Cox Internet Review 2019

Cox has more plans than you can shake a fist at, but its internet service is middle of the road.
Cox Internet Plans
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
Cox Internet Starter 10$29.99/mo.10 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Cox Internet Essential 30$39.99/mo.30 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Cox Internet Preferred 150$59.99/mo.150 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Cox Internet Ultimate$79.99/mo.300 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Cox Gigablast$99.99/mo.1000 Mbps1 TBView Plan
PriceDownload speedData capDetails
$29.99/mo.10 Mbps1 TBView Plan
$39.99/mo.30 Mbps1 TBView Plan
$59.99/mo.150 Mbps1 TBView Plan
$79.99/mo.300 Mbps1 TBView Plan
$99.99/mo.1000 Mbps1 TBView Plan

The quick and dirty is that Cox internet service has a plan for almost everyone. And when it comes to surfing the internet at the speed you paid for, it gets the job done.

While Cox isn’t available everywhere, we do think it’s one of the better choices in the areas it’s offered. And hey, that’s why it made our list of the best cable internet providers.

So what makes Cox so great? Let’s find out.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly low-end plans
  • 650,000 Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide1

Cons

  • One-year contract

Compare Cox plans and prices in your area.

Cox prices and plans

We checked the price tag, and Cox internet charges some of the lowest prices out there.

PlanPriceDownload speedDetails
Cox Internet Starter 10$29.99/mo.*10 MbpsView Plan
Cox Internet Essential 30$39.99/mo.*30 MbpsView Plan
Cox Internet Preferred 150$59.99/mo.*150 MbpsView Plan
Cox Internet Ultimate$79.99/mo.*300 MbpsView Plan
Cox Gigablast$99.99/mo.*1000 MbpsView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.

The price for internet service is usually a big concern for customers, and why wouldn’t it be? It’s money. We love internet and can’t live without it, but we never want to pay more than it’s worth.

Cox’s internet service starts at $19.99 per month for 10 Mbps. And its 30 Mbps is just $29.99 a month. Now those are prices we can dig! (And Cox is one of the few ISPs that offers plans at a low cost like this.)

And while 10 and 30 Mbps may not seem like much, if you use the internet just for email and occasionally checking Facebook, those speeds should be just fine.

Info Box icon
What are Mbps, exactly?
Mbps stands for “Megabits per second,” and it’s a measure of how fast your internet is. More Mbps means more internet speed, which means more things that require faster speeds—like streaming Netflix, gaming online, and sharing your internet plan with more people (and more devices).

And if 10 or 30 Mbps doesn’t strike your fancy, no sweat. Cox’s highest speed is 1,000 Mbps. But if you ask us, 300 Mbps, or even 150 Mbps, should be plenty for all you gamers and intense internet users out there.

When it comes to Cox’s faster plans, you might find better deals here and there. For example, you’ll get 500 Mbps from Frontier for half the price you’d pay for Cox’s 300 Mbps plan. But, for the most part, Cox’s prices for its 300 Mbps plan and above are right in line with the competition.

Heads Up icon
Promotional prices vs. real prices
We wish we could say that the posted price for any one of these plans is exactly the price you’ll pay. But when we entered our ZIP code on the website, it was hiked up a bit. If you want exactly that price, you will have to get into a contract.

Location-based price shenanigans are something we’ve seen from every internet service provider (ISP), so we won’t take points off Cox for following the norm—even if we don’t like it.

Cox internet speed

TL;DR: Cox’s actual speed measures up to its advertised speed.

Cox’s plans should be able to cover just about any internet lifestyle, from a only-occasionally-checks-the-weather-online 10 Mbps household to the 1,000 Mbps multi-device-online-gaming-marathon household.

Cox’s speed efficiency is actually quite good.

We used the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) actual-to-advertised speeds report to get some hard numbers on how efficiently ISPs are performing. Cox’s average download speed was measured at just under 104%.2 That means people paying for 50 Mbps sometimes experience speeds a little faster than 50 Mbps.

