James, a Cox cable-Web buyer in Irvine, California, acquired an unwelcome e-mail on Tuesday from the Web supplier. Cox’s e-mail informed James, who pays $80 a month for broadband, that his 30Mbps add speeds will quickly be decreased to 10Mbps.
A Cox spokesperson informed Ars that James and comparable prospects can hold their 30Mbps add speeds in the event that they improve to a more recent modem. However that possibility wasn’t included within the e-mail to prospects, which created the impression that the upload-speed minimize is obligatory until they pay for a dearer Web plan.
The completely different messages given to prospects and an Ars reporter recommend that Cox is making an attempt to get folks to modify to the lower-upload pace plan and is simply mentioning the choice of retaining the present plan as a final resort. Based mostly on what we have discovered, prospects who wish to hold their present add speeds and worth ought to discuss to a Cox customer-service rep and ask for that possibility if the rep would not point out it. Prospects can hold their present modems with out dropping Web service solely, however their add speeds can be minimize until they improve to a brand new modem and select to maintain their present plan. Cox has about 5.3 million broadband prospects in the US.
James, who most popular to maintain his final identify unpublished, will not be alone in getting the dangerous information.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 prospects on the 300Mbps/30Mbps model hold it, with none nudges to vary their plans or improve their modems. However that modified with the e-mail Cox despatched to James and different prospects this week.
Whereas the enhance from 300Mbps to 500Mbps obtain speeds is sweet, it pales compared to a 67 % 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 make money working from home and have two youngsters, together with a 3-year-old son now sufficiently old to stream video on an Amazon Fireplace Youngsters Version pill.
James purchased his personal modem for $70 in November 2017 to keep away from rental charges. In line with Cox, James should purchase a brand new modem or hire a brand new one from Cox (with the primary 12 months’ rental charges waived) with the intention to hold the 300Mbps/30Mbps plan.
Cox e-mail leaves key questions unanswered
The Cox e-mail despatched to James and different prospects mentioned:
We’re making essential community upgrades to supply a greater Web expertise for all of our prospects. To do that, we have to transfer Final Basic 300 plan prospects with older modems to the brand new Final plan on or after Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
Your invoice won’t improve on account of this transformation to your Web service plan.
Final has obtain speeds of as much as 500Mbps, 60 % greater than Final Basic 300. Final’s decrease add speeds of as much as 10Mbps nonetheless assist the standard wants of most customers like video chatting, gaming, and importing giant information. Nevertheless, that you must replace your present modem to benefit from the full improve in obtain speeds.
The e-mail went on to say that prospects can improve to a Cox-certified DOCSIS 3.1 modem or the official Cox Wi-Fi gateway and that prospects who need greater than 10Mbps uploads ought to “name to be taught extra about gear and our pace plans.” (DOCSIS is the Information Over Cable Service Interface Specification utilized by the cable business to supply Web entry over coaxial cables.)
The e-mail didn’t clarify why James cannot merely hold utilizing his present plan on his present 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 % minimize in add speeds from 30Mbps to 10Mbps, when commonsense would recommend a modem improve ought to improve each obtain and add speeds.
Cox e-mail spurs confusion and anger
It appeared to James that the one choice to hold 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 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 informed Ars, earlier than we did extra analysis into the predicament. “In the course of a pandemic the place video conferences are king, Cox is making an attempt to pressure people working from residence into their prime tier to make a fast buck. My space in Irvine would not have any various broadband choices, so I am caught till 5G to the house makes an look or Starlink miraculously works in semi-dense city environments.”
Different prospects who acquired the identical e-mail complained in a Reddit thread yesterday. “Simply acquired that very same e-mail. Work can 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.”