James, a Cox cable-Internet buyer in Irvine, California, bought an unwelcome electronic mail on Tuesday from the Internet supplier. Cox’s electronic 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 clients can hold their 30Mbps add speeds in the event that they improve to a more recent modem. But that possibility wasn’t included within the electronic mail to clients, which created the impression that the upload-speed minimize is obligatory until they pay for a costlier Internet plan.

The completely different messages given to clients and an Ars reporter recommend that Cox is making an attempt to get individuals to change to the lower-upload velocity plan and is barely mentioning the choice of retaining the present plan as a final resort. Based on what we have discovered, clients who wish to hold their present add speeds and value ought to speak to a Cox customer-service rep and ask for that possibility if the rep does not point out it. Customers can hold their current modems with out dropping Internet service totally, however their add speeds can 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 within the United States.

James, who most popular to maintain his final identify unpublished, will not be alone in getting the dangerous information. Cox’s “Ultimate” Internet plan with 300Mbps obtain and 30Mbps add speeds was modified to a 500Mbps obtain, 10Mbps add bundle early final 12 months. At first, Cox let clients on the 300Mbps/30Mbps model hold it, with none nudges to alter their plans or improve their modems. But that modified with the e-mail Cox despatched to James and different clients this week.

While the enhance from 300Mbps to 500Mbps obtain speeds is good, it pales compared to a 67 % minimize in add speeds throughout a pandemic that has demonstrated the significance of upstream bandwidth to households with individuals working and taking lessons at house. James and his spouse each do business from home and have two youngsters, together with a 3-year-old son now sufficiently old to stream video on an Amazon Fire Kids Edition pill.

James purchased his personal modem for $70 in November 2017 to keep away from rental charges. According to Cox, James should purchase a brand new modem or lease a brand new one from Cox (with the primary 12 months’ rental charges waived) with a purpose to hold the 300Mbps/30Mbps plan.

Cox electronic mail leaves key questions unanswered

The Cox electronic mail despatched to James and different clients stated:

We’re making vital community upgrades to supply a greater Internet expertise for all of our clients. To do that, we have to transfer Ultimate Classic 300 plan clients with older modems to the brand new Ultimate plan on or after Wednesday, March 3, 2021.

Your invoice won’t improve because of this transformation to your Internet service plan.

Ultimate has obtain speeds of as much as 500Mbps, 60 % greater than Ultimate Classic 300. Ultimate’s decrease add speeds of as much as 10Mbps nonetheless help the standard wants of most customers like video chatting, gaming, and importing massive information. However, you might want to replace your present modem to benefit from the full improve in obtain speeds.

The electronic 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 “call to learn more about equipment and our speed plans.” (DOCSIS is the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification utilized by the cable trade to supply Internet entry over coaxial cables.)

The electronic mail didn’t clarify why James cannot merely hold 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 electronic 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 electronic mail spurs confusion and anger

It appeared to James that the one choice to hold his present add speeds was to purchase the costlier “Gigablast” bundle that features 940Mbps obtain speeds and 35Mbps add speeds. The plan’s common value is $120 a month, with a $100 promotional fee for the primary 12 months. It is the one plan Cox advertises with add speeds above 10Mbps.

“It looks like I’m either losing my 300/30 plan in favor of a 500/10 plan, or I’ll be paying Cox even more money,” James informed Ars, earlier than we did extra analysis into the predicament. “In the middle of a pandemic where video conferences are king, Cox is trying to force folks working from home into their top tier to make a quick buck. My area in Irvine doesn’t have any alternative broadband options, so I’m stuck until 5G to the home makes an appearance or Starlink miraculously works in semi-dense urban environments.”

Other clients who acquired the identical electronic mail complained in a Reddit thread yesterday. “Just got that same email. Work will be pissed when my productivity slows to a crawl cause uploads take 3 times as long,” one particular person wrote.

“Cox is fucking garbage,” one other particular person wrote. “I used to have AT&T fiber 1000/1000 until I moved. Same price now I have 500/10. What bullshit.”

Source arstechnica.com