Xfinity did even better than Cox, averaging at 112.5%, and Spectrum scored 114.7%.2 Either way, you’re likely to get the speed you paid for, if not better.

As for the local competition, Cox did better than CenturyLink by about 10% and worse than AT&T by about 5%.2 So, if you happen to live where Cox internet is available, and if it’s a choice between Cox and CenturyLink, hands down we’d go with Cox.

Cox plans: speeds and data caps
PlanDownload speedUpload speedData capDetails
Cox Internet Starter 1010 Mbps1 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Cox Internet Essential 3030 Mbps3 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Cox Internet Preferred 150150 Mbps10 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Cox Internet Ultimate300 Mbps30 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Cox Gigablast1000 Mbps35 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Megaphone icon
What speeds do I need?
Judging your internet speed needs can be tricky. You don’t want to pay more than you need to or find yourself stuck with slow speeds and internet limbo. To find out how much internet bandwidth you need, see our Mbps guide.

Or try a speed test to determine the download and upload speeds you need.

Data caps

If you’re an internet junkie, you’ll want to be aware of Cox’s data limit. Every Cox internet plan has a 1 TB (1,024 GB) monthly data limit. That 1 TB is equal to about 400 hours of HD TV or movies. Needless to say, that’s a lot of screen time.

If you consider yourself an average internet user—say you casually surf the web and stream an hour or two of video each day—there’s no way you’ll hit that 1 TB data limit.

Still, if you’re sharing internet with two roommates who never turn off Netflix, you’ll want to check in on how much data your place is using. The Cox Connect app will let you keep an eye on your data usage.

How does Cox’s data cap compare to the competition? Verizon Fios, Frontier, Optimum, AT&T Fiber 1,000 Mbps plan, and Spectrum offer unlimited data. All the others offer 1 TB or less (*cough* satellite *cough*).

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Fiber vs. DSL vs. Cable
DSL is the most widely available internet service. Cable internet is faster than DSL, but it sometimes slows down due to bandwidth issues. Fiber has the fastest internet speeds and range, but is not as widely available as the other two.

Cox high-speed internet uses a combination of fiber and cable internet. You still need a coaxial cable that connects to your modem, but there shouldn’t be too many bandwidth issues.

Contracts, equipment, and fees

When it comes to contracts, your modem, and extra fees, Cox is pretty average.

Sadly, every Cox plan comes with a one-year contract. On one hand, that’s not great because it means your price likely goes up when those 12 months are over.

But on the other hand, a one-year contract instead of a two-year contract might be more ideal for those who need internet for a short time before their living arrangements, financial circumstances, or internet needs change.

If you do need no-contract service, some CenturyLink and Xfinity plans won’t make you pinkie swear and sign up for a year or more.

Price Tag icon
What’s the deal with the service contracts?
Getting into a service agreement means you get a discount on the promotional price and your price won’t go up at the end of a year.

We like no-contract options because it means no ETFs (early termination fees), but your price will eventually go up if you don’t get signed on with a contract. Darn price hikes.

Equipment

Cox has pretty much the same equipment fees as other ISPs.

If you’re without a Wi-Fi modem, Cox will rent you one for the average price of $10.99 per month. You can also buy the same Wi-Fi modem from Cox for $179.99—the DOCSIS 3.1 Wi-Fi modem, which, we’re sorry to say, doesn’t double as a router.

We’ve never come across an ISP-provided modem that knocked our socks off, so we think it’s best to purchase a modem from a third party. But if buying your own modem seems daunting, don’t get too worried: we can help.

One of the best-selling modems on Amazon happens to be one we also highly recommend—the ARRIS Surfboard. It’s about $30 less than Cox’s modem, and it’s compatible with most cable ISPs, which means you can use it if you decide to leave Cox for another ISP.

If you already have a modem, you can check if it’s compatible with Cox service here.

