Cox Kicks Off Speed Upgrades

Cox Communications has begun to phase in upgrades that double the downstream capabilities of two of its most popular high-speed Internet tiers.

Under the plan, the maximum downstream speed for its Preferred offering will increase from 25 Mbps to 50 Mbps, while its Premier tier will jump from 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps. Cox said more than 70% of its high-speed Internet customers take one of those two tiers.

A Cox spokeswoman said the following markets will see the speed increase this month: Omaha; Neb.; Sun Valley, Idaho; Kansas; Arkansas; Arizona; and Las Vegas. The MSO plans to introduce the upgrade across all markets by the end of 2014.

Cox announced the speed upgrade plan earlier this year while also announcing an initiative to offer 1 Gigabit per second speeds to all residential customers.

In May, Cox announced a plan to “begin market-wide deployment of gigabit speeds by the end of 2016.” Before then, Cox has committed to bring 1-Gig speeds initially to new residential construction projects and to new and existing neighborhoods in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Omaha, starting in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Cox hasn’t revealed a technology roadmap for its 1-Gig plan, but “all options are on the table,” Philip Nutsugah, vice president of product management for Cox High Speed Internet, told Multichannel News in a recent interview (subscription required). “There are lots of ways to deliver gigabit speeds. We will have a lot of options available to us.”

The expectation is that it will use a mix of fiber to the premises (FTTP) technology and DOCSIS 3.1, an emerging CableLabs specification that is targeting multi-gigabit speeds. D3.1 technology isn't expected to be ready for widespread rollouts for a couple of years.

 “When [DOCSIS 3.1] becomes available … we’ll take advantage of it, and it will become one of the arrows in our quiver to deliver gigabit to our customers,” Nutsugah said at the time.