Cox says new 2-gig internet offer is ‘just the beginning’

Cox Communications jumped aboard the multi-gig train, announcing the launch of a symmetrical 2-gig product for select fiber customers. Though 99% of its residential customers already have access to gigabit service, the offer is Cox’s first move into symmetrical multi-gig territory.

An operator representative told Fierce the service is available in parts of “a majority of our markets,” specifically areas with newly built fiber. However, “this footprint is growing and will continue to expand to our other neighborhoods,” the representative said. Pricing for the product starts at $110 per month.

Earlier this year, Cox unveiled a plan to spend billions annually over the coming years to roll out 10-gig capable fiber and DOCSIS 4.0 upgrades to enable multi-gigabit symmetrical speeds. That plan includes $20 million for fiber deployments in four Rhode Island markets.

Asked whether the decision to launch a multi-gig service came in response to competitive pressure, the Cox representative said “this 2G symmetrical rollout was always in our plan and is just the beginning.”

Cox joins a parade of operators trotting out multi-gig internet tiers. In the U.S., AT&T, Frontier Communications, TDS Telecom, Verizon and Windstream have all done so in recent months, with Altice USA and Lumen Technologies plotting similar moves. A similar trend can be seen among operators in Canada.

The degree to which multi-gig offers are a currently marketing ploy rather than a consumer need is unclear. Cox declined to comment on how many of its users currently take its 1-gig offering. However, last month, it upped speeds on its lower-level 150 Mbps plan to 250 Mbps, noting at the time the offering was its “most popular tier.”

According to OpenVault’s most recent Broadband Insights report, around 12% of internet subscribers were on a speed tier of 1 Gbps or higher in Q4 2021. The largest cohort of consumers (36.9%) took speeds of 100-200 Mbps while another 28.5% subscribed to speeds of 200-400 Mbps.