company, providing internet, TV, phone, and smart home security solutions to residential customers across the US over its own nationwide IP network. Currently providing service in 19 states, 1,300 zip codes, and over 6 million homes and businesses across the country, Cox is the largest private telecom company in America. 

Cox claims to be no. 1 for streaming video according to Nielsen data and an analysis done by Ookla of Speedtest Intelligence data. Likewise, Cox offers the fastest speeds everywhere (in locations where Cox is available), access to over 3 million wifi hotspots while travelling, a free security suite, and Gig speed connections. However, Cox is more than just an internet provider as it vies to compete with the likes of Sling, Hulu, DirecTV, and YouTubeTV as an OnDemand TV provider.   

Cox says it’s committed to bringing the fastest speeds to its customers. In October of 2019, Cox announced an automatic increase in speeds for the Connect2Compete customers, the low-cost product targeted at first-time internet subscribers. On the other end of the spectrum, Cox launched its EliteGamer service to enhance the gaming experience and improve connections between servers and players across its footprint in June 2020. 

Despite efforts to bring faster speeds to all tiers of customers and services, Cox has been imposing slowdowns to internet speeds in effort to curb excessive usage despite unlimited data. All Cox internet plans include 1.25 TB per month of data usage, but users with exceptionally high data usage are being asked to curb their usage or face termination of service.

Best for

  • User-friendly website
  • Clearly communicated pricing

Not for

  • Low prices
  • Bundling options

Cox internet plans and prices

Plan Price Download/Upload Speed Connection Type Best for
Internet Starter $20/mo 10 Mbps Cable Light Streamers
StraightUp Internet $50/mo 25 Mbps Cable Prepaid service for those seeking flexibility & no contracts
Internet Essential $30/mo 50 Mbps Cable Social Networkers
Internet Preferred $50/mo 150 Mbps Cable Frequent Online Gamers
Internet Ultimate $70/mo 500 Mbps Cable House of Multitaskers
Gigablast $100/mo 940 Mbps Cable/Fiber Mega Users

Data effective 9/28/2020

* Package availability depends on location, prices may vary


View Now at Cox

Cable plans, speed, and data

Cox makes shopping for the right plan online easy, eliminating the need to sit on the phone with a sales rep for an hour. After entering your address on the site and confirming service is available in your area, you can view promotional pricing by service or bundle. Post-promotional pricing is also clearly displayed. There are typically six plans to choose from between 10 Mbps and 940 Mbps — speeds for any lifestyle. Pricing ranges from $20 per month to $100 per month and will rise after the first year by about $15 to $30 per month, depending on the plan.

Once you select a service, the website will walk you through “customizations” to your service by offering additional products and rental internet equipment. Finally, you will enter your personal information to create a profile and verify your identity and perform a routine credit check. 

Who is each Cox plan best for?

  • Internet Starter — Best for light streamers, because streaming in SD and downloading photos, music, etc. Uses minimal bandwidth.
  • StraightUp Internet — Best for individuals seeking a no-surprises service. This plan includes a modem and eliminates the annual contract, credit check, deposit and any additional fees. 
  • Internet Essential — Best for social networkers, because fast uploads allow you to post photos and videos quicker.
  • Internet Preferred — Best for frequent online gamers, because fast download and upload speeds help guard against lag.
  • Internet Ultimate — Best for a house of multitaskers, because the increased bandwidth supports multiple users across multiple devices.
  • Gigablast — Best for mega users, because gigabit speeds allow you to perform data-heavy tasks lightning fast.

How fast is Cox internet?

In the FCC’s seventh Measuring Fixed Broadband Report, the FCC analyzed the actual speeds customers were receiving from internet providers, against the speeds advertised. Cox performed pretty well, with its customers receiving 95% or more of advertised speeds about 90% of the time. It beat out Comcast, Mediacom, and Time Warner for cable providers. This report tells us you’re likely to experience internet speeds as advertised. 

Internet availability

Cox is one of the most widely available cable internet providers with a presence in 19 states. Its strongest coverage areas include Arizona, California, Nevada, and Virginia. 