Service fees

  • Installation fees: $20 self-installment and shipment fee
  • Early termination fees: None

The installation fee applies whether you are buying a modem and internet from Cox or just internet. Not a cool move—though it is better than Comcast’s and Spectrum’s fees.

Cox customer service

Cox’s low-scoring customer service could use a boost.

We checked the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which surveys tens of thousands of customers, and found that Cox lands below the average score of 62 out of 100—it scored 60 out of 100.3

Cox customer service rating
Cox
ACSI 2019 rating60 out of 100

How to handle Cox customer service

If you’re ordering service from Cox for the first time, there’s a chance your experience may not be so bad. Ours wasn’t—the customer service representative was pleasant and surprisingly helpful.

Still, we highly recommend that you ask and repeat questions, take notes (including the name of the representative, time of the phone call, billing date, etc.), and request an email with all the service details.

The call line was easier to work with than the online chat option. (Sometimes modern problems require older solutions.)

It’s a bit of a bummer, but with Cox, the responsibility falls more on the customer when it comes to making sure you get everything you want from your internet service.

You can also contact Cox online here:

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What about Cox Wi-Fi hotspots?
With 650,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across America, Cox sets you up rather nicely to have internet access from your phone on your commute, at the grocery store—or even at Disneyland.

Our picks: the best Cox internet plans

Best for solo web surfers: Internet Starter 10

Who it’s best for: If you are looking for residential internet for one person (for instance, if you’re buying an internet package for just yourself or your blog-enthusiast grandmother), this plan should do fine.

We say “should” because if you have a bunch of internet-connected devices running (smartphone, tablet, computer, etc.), your downloads will slow down and Netflix may start to buffer.

Why we picked it: It’s a great option for someone with small internet needs—like checking Facebook and email while watching Netflix only every once in a while.

Cox Internet Starter 10
Cox Internet
Download speed:
10 Mbps
Data cap:
1 TB
$29.99 a month

Best for families: Internet Preferred 150

Who it’s best for: If you’re looking for residential internet for your family or small business, this plan should be enough for all of your video streaming, browsing, and online gaming.

Why we picked it: This is enough Mbps for your family to stream Spotify, watch Hulu, and play Fortnite all at once. You’re welcome.

Cox Internet Preferred 150
Cox Internet
Download speed:
150 Mbps
Data cap:
1 TB
$59.99 a month
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What is Cox Business?
Cox Business helps companies of all sizes and types arrange phone, internet, security, networking, and even TV services for their business. The employees may think it’s free Wi-Fi at the workplace, but the business managers know better.

Recap: is Cox good?

We love that Cox offers low-budget plans, but the rest of its service is pretty middle of the road. Not amazing, not bad.

If all you need is enough speed to flip through Instagram photos and send emails, we recommend picking up one of Cox’s low-end plans. It’s really hard to beat that price, after all. But if you want lots of speeds for your family of streamers and gamers, you might find a better deal elsewhere. Here’s why:

  • Prices and plans: Prices for Cox’s low-speed plans, like Internet Starter 10, are really wallet-friendly. And prices for its 300 Mbps and 1,000 Mbps plans are right on par with the competition.
  • Speed: You’ve got more than a few different download speeds to choose from with Cox. And the best part is, it’s been known to deliver the speeds it advertises—and then some.
  • Contracts, equipment, and fees: Cox internet service comes with a one-year contract, which is kind of a bummer but also the norm. We also recommend buying your own modem and router combo rather than forking out the dough for Cox’s own modem.
  • Customer service: No one’s ever thrilled to call customer service, and Cox is no exception. It scored below the industry average. Yikes.

We think Cox is great if you need a simple, low-cost plan. But otherwise we think it’s just not as good as Comcast and Spectrum. But if you can’t get Comcast or Spectrum where you live and you can get Cox, then give Cox a try.

Not ready to settle just yet? These ISPs have a little more pep in their step.

Go wild with Hulu, Netflix, and Disney+ with these ISPs.

