Cox throttles internet upload speeds for entire neighborhoods to deal with data hogs

Polycount

Posts: 2,840   +574
Staff member

Florida-based Cox customer "Mike" recently reached out to Ars Technica to inform the outlet about some of Cox's latest attempts to manage network congestion.

Apparently, the company left him a not-so-friendly voicemail that claimed he was using an "extraordinarily high amount" of internet data. The voicemail stated that if attempts to reduce usage were not made within five days, Mike's internet service would be scheduled for termination.

To give some background here, Ars says Mike pays a whopping $150/month for unlimited gigabit download speeds and has been using upwards of 8TB of data every month for several years now. According to Mike, Cox did not offer him an explanation for why it has only taken action to reduce his usage now.

In addition to the service termination warning (which is now moot, as Mike has complied with Cox's demands), Mike was informed by his internet provider that network speeds for gigabit customers in his entire neighborhood would be throttled due to these "unprecedented times."

Until July 15, 2020, upload speeds in select areas have been reduced from 35Mbps to 10Mbps -- a substantial decrease, but one Cox stands behind. In a statement to Ars, the company said "10Mbps is plenty of speed for the vast majority of customers to continue their regular activity and have a positive experience."

Ars was able to clarify that the throttling is actually the result of a few specific customers using particularly high amounts of data: "100-200 times more upstream bandwidth," to be precise. In other words, it seems that Cox is punishing entire neighborhoods for the actions of a few data hounds.

Whether or not these measures are reasonable is another matter. One could certainly make the argument that extraordinary problems require extraordinary solutions, but that likely won't be much consolation to the customers that pay $100 or more for high-speed internet and are now expected to live without it for the next month.

We will be reaching out to Cox to determine whether or not affected customers will be receiving service credits or discounts for the time that they won't have access to their normal upload speeds. We will update this article if we receive a response.

Masthead credit: Ilnur Khisamutdinov

Permalink to story.

 

Evernessince

Posts: 5,464   +6,145
"10Mbps is plenty of speed for the vast majority of customers to continue their regular activity and have a positive experience."

This is a perfect snapshot of modern America. Companies are put on a pedestal because proponents claim they can innovate and provide more when in reality they are giving you as little as possible while putting in the least effort possible.

This is real innovation here everyone. "Good enough" is the new American dream.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,258   +1,750
Yup cable internet blows and the Lockdown is showing how poor those networks are. Very luck to be on a FTTH connection which has been rock solid this whole lock down.Cable ISP's in North America are more concerned about getting everything they can out of those old Coax networks then upgrading to fiber pretty sad.
 

Jim$ter

Posts: 163   +35
Instead of upgrading their hardware to support what they advertise, lets be cheap and just give people less for the same money... Sounds about typical anymore.
 

trparky

Posts: 891   +912
My AT&T provided Internet connection may not be as fast as I would like it to be but at least they don't throttle it when I use it too much.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 401   +554
EDIT: Ignore my stupidity in this post as I misread the article.
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No offense, but if he's uploading 8 TB of data every month, he should upgrade to enterprise class Internet which actually advertises symmetrical upload/download speeds. You can get that service in a residential zone. Cox provides details here: https://www.cox.com/business/internet/cox-fiber-internet.html

But residential ISP's aren't typically designed to handle high amounts of upload bandwidth as an entire company not because they're not maintaining hardware but because they're not serving that type of customer. Different networks provide high upload speeds and this is supported by infrastructure at internet exchange points. So this is optimized by residential and commercial internet types because the latter typically provides data and the former consumes it.

I'm sure with IoT, some things are changing, but you probably want to have ownership of data generated from your home anyways instead of paying some company to hand it over to them.
 
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Mr Majestyk

Posts: 674   +582
"10Mbps is plenty of speed for the vast majority of customers to continue their regular activity and have a positive experience."

This is a perfect snapshot of modern America. Companies are put on a pedestal because proponents claim they can innovate and provide more when in reality they are giving you as little as possible while putting in the least effort possible.

This is real innovation here everyone. "Good enough" is the new American dream.

