James, a Cox cable-Web buyer in Irvine, California, acquired an unwelcome e-mail on Tuesday from the Web supplier. Cox’s e-mail instructed James, who pays $80 a month for broadband, that his 30Mbps add speeds will quickly be decreased to 10Mbps.
A Cox spokesperson instructed Ars that James and comparable clients can preserve their 30Mbps add speeds in the event that they improve to a more moderen modem. However that choice wasn’t included within the e-mail to clients, which created the impression that the upload-speed minimize is necessary until they pay for a dearer Web plan.
The completely different messages given to clients and an Ars reporter counsel that Cox is attempting to get folks to change to the lower-upload pace plan and is barely mentioning the choice of preserving the present plan as a final resort. Based mostly on what we have realized, clients who need to preserve their present add speeds and worth ought to speak to a Cox customer-service rep and ask for that choice if the rep would not point out it. Clients can preserve their current modems with out dropping Web service solely, however their add speeds will probably be minimize until they improve to a brand new modem and select to maintain their current plan. Cox has about 5.3 million broadband clients in the US.
James, who most popular to maintain his final identify unpublished, shouldn’t be alone in getting the dangerous information. Cox’s “Final” Web plan with 300Mbps obtain and 30Mbps add speeds was modified to a 500Mbps obtain, 10Mbps add package deal early last year. At first, Cox let clients on the 300Mbps/30Mbps model preserve it, with none nudges to alter their plans or improve their modems. However that modified with the e-mail Cox despatched to James and different clients this week.
Whereas the increase from 300Mbps to 500Mbps obtain speeds is sweet, it pales compared to a 67 p.c minimize in add speeds throughout a pandemic that has demonstrated the significance of upstream bandwidth to households with folks working and taking lessons at residence. James and his spouse each earn a living from home and have two youngsters, together with a 3-year-old son now sufficiently old to stream video on an Amazon Fireplace Children Version pill.
James purchased his personal modem for $70 in November 2017 to keep away from rental charges. In accordance with Cox, James must purchase a brand new modem or lease a brand new one from Cox (with the primary 12 months’ rental charges waived) in an effort to preserve the 300Mbps/30Mbps plan.
Cox e-mail leaves key questions unanswered
The Cox e-mail despatched to James and different clients mentioned:
We’re making vital community upgrades to supply a greater Web expertise for all of our clients. To do that, we have to transfer Final Traditional 300 plan clients with older modems to the brand new Final plan on or after Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
Your invoice is not going to enhance on account of this alteration to your Web service plan.
Final has obtain speeds of as much as 500Mbps, 60 p.c greater than Final Traditional 300. Final’s decrease add speeds of as much as 10Mbps nonetheless help the everyday wants of most customers like video chatting, gaming, and importing massive recordsdata. Nevertheless, you’ll want to replace your present modem to benefit from the full enhance in obtain speeds.
The e-mail went on to say that clients can improve to a Cox-certified DOCSIS 3.1 modem or the official Cox Wi-Fi gateway and that clients who need greater than 10Mbps uploads ought to “name to study extra about gear and our pace plans.” (DOCSIS is the Information Over Cable Service Interface Specification utilized by the cable trade to supply Web entry over coaxial cables.)
The e-mail didn’t clarify why James cannot merely preserve utilizing his current plan on his current DOCSIS 3.0 modem, an Arris SB6183 that helps as much as 686Mbps obtain speeds and 131Mbps add speeds. The e-mail additionally did not clarify why upgrading to a greater modem would result in a 67 p.c minimize in add speeds from 30Mbps to 10Mbps, when commonsense would counsel a modem improve ought to enhance each obtain and add speeds.
Cox e-mail spurs confusion and anger
It appeared to James that the one choice to preserve his present add speeds was to purchase the dearer “Gigablast” package deal that features 940Mbps obtain speeds and 35Mbps add speeds. The plan’s common worth is $120 a month, with a $100 promotional charge for the primary 12 months. It’s the solely plan Cox advertises with add speeds above 10Mbps.
“It seems to be like I am both dropping my 300/30 plan in favor of a 500/10 plan, or I will be paying Cox much more cash,” James instructed Ars, earlier than we did extra analysis into the predicament. “In the midst of a pandemic the place video conferences are king, Cox is attempting to pressure of us working from residence into their high tier to make a fast buck. My space in Irvine would not have any different broadband choices, so I am caught till 5G to the house makes an look or Starlink miraculously works in semi-dense city environments.”
Different clients who acquired the identical e-mail complained in a Reddit thread yesterday. “Simply acquired that very same e-mail. Work will probably be pissed when my productiveness slows to a crawl trigger uploads take 3 occasions as lengthy,” one particular person wrote.
“Cox is fucking rubbish,” one other particular person wrote. “I used to have AT&T fiber 1000/1000 till I moved. Similar worth now I’ve 500/10. What bullshit.”