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10 / 10  Review Rating

Cox Internet in a Nutshell

  • Offers Service in: Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington DC, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Ohio, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Arizona, California, Nevada, and Idaho
  • Major Cities Covered: Washington, DC; Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; San Diego, CA; Sacramento, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Tucson, AZ; New Orleans, LA; Baton Rouge, LA; Gainesville, FL; Atlanta, GA; Macon, GA; Charlotte, NC; Richmond, VA; Cleveland, OH; Boston, MA; Hartford, CT; Providence, RI; Little Rock, AR; Fort Smith, AR; Springdale, AR; Tulsa, OK; Oklahoma City, OK; Topeka, KS; Wichita, KS; Lincoln, NE; Omaha, NE; and Des Moines, IA
  • Residential Pricing: $29.99+ per month

Cox first started offering high-speed internet in 1996 and has since grown into a cable internet provider that features speeds up to 1 Gbps (that's 1,000 Mbps). The plans are straightforward and don't have a lot of surprises. Most of them will support smooth video streaming, although you may encounter some problems during high-demand times if you have many people in your neighborhood using the cable lines.

I used Cox internet for a year while living in Atlanta, and I was satisfied with their pricing and service. Cox covers many of the same states as fellow nationwide cable providers Xfinity and Charter Spectrum, though it reaches a much smaller portion of the population. That said, if you do live in an area with Cox internet, it’s a great alternative to some of the other large competitors.

Overview of Cox Internet

Cox internet is the third-largest internet provider in the US. It is available in 18 states (plus the District of Columbia), reaching a little over 20 million nationwide. Like many large internet providers, Cox offers internet-only plans, as well as internet, TV, and phone bundles. You can also turn your home into a smart home or get 24/7 professional security monitoring with Cox Homelife. While most of Cox’s network only provides cable internet, some areas also have fiber-optic internet options for businesses.

Throughout my time with Cox internet, the speeds were relatively stable. However, like most internet providers, Cox was not as fast as advertised. For example, I went with the 50 Mbps internet-only plan. My internet never reached the 50 Mbps download speed, and it rarely hit the 3 Mbps upload speed.

Most of the time, my internet plan’s speed and reliability depended on the time of day. I could get download speeds upwards of 40 Mbps and upload speeds around 2 Mbps in the mornings. In the afternoon, those speeds would usually slow to around 25 Mbps and 1.8 Mbps, respectively. My connection got significantly slower at night. Unfortunately, this is when I wanted to do most of my streaming. Here’s what my connection typically looked like between 6 PM and 12 AM:

Cox Speed Breakdown
Cox Speed Breakdown

Fortunately, this was fast enough to stream movies and TV in standard definition. However, I would experience occasional buffering. If I wanted to watch anything in HD, there was a good chance I wouldn’t be able to stream video content consistently for more than a few minutes at a time.

While the speed was a little disappointing, I got what I paid for. The 50 Mbps plan is not the fastest (though it’s also not the slowest) of Cox’s options. If I had shelled out a little more money, I could have had a much easier time streaming content at any time of day.

So, why was I ultimately satisfied with my Cox internet service? For one thing, it was better than past experiences I had had with providers like Earthlink. Additionally, you’ll notice that the “ping” in the picture above is just 19 ms — this is relatively low and allowed me to play video games online with virtually no lag or glitching. So, even though I had to stream video content with lower video quality, Cox did not slow down my online gaming experience.

At the time, I also had a roommate who used the internet regularly. On an average night, we had both of our phones connected to the Wi-Fi, as well as at least one laptop and one gaming system. The number of devices we had connected was a pretty heavy load for 50 Mbps, yet we had almost no trouble using multiple devices at once.

When it comes to pricing, Cox does offer affordable promotions. However, when you compare the standard rates and the amount you pay per Mbps, Cox falls well behind some of its biggest competitors. For example, the basic Cox internet-only plan offers max speeds of 10 Mbps for $29.99 per month for the first year. After the first year of service, the standard rate goes up to $44.99 per month. Cox’s price increase is part of the reason that I only used Cox internet for one year.

Alternatively, Xfinity offers a basic 15 Mbps plan at a standard rate of $49.95 per month, while AT&T offers a basic 25 Mbps plan for $69.99 per month. When you break down the price per Mbps, you’ll find that you have to pay significantly more per Mbps with Cox than you would with Xfinity or AT&T.