SEE THE BEST ISPS FOR STREAMING

Earn that high score with these high-speed ISPs.

SEE THE BEST ISPS FOR GAMING

FAQ

Q: What can I bundle with Cox internet?

You can bundle TV and phone services with Cox internet. It’ll probably save you some money, so it’s worth looking into.

Cox’s own streaming service, Contour TV, offers live channels, on-demand channels, and optional add-ons for premium channels.

Q: Which other ISPs are cable ISPs?

If you mean ISPs that connect you to the internet through a coaxial cable, Cox, Xfinity, Optimum, and Charter Spectrum are just a few of the many cable internet services out there.

If you mean ISPs that can also bundle as a TV service, your options are Cox, Xfinity, CenturyLink, HughesNet, AT&T, Spectrum, Verizon Fios, and Frontier. Basically, if you want cable TV, or cable-esque TV, you have options.

Sources

  1. Cox High Speed Internet, “Wi-Fi Hotspots
  2. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “Measuring Broadband in America
  3. American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), “ACSI Telecommunications Report 2018–2019

Additional contributors

Jamie Mortensen
Catherine McNally

  • Jeremiah Mills

    Regional fees are an issue here in Norfolk, Virginia. Any service Cox advertises add $25-$30 and that is the actual price after taxes and fees are added. Their call center people will not tell you or even give a good estimate of what your actual bill will be, they are trained not to. Your bill is going to be over $60 on that $39.99 plan. Also, most of the Cox plans skyrocket after the first 12 months. They had a monopoly in this region for a long time and are not adapting to a competitive market. I recommend using one of the on-demand or streaming services for the cable shows you really want. Cable TV is dead, I work with a lot of folks under 30 in my occupation and none of them have cable TV. This old dog learned from the younger ones, cut the cord, got an alternate ISP with phone (Verizon, in my case) and a good streaming service with a Mohu antenna. I have the same amount of actual channels, sufficient latency and download speed for gaming / streaming video / web browsing, and home phone as the Cox Bronze Bundle. By actual channels I mean HBO,TBS, ESPN, Cartoon Network, HIstory, AMC, etc. These are the 50 or so channels that most people actually watch. Nobody gives a rat’s butt about channel 805 with live coverage of Yacht racing. That Cox Bronze Bundle is is well over $200 a month after the introductory 12 months which itself is over $100 after all the fees are added. I pay $105 month for the ISP+phone+streaming channel package and that is TOTAL with all the fees included in the $105 I actually pay. You will never see a Cox bill in this region that is anywhere near the price they advertise to you, and after 12 months they are really going to screw you over. I’ve stayed away from Cox for the last 5 years. I asked my neighbor to show me her bill recently (she has Cox) and they have not changed at all.

  • Richard Montalvo

    What is the speed best for playing online games for the PS4? I won’t be uploading or streaming anything.

  • baton rouge user

    cox sucks! our internet is awful! I hate it! no costumer service, creepy speed, and it is a monopoly! there are no other options for our zip code! Shame on you for charging us and not providing us with internet service!

  • hates cox user

    worst company to deal with they over charge lie about costs and threaten to mess your credit up when they mess up on charges. I got cox internet only for $89.99 deal for 300 MBs. I decided I wanted to add cable. They had a gold special bundle cable, phone and 300 internet for $159 per month. I got my first bill and it was over $300. I called they said the promo code dropped off because I said I didn’t need the phone when they called to verify service. I said thats fine just send the phone and credit my account. I got my new bill it was $800. $400 per month. I called they said because I did not pay the pass due I was no longer eligible for promo codes and the monthly rate without a promo is $400. I could not get my service back on without paying the $400 balance and if I refused they would contact the credit agencies and mess my credit score up and send the full amount to aggressive collectors. I could not believe it. I work from home and my new born baby heart monitor works using wifi. I could no longer work or keep track of my new born baby. It was a nightmare. Cox didn’t care. I decided to go with Dish and get a layer to fight cox for bait and switch and affecting my job and new born baby health. Do your self a favor and avoid this horrible company!

