Cox has made it extremely difficult or impossible for some customers to stick to their current internet speeds, despite promising that users will not be forced into plans with slower uploads.
As we wrote two weeks ago, Cox informed customers with a download speed of 300Mbps and an upload speed of 30Mbps that they were on a March 3rd with a download plan of 500Mbps and Uploads from 10 Mbit / s can be switched to 30 Mbit / s uploads as long as they are updated to a DOCSIS 3.1 modem. However, Cox's email to its customers made no mention of this option, and customers who have called Cox Customer Service have since received a clear message that they cannot meet their current plans.
Several California Cox users emailed Ars about the issue after reading our article, all with similar experiences.
"I was just on the phone with a Cox tech and they said my current Ultimate Classic plan (300/30) is no longer valid whether or not I upgrade to a DOCSIS 3.1 modem," one said A customer whose first name is Dam and lives in Aliso Viejo, Calif., Said Ars on Thursday last week. "When the time comes in March, my new plan will be the new Ultimate 500/10. I told her about your article and she said this is not what she sees on her system or hears from her supervisors."
We contacted Cox last week about the issue, and a Cox spokesperson admitted the company didn't make sure sales reps knew customers were allowed to follow the 300/30 Mbps plan.
"There are clearly some loopholes that we need to fill in order to avoid this confusion," Cox told Ars on Monday. "We are in the process of re-training our front-line teams to ensure that they are consistently delivering the available to affected customers Share options including keeping their existing 300/30 plan as long as they upgrade their modem. "
As before, customers will automatically switch from the 300/30 Mbps plan to the 500/10 Mbps tier unless they contact customer service and insist on keeping their plan. The change in download and upload speed occurs regardless of whether customers have an updated modem. Customers sticking to an older modem may not get the full 500Mbps download speed.Cox, who has around 5.3 million internet customers in 19 states, says the changes are related to a network upgrade.
Cox & # 39; customer service bug
The evidence (including Cox's email to customers and testimony from Cox sales reps to customers) suggests that Cox did not intend to keep customers at their 30Mbps upload speed until the company was criticized two weeks ago and media exposure. This would explain why customer service reps have told customers they need to abandon the 300/30 Mbps plan and why Cox is now making an effort to let reps know about the option.
However, a Cox spokesman told Ars that the company "always" intends to keep customers at the 30Mbps upload speed. If so, the company has messed up its messaging to customers and changing its customer service systems.
Cox described the update now being implemented yesterday in a statement to Ars as "retraining":
Our frontline nurses were originally trained at the end of January before the first customer communication in early February. Based on feedback from some customers, including that shared by you, we repeat the training to ensure ALL customers receive consistent and correct information. To that end, we are currently running refresher training sessions for all of our frontline employees by the end of this week.
As we educate our staff, we make sure they communicate the options available to affected customers, including keeping their existing Ultimate Classic (300/30) plan, as long as they update their modem. Compliance with this plan has always been an available option, though not one that has been communicated as clearly as it could have been. We want to make sure customers clearly understand their options when they need more upload speed.
The 500/10 Mbit / s plan is a direct replacement for the 300/30 Mbit / s plan in terms of price and its place within Cox's speed tiers. It costs $ 80 per month for the first year and $ 100 after the promo period ends. Since the 300/30 Mbit / s plan is being discontinued, the only option with upload speeds greater than 10 Mbit / s is the "Gigablast" plan with 940 Mbit / s download speeds and 35 Mbit / s Upload speeds. This plan generally costs $ 100 during the promotional period and $ 120 afterwards, but some customers have been offered a promotional price of $ 92.50. Cox charges $ 12 a month for a combo modem and router. However, customers can use their own compatible devices to avoid the rental fee.
The email from Cox informing users of the upcoming changes in download and upload speeds stated that customers who want upload speeds above 10Mbps "can call for more information on devices and find out our speed plans ". The option to stay at the same 300/30 Mbps was not mentioned, however, plan. Customers who received this email and customers who contact Cox before all customer service issues are resolved may mistakenly believe that following their plan is not an option. They would therefore automatically reduce their upload speed to 10 Mbps when the change takes effect next week.
We asked Cox if he would contact all of these customers again to make it clear that they could avoid reducing the upload speed. We'll update this article when we get a response. Update at 5 p.m. ET: Cox told us that "we will be communicating to these customers to further clarify their options, including the option to stay at their 300/30 level."
Cox apparently struggled to provide upload speeds announced during the pandemic. In June 2020 we wrote about how Cox warned some customers about "excessive" upload usage and how the company increased the upload speed of the Gigablast plan from 35Mbps in some areas of the city where the network was experiencing problems 10 Mbit / s.