Before we take a look at Cox internet plans and pricing, let’s look at the general pros and cons of Cox internet service:

Pros Cons
  • Up to five different internet-only plans to choose from
  • Offers plans with or without contracts
  • A good choice for gamers
  • Affordable promotions and bundling packages
  • Limited to select cities and locations
  • Speeds can vary widely based on the time of day and number of connected devices
  • The standard rate requires you to pay more per Mbps than some competitors
  • Cord cutters and streamers will need to spend more for higher Mbps plans
  • A one-year minimum contract is required to qualify for promotional rates

Cox Internet Plans & Speeds

Cox offers five internet-only plans, plus a prepaid (no-contract) plan. Plan speeds range from 10 Mbps to 940 Mbps, but these are the maximum advertised speeds. Actual speeds will likely be significantly lower. In any case, let’s take a closer look at all of the Cox internet plans:

Cox Plans, Pricing, and Speeds

Connection Type Download/Upload Speed Data Cap Promotional Rate Standard Rate
Starter 10 Cable Up to 10 Mbps/1 Mbps 1280 GB per month $29.99 per month $44.99 per month
StraightUp Prepaid Cable Up to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps 1280 GB per month N/A $50 per month
Essential 50 Cable Up to 50 Mbps/3 Mbps 1280 GB per month $39.99 per month $65.99 per month
Preferred 150 Cable Up to 150 Mbps/10 Mbps 1280 GB per month $59.99 per month $83.99 per month
Ultimate 500 Cable Up to 500 Mbps/10 Mbps 1280 GB per month $79.99 per month $99.99 per month
Gigablast Cable Up to 940 Mbps/35 Mbps 1280 GB per month $99.99 per month $119.99 per month

While Cox offers plenty of options in download speeds, its upload speeds are not as versatile. The Starter 10 plan only offers 1 Mbps, which is not fast enough to do much more than basic internet searches and send and receive emails. The StraightUp Prepaid and Essential 50 plans are better for people who want to play online video games or stream video content, but 3 Mbps will still limit some online activities.

The Preferred 150 plan offers the best balance of speed and affordability. With 10 Mbps in upload speed, you can stream most HD content with few, if any, interruptions. It’s unfortunate that the Ultimate 500 plan only offers an increase in download speed and absolutely no change in upload speed. Having such a low upload speed makes it hard to justify paying more for the Ultimate 500 plan—especially when you have fiber providers like Verizon Fios and CenturyLink with symmetrical download and upload speeds available. Cox Gigablast plan offers the highest download and upload speeds, but it also comes with the highest monthly premium.

Cox Internet Data Caps

I haven’t talked much about Cox 1.25 TB data cap because it won’t be a huge issue for most subscribers. While using the internet regularly in a two-person household, I never came close to reaching our monthly data cap. On average, you will use about 3G per hour streaming HD content. So, even if you’re streaming HD videos 12 hours per day, you won’t reach your data limit for the month.

However, streaming content is not the only activity that uses data. If you need to download large files in addition to streaming music or video, then you could end up hitting your data cap at some point. Once you go over the data cap, you’ll get charged $10 for the first 50 GB in data and another $10 for every 50 GB in additional data.

Cox Internet Fees

Fees Cost Avoidable? Type
Professional Installation $100 Yes(Self-installation is free) One-time
Early Termination Fee Up to $120 No One-time
Router Fee $10.99 or $149.99 Yes Monthly or one-time
Data Cap Overage Fee $10 Yes Per additional 50 GB
Cox Service Protection Plan $6.99 Yes Monthly

Installation

Cable internet is usually easy to install, and Cox internet is no different. Most Cox subscribers can use Cox Easy Connect self-installation to set up their internet for free. This way, you avoid the $100 professional installation fee. I’ve never had to deal with a Cox technician coming to my home for installation. From what I’ve seen, most people who get professional installation request it or need it because they bundled with Cox Homelife Security.

Contracts

Cox plans require a one-year contract. You can avoid contracts altogether with Cox by paying an additional $10 per month. Signing a contract also gives you access to the promotional rate for the first 12-months of your plan. However, Cox does give users the ability to cancel their contracts early without paying the $120 Early Termination Fee.

Equipment

Cox is one of the few providers I’ve seen that makes it seem as if you are required to use their modem/router gateway. I’m in one of those situations where I still have a modem and router setup from Cox. The picture below is of my Arris Touchstone SB6183 modem and Cisco Linksys EA4500 wireless router. New Cox customers won’t get this setup. Instead, you’ll get Cox Panoramic Wifi gateway.

If you decide to use Cox Panoramic Wi-Fi gateway, be prepared to pay $10.99 a month, or about $132 a year. As much as Cox recommends using their equipment, you could save money getting your own modem.

Cox Panoramic Wi-Fi gateway
Cox Panoramic Wi-Fi gateway

Be sure to check with Cox’s list of approved modems to ensure you purchase a modem that can handle your plan’s speed. I’d recommend doing so if you’re okay with not receiving technical support from Cox.

I’ve noticed a few providers offer better support and free upgrades only if you use their equipment. I work from home and rely on a stable connection, so I pay the equipment fee for peace of mind.

Cox Router
Cox Router

Cox Customer Service

Thankfully, I didn’t need to contact Cox customer service to fix any issues or dispute any charges. That said, Cox does provide 24/7 phone and live-chat customer service. You can contact a customer service representative directly through your Cox account. Additionally, you can find answers to frequently asked questions in the “Quick Self Help Tools” section.

As with any internet service provider, you may have a long wait trying to get through to a Cox representative. However, most users report favorable interactions and positive resolutions to their internet-related issues.

One of my favorite features internet providers are now offering is a Twitter support account. Cox’s Twitter account (@CoxHelp) is quick to respond and resolve an issue. You need to follow them as they handle support requests via direct messages, but it’s faster than sitting on hold.