  • davemon

    My Jan 2018 bill just went from $176 to $229. I will dump them fast. Maybe if they didn’t spend my much overhead on diversity BS they could be more competitive. The game is to switch every year or so to FIOS and then back to Cox since their best deals are not for loyal longtime customers, just new ones. Also want to try Google TV streaming.

  • davemon

    Thats the old scam, drop a service and price goes up! Same thing with me. Arrogant $%^#&s

  • Cox is sketchy

    Cox can’t tell me what exactly uses my data and I have random unexpected spikes for 60g a day on days that Im not even home. One time I was gone for 5 days out of the week it said I had the highest usage. But they won’t tell me or show proof of what is using the data or how it’s possible.

  • RCam

    I had COX for over 25 years(Ca.)…I had had enough. My son decided that he would get cox in his name in our home after they decided to charge us $280 for 140 channels no HBO or anything like that and internet of 150 speed…oh and 2 land lines. Use land lines for work. Anyway we said cancel our acct. When they were putting it into my sons name, it was for 200+ channels, 2 phones, internet 300 speed, HBO,Showtime and 3 other channels like that. Rice $179.00 a mo. WELL….the next thing I know his bill is $390.00 😮 WHAT! so round and round I went getting this fixed(son wks at night so Im on his acct to fix stuff for him…he is 24)…it was a nightmare…same thing..threats…refusing to let me talk with a supervisor, and when I would hang up and call back till I found one that would switch me, everyone said everyone else was wrong and they were right…no one had a clue what they were talking about. Also they put him on the wrong bundle. Soooo much more that I have no room to post it all ….so waiting to see what the next bill will be, it is supposed to be $198.00 a month…because well everyone that said all the different prices were wrong…UGH. Also not sure why but going through internet data usage like crazy…never before has this happened. Son streams for a living with gaming and youtube, but he is not using anymore time doing this than before. Something is clearly not right. And if I ask why they will only give me the wrong answer every single time because they have no clue what they are all talking about. After all according to everyone I spoke to the person before they said was all wrong and had no clue….good luck.

    • Michael Daniel

      Very similar experience with them. I have faithfully paid my cox bill for 24 years since starting with them. When I switched cable companies in 2017 they charged me $350 for a DVR from 2007 and 250 for a receiver from 2010. Supervisor was a moron and tried to tell me her hands were tied and nothing she could do. I asked her to email me with an official and final position from Cox and shr saidsshe could not do that. I finally was able to get her to admit my case could be escalated and they would contact me in 24 to 36 hours. It’s been 26. Still haven’t heard from them but hope I do!!!

  • starride

    I just moved to tulsa Ok from Cincinnati OH. Cox Cable absolutely sucks compared to what you can get in Cincy.

  • Joel Laguna

    Cox has a page explaining why “cutting the cable” is such a bad idea. Even comparing parting with them as a type of divorce. Wow, sounds like someone is butt-hurt. They explain that you won’t be able to watch HBO, Showtime, etc… But with so much new great content out there HBO is no longer king of new and innovative content. All for a low price and all you need is a Chromecast and a TV. They even make sure that you think you need an HDMI cable for your tv, not needed with Chromecast. Anyway, Cox is going many changes, they now offer internet only without TV as part of their service. This was not the case a few months ago. They offer bundles where you can remove the TV services, which is fine. All content is now moving to the internet, and those channels that have not, are dying. No one watches TV anymore, Why would you pay to watch commercials?

  • It’s All Too Expensive

    Comcast and Time Warner are not available in my area so my only choices are Cox or AT&T. After many years of dealing with AT&T’s lies and price gouging I had enough and switched to Cox. I’ve been with them for more than 23 years and have never had an issue with price increases or service. We run the highest speed internet they offer and full cable with DVR and several pay channels, bill is under $160 monthly and has been that way for several years now.