Other factors to consider

Simple equipment

Your internet plan will come with Cox’s Panoramic WiFi, its version of a mesh WiFi system. Mesh WiFi uses a web of connected devices to provide better internet coverage throughout the house. Replacing the single router system can mean no weird dead zones in the basement or around corners. It’s $11 per month, a standard fee for renting internet equipment. There’s also a Panoramic WiFi app that lets you view and manage any connected devices and the WiFi connection. You can easily pause it for dinner or set time limitations on certain devices. The device also automatically updates itself for security and firmware updates. 

Contracts and fees

A 12-month contract is standard for Cox internet plans — pretty standard for the industry. If this sounds like a big commitment, Cox does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you’ll have some time to try the service out. You can also opt for a month-to-month contract for $10 more per month. Cox doesn’t have many other fees. It’ll cost $11 per month for the Panoramic WiFi Gateway, and if you bundle TV and internet, there may be a $50 installation fee. 

Notable fees

  • $10 charge for up to 50 GB of additional data
  • $11/mo Panoramic WiFi Gateway
  • $5/mo Additional Elite Gamer Connections
  • $10/mo Cox Complete Care
  • $50 Installation Fee (on TV/Internet bundles)

*Sometimes waived for certain packages or online orders.

TV bundles

You can add a TV package to your internet service for between $16 more per month. The channel packages range from 75 to 250 channels. The Contour TV Ultimate plan, the 250+ channel package, includes NFL RedZone, HBO, Cinemax, and Playboy. Otherwise, these channels are optional on a channel-by-channel basis to the Contour TV plan (140+ channels) only. 

Customer service

Cox earns pretty average satisfaction ratings compared to other ISPs. In J.D. Power’s 2020 survey, it scored right around the industry average in all three regions it covers. The study polls customers’ opinions on performance, cost, billing, and communication. Cox received lower scores in cost of service and communication, but overall, the company does as good a job as most providers. 

Cox vs. other providers

 
Starting Price Speeds Connection Connection Contract
Cox $20/mo. * 10-940 Mbps Cable, Fiber 12 months, month-to-month*& no contracts
Frontier $40/mo. * DSL: 6-45 MbpsFiber: 50-940 Mbps DSL, Fiber No contracts
AT&T $50/mo.* DSL: 10-100 Mbps
Fiber: 940 Mbps
DSL, Fiber 1 year*
Xfinity $20/mo* 25-1,000 Mbps Cable, Fiber 12 months, month-to-month *

*Prices for stand-alone internet service, current at time of publication. Prices may vary by location. Contract length may vary and it’s subject to the starting price presented above.

Cox Communications vs. AT&T

While the two providers do have overlap in their coverage area, several factors should weigh into your decision on which carrier to choose as your internet service provider. AT&T provides internet through Fiber and DSL while Cox utilizes Fiber and cable. Fiber is far superior to both DSL and cable, yet access to fiber is highly dependent on your locale. If it comes down to DSL versus cable, Cox will generally offer a better connection than you’d get through AT&T’s DSL. Despite the variables in comparing the speed of the two providers, price-sensitive customers will often find that Cox is the most transparent about its pricing and contract structure. 

Cox Communications vs. Xfinity

Both Cox and Xfinity provide internet service via cable or fiber and offer several plan speeds. Xfinity has a slightly larger coverage area and may be more accessible than Cox. When it comes to value, though, Xfinity provides a little more bang for the buck. For example, Xfinity’s 150 Mbps plan comes in at $55 dollars versus $60 with Cox.

How much does Cox charge for the internet?

Cox offers internet packages beginning at $10 per month for download speeds of 10 Mbps. More robust and sophisticated users can select a range of packages and download speeds up to the Gigablast package offering 1 Gbps of download speeds (via Fiber where available) for $120 per month. 

Does Cox offer the internet only?

In addition to internet service, Cox offers a variety of broadband services ranging from streaming television, phone, and security monitoring. 

How much is Cox internet after 12 months?

Cox offers new customers promotional pricing for the duration of the term of their signed contract. Typically, promotional pricing is offered for a 12 month contract. Upon the expiration of the contract, pricing increases average approximately $30 per month depending upon your package. Cox’s website offers clear visibility into pricing and fees by month to provide more transparency to customers than the average provider. 

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