In Australia our entire internet infrastructure was hijacked by Luddites in the Federal government that ridiculed the entire idea of high speed fibre based internet connections. It said only pirates need fast internet speeds, and that 12mb/s was plenty fast enough for honest folks. It then set about destroying the already initiated fibre to the home network being installed. Even now for 99% of people 25Mb/s is considered plenty, 100Mb/s is ultra premium and for a few lucky people willing to pay through the nose that got fibre when the opposition were in power, they can get 1000/50 or 250/25 plans. Meanwhile in New Zealand they get Gigabit fibre to the hoime with unlimited data for 63NZD per month
 
No offense, but if he's uploading 8 TB of data every month, he should upgrade to enterprise class Internet which actually advertises symmetrical upload/download speeds. You can get that service in a residential zone. Cox provides details here: https://www.cox.com/business/internet/cox-fiber-internet.html

But residential ISP's aren't typically designed to handle high amounts of upload bandwidth as an entire company not because they're not maintaining hardware but because they're not serving that type of customer. Different networks provide high upload speeds and this is supported by infrastructure at internet exchange points. So this is optimized by residential and commercial internet types because the latter typically provides data and the former consumes it.

I'm sure with IoT, some things are changing, but you probably want to have ownership of data generated from your home anyways instead of paying some company to hand it over to them.

What part of "paid-for" unlimited bandwidth usage don't you get? He's paying an additional $50/mo so by all means he should be entitled to do just that.

Oops my bad, how's working at Cox Marketing Department been for you?
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 401   +554
What part of "paid-for" unlimited bandwidth usage don't you get? He's paying an additional $50/mo so by all means he should be entitled to do just that.

Oops my bad, how's working at Cox Marketing Department been for you?
Lol I thought I read he was uploading 8TB a month and in response they were throttling his upload speeds. I obviously misread the article. Yeah buddy, I work for Cox alright, they just don't pay me anything!
 

Evernessince

Posts: 5,464   +6,145
No offense, but if he's uploading 8 TB of data every month, he should upgrade to enterprise class Internet which actually advertises symmetrical upload/download speeds. You can get that service in a residential zone. Cox provides details here: https://www.cox.com/business/internet/cox-fiber-internet.html

But residential ISP's aren't typically designed to handle high amounts of upload bandwidth as an entire company not because they're not maintaining hardware but because they're not serving that type of customer. Different networks provide high upload speeds and this is supported by infrastructure at internet exchange points. So this is optimized by residential and commercial internet types because the latter typically provides data and the former consumes it.

I'm sure with IoT, some things are changing, but you probably want to have ownership of data generated from your home anyways instead of paying some company to hand it over to them.

He is paying for unlimited data at a specified speed though. The only reason COX can get away with telling him what to do is because they have a regional monopoly.

His data usage doesn't matter, COX should account for a few outlier results when they are building out their network or, at the very least, beef up the network in that area. This doesn't seem like rocket science, especially with the rise of the cloud and content creators.

People keep touting Internet based services but you can't even trust your ISP to keep their word. Recommending people go to a business based solution that requires business credentials and god knows how much in fees isn't a viable solution.
 
Lol I thought I read he was uploading 8TB a month and in response they were throttling his upload speeds. I obviously misread the article. Yeah buddy, I work for Cox alright, they just don't pay me anything!
No harm no foul there.Just wanted to throw a little joke to brighten everybody's day amid all the craziness going on in 2020
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 401   +554
He is paying for unlimited data at a specified speed though. The only reason COX can get away with telling him what to do is because they have a regional monopoly.

His data usage doesn't matter, COX should account for a few outlier results when they are building out their network or, at the very least, beef up the network in that area. This doesn't seem like rocket science, especially with the rise of the cloud and content creators.

People keep touting Internet based services but you can't even trust your ISP to keep their word. Recommending people go to a business based solution that requires business credentials and god knows how much in fees isn't a viable solution.
I had misread, so my original post was misdirected.