Verdict

Cox benefits from being one of the largest providers in the country. It has a network that can provide cable internet to millions of people and fiber-optic internet to some businesses. It also gives people the option to get high-speed internet without a contract. If you had to choose between Cox and a DSL internet provider, I’d recommend Cox easily. But if you have Verizon Fios, CenturyLink fiber, or any other fiber internet provider, you’ll get faster speeds for a lower price with a fiber provider.

10 thoughts on “Cox Internet Review

  1. Avatar Barbara Pierson says:

    For gigablast download of up to 1000mbps you need to have fiber optic which only a very small percent of cox customers do. Those that have cable only get up to 940 gbps download. Cox calls both Gigablast and until a few days ago did not tell customers the difference. Both are priced the same though there is a difference in service. Cox needs to correct this. I like many others were told that we were purchasing up to 1000mbps download when it was not available for us. The last few days tech support was still telling me I was getting the 1000 download.

  2. Avatar Bruce Christian says:

    I am not happy with this so called gigablast setup I think all the problems are with the panoramic modem router I am investigating replacment devices and see if I can get this internet connetion to stay consistant.

  3. Avatar Gilbert Arizona says:

    Bruce Christian you are correct. We upgraded to gigablast. Read the cable line speed… no problem. However the first setup on ethernet I was getting 60mps download 35mps upload. Brand new Panoramic modem/router. Had tech visit day 2, they replaced the modem with another brand new Panoramic. Now I’m see 702 mps on download. 35ps upload. But sitting 2 ft from the router im getting 80-90 mps download, 35mps upload. I was told by the tech maybe our equipment can’t handle the speed. I laugh to myself, then go verify that are hardware is meeting all requirements and Tech comes again the following day after another chat with cox who says we should be getting 940mps ethernet, and at minimum 70% of that on wifi. The tech moves the router to the bedroom where the first cable was put in. But it doesn’t change a thing. They proceed to tell me that with covid and so many people using the internet that they just can’t get optimal speeds. What does that have to do with the fact that ethernet gives me 700 download and wifi gives me 10-12% of the ethernet range. I can only guess how many people just sit with it when cox tells them oh its because the speeds might be to fast for your brand new mac. lol We had the tech report the speeds so that cox could discount us for the limited speeds. But wow what a time sucker… and who really knows.

    1. Avatar DC says:

      This….So much this…..Exactly our experience. It is a complete waste of time and money. I don’t even know what to do about though.

      1. Avatar Steve Collins says:

        I just installed two attennas and now have 25 channels, abc, NBC, cbs, fox, and PBS 20 more. It’s free. Sports, news, as good programing for free. I will dance on Cox’s grave when they go bankrupt for their arrogance.

  4. Avatar Steve Collins says:

    I recently purchased panaramric wifi from Cox, and I am pissed. They say nothing about how little you get. $131.92 per month 1 gig. My wife and I are retired. She surfs Facebook and I watch TV. We used our allotment in 11 days, then additional $10.00 day to additional $100.00 $231.92 per month. What a load of crap. I am sorry for a small family. I live in a metro area. I just bought an antenna and I get 40 channels for free including NBC abc cbs fox and PBS. Have you seen the shows available on Cox TV. Fake reality shows. Not worth watching. Anyway panaramric wifi is outrageously expensive. But only if you use it.

  5. Avatar Michelle says:

    Horrible internet service. I was so excited going back to cox because I always love their service. I am massively disappointed with gigablast scam. My internet is always disconnected. My kids are being marked absent because of this! I called customer service, they do not have a damn clue of what’s going on and I asked if someone can visit and check my internet, this ignorant agent wanted to charge me a service fee. Urghhh

  6. Avatar Steve Collins says:

    Panaramric wifi us not a good deal. It wasn’t explained at all. 400 hrs sounds like a lot but it is not. That’s 13 hours a day total download. Watch 3 shows on 3 TV’s equal 3 hrs of streaming add Facebook surfing, phones and tablets now that’s 5 hours in just 1 hour 3 hours of normal activities and you are out of wifi in just 15 days no more wifi for 2 weeks. No nothing. Or $231.92 a month.

  7. Avatar Torsten Jaekel says:

    I went with Cox upgrade offer: a nightmare and disaster at the end: landline phone not working anymore, one Internet streaming service not working anymore at all. A downgrade, instead of an upgrade. Rolling back to old router and services = a disaster. At the end (right now), completely offline. What a crap!

  8. Avatar JK says:

    Wasted 3 days working time with no internet with Cox. 1-st day spent 4+ hours on the phone to configure my installation and new account. 2-nd day Jacob came to install, after 90 minutes of nonsense talk and explanations he made two holes in the wall, made a picture and left without installing anything. I talked with the field manager and they promised they will send the next day installer which will finish the job. There is no communication between diferent departments.3-rd day Steven came to install, made a picture of the two holes that the previous day and left without saying he is leaving! Then he canceled the installation order! Both installers were looking for excuses not to make installation. It looks like the installers are on commission and avoid any more complicated installation. Never experienced such a unprofessional customer service in my life. Terrible experience, avoid COX at any cost!

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