Cox has been rolling out new changes this month, specifically aiming at monthly data caps that limit their customers to just 1TB of usage each month, before threatening to throw overage fees at them. For some states, this won’t sound all that shocking as most of the companies have always had these limitations in a number of states around the nation. Such stories have also been in the news many times in recent years. Look at the all of the attention AT&T got when they tried to be vague about such limitations.
Some states however, have customers that have never been contacted about going over “a limit” in the past. In fact, in some areas, these services used to use terms like “unlimited high speed internet”. Cox has usually been very careful in not using such words in most areas, allowing the unlimited to simply become an “assumed” feature created by the customers own imaginations. I mean why not? Cable TV is unlimited right?
However, that wasn’t always the case with their bottom line. I personally remember representatives “back in the day” that were trying convert people over from services like AOL, giving them speeches like “no more will you have to worry about how many minutes you have spent online or how much you have downloaded. Now you can search the web with high speeds and without all of those restrictions that dial up places on you”.
Sadly, these cable companies are the new dial up, and yes they do place restrictions on your connection. Thankfully, very few people reach these data caps. However, with IoT growing faster each year as just about everything in your house can connect to the internet, and both downstream and upstream video devices move towards 4K and greater; limitations like 1TB might not seem like much eventually.
In the image above the article and the sample email below, you can see an average connected home that makes use of streaming media that includes music as well as 1080p across the home, including using some of the latest gaming systems, Netflix usage, security cameras and so forth. In one of the months displayed in Cox’s graph, their usage nearly reached 3/4 of the months limit. Now, imagine if that house made use of 4K or better for all of those gadgets. 4K TVs, with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video. The upcoming Xbox One S and 4K security cameras running all over. All of a sudden, high speed internet is no longer what it is cracked up to be. Now, it feels like the days of limited internet at home are back upon us. Welcome back to 1999 folks.
What makes things worse is that many states reported that Cox had set their monthly limitation to 2TB, around 6 months or so ago. The sudden change to 1/2 of that ceiling shows that Cox might be looking to cut corners to save money. Most likely to help with the continued rollout of their network in supported areas, especially with the bragged about “Gigablast” options that have failed to make a reveal in most areas, since Cox began bragging about it around 2 years ago. Saving money is one thing, but squeezing the customers doesn’t add any icing to the public image of things.
The new limit will go live on July 6th, 2017, where Cox will be enforcing a $10 fee per every 50GB of usage that goes over their 1TB limit. Also, the limit applies to every package they offer (except for Gigablast, which of course is non-existent in most areas). So customers who pay extra for the faster speed, including the Ultimate tier, will get the same limit as those paying for the entry level plans (sorry guys, you won’t get any real benefits outside of speed). This simply means, the more speed you pay for, the faster you may find yourself at that wall. It’s like being able to rent a Kia Rio or a Lamborghini–one costs WAY more than the other, but the rental company will only let you drive them across the same football field, and once you get to the other side, you’re done.
|Package||Monthly Data Plan|
|Starter||1 TB (1,024 GB)|
|Essential||1 TB (1,024 GB)|
|Preferred||1 TB (1,024 GB)|
|Preferred 100||1 TB (1,024 GB)|
|Premier||1 TB (1,024 GB)|
|Ultimate||1 TB (1,024 GB)|
|Gigablast (“Where Available”)||2 TB (2,048 GB)|
There are already claims being made openly online by customers who are threatening to drop to a cheaper tier to better avoid these limits. In some areas though, competition against these companies aren’t really existent, which means that if any customers find this to be maddening, the don’t really have much of a choice.
Here is a sample email of what customers are getting this month:
Dear (Cox Customer),
We are writing to inform you of an upcoming change to Cox High Speed Internet service in your area related to data usage.
Your Cox High Speed Internet service currently includes a data plan of 1 TB (1,024 GB). Beginning 07/06/2017, if you exceed your monthly data plan we will automatically provide additional blocks of data for $10 per 50 gigabytes (GB), as needed. This will not impact 98% percent of customers, but instead only charges the heaviest Internet users.
To help you get accustomed to this change, you will be provided a grace period for your first two billing cycles after the effective date. You will not be charged if you exceed your data plan during this grace period.
Your recent data usage history indicates you are unlikely to exceed your Cox High Speed Internet data plan of 1 TB per month. We will attempt to notify you via email and browser alert when you have used 85% and 100% of your monthly data plan.
To view your data usage and learn more about data usage, visit cox.com/datausage. You can also view your data usage by downloading the Cox Connect mobile app.
Thank you for continuing to choose Cox as your Internet provider.
The purpose of their monthly data caps have always been to “prevent network congestion” so that valued customers don’t see any decline in performance. Of course, in the world of DSL, this is usually a problem (just not cable). When you think about it, they point out that 98% of customers will not be affected. This means they are also claiming that just 2% of their customers are making it hard on everyone else. Sounds more like the “1%” are simply looking to line their pockets a little more as they see the push towards 4K, 8L and above to be lucrative. Especially when you factor in the examples we shared above.
Hopefully, the continued rollout of Google Fiber will help put strain on limitations like this, promote additional opportunities in the near future and increase competition in most of the states.