Anyways I just found out a bit more information... It looks like he hasn't been paying that extra $50/mo for unlimited Internet based on the source article (at the very end) because Cox is giving everyone "unlimited" data caps. Here's the quote:
Ars Technica said:
Mike's bill is currently lower than usual because Cox, like other ISPs, is providing unlimited data to all customers during the pandemic. The waiver of the $50 monthly unlimited-data charge temporarily knocked his bill down to $100, and Cox provided a further $20 discount on his latest bill. Mike's bill doesn't explain the reason for the $20 credit, but it could be because of the new upload data limit.
It seems like Cox is considering this free "unlimited" upgrade different from the one he was paying for in past bills where it's not really unlimited but instead of being charged/throttled for going over 1 TB, customers are being threatened to have their Internet shut off for going over X TB. I think that's worse...
 

Evernessince

Posts: 5,464   +6,145
I had misread, so my original post was misdirected.

Anyways I just found out a bit more information... It looks like he hasn't been paying that extra $50/mo for unlimited Internet based on the source article (at the very end) because Cox is giving everyone "unlimited" data caps. Here's the quote:

It seems like Cox is considering this free "unlimited" upgrade different from the one he was paying for in past bills where it's not really unlimited but instead of being charged/throttled for going over 1 TB, customers are being threatened to have their Internet shut off for going over X TB. I think that's worse...

Yikes, it seems to me they are using the pandemic as a guise to threaten high data users in submission.

So what happens when someone is cut off from an essential service that is required like the Internet? SOL? Where art thou Net Neutrality?
 

Soulburn74

Posts: 89   +42
My take: If your ISP advertises a certain speed up/down and can't deliver, that's THEIR fault, not ours. If there are no data caps and you truly have an unlimited plan, you should be able to use it as you see fit. Period. End of Story. If the ISP are throttling you due to their inability to give us what they are advertising, they should be giving you discounts to make up for the shortfall while they upgrade their network......Of course that isn't happening, instead most are going away from unlimited, to unlimited* (throttling after a certain amount, which of course is not unlimited in any way shape or form). (I'm lucky to have a truly l unlimited Spectrum Gig plan (Los Angeles: San Fernando Valley based) that is truly unlimited. The upload had its challenges in the first month or so of lockdown......everyone converting to video conferencing from home and all, but it's been rock solid since).
 

arrowflash

Posts: 319   +322
Whenever I read articles such as this, I'm often taken aback by the total absence of consumer protection laws in the US (as someone who doesn't live there). No ISP would ever dare to do something like this in my country, because the customer would easily be able to win more than a year's worth of ISP fees in a small claims court, and on top of that the ISP would be at risk of getting multiple fines from different government bodies.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,258   +1,750
In Australia our entire internet infrastructure was hijacked by Luddites in the Federal government that ridiculed the entire idea of high speed fibre based internet connections. It said only pirates need fast internet speeds, and that 12mb/s was plenty fast enough for honest folks. It then set about destroying the already initiated fibre to the home network being installed. Even now for 99% of people 25Mb/s is considered plenty, 100Mb/s is ultra premium and for a few lucky people willing to pay through the nose that got fibre when the opposition were in power, they can get 1000/50 or 250/25 plans. Meanwhile in New Zealand they get Gigabit fibre to the hoime with unlimited data for 63NZD per month

Wasn't there someone in power before that wanted to wire the whole country up with fiber, then the next guy came into power and sold out to all the current isps and that is why you are stuck with slow internet now?

if I was to ever move in that area and if I cared about internet its better to look at NZ got it.
 
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MasterMace

Posts: 171   +141
Sue them. If you are paying for $150 per month for 1000mb internet, and they will only give you 10mb internet, then sue them for the $148.50 difference.
 

Lionvibez

Posts: 2,258   +1,750
Sue them. If you are paying for $150 per month for 1000mb internet, and they will only give you 10mb internet, then sue them for the $148.50 difference.

Probably cheaper to just change the isp if another one is available.

Taking them to court will cost you more money.
 
Just had the Cox tech here checking everything AGAIN. I test incoming line speed myself and readings have consistently been 300/25 for quite some time now, even though I pay for Gigablast rate though Cox. The tech said all connections etc. were fine, when questioned about the lower than expected 300 he said "all speed across the network are lower" ...there you go. I pay for Gig get 300,
Oh where oh where is my missing 600, oh where oh where could it be...lol...Cox is pathetic.