Here comes the capped data usage for cable customers?

Posted by Paul Braren on Sep 20 2011 (updated on May 3 2018) in
  • Network
  • Great article here:
    Stop the Cap!

    Got my copy of that Cox warning letter today.  It appears I'll know what happens next very soon, as you can see from my current usage meter tonight, Sep 20 2011:


    This slippery slope of nagging, which could lead to data caps like we endure for cellular, is mostly just bad. It will stifle innovation. And hinder the ability to produce (not just consume) from home. Not to mention what this does to streaming services households, making "cutting the cord" a whole lot harder.

    I understand the need to secure open WiFi and other abuses, but if this leads to overage charges for legitimate uses, wow, then this is a big deal.

    Time to shop for a non-cable (no conflict of interest) provider.  Hmm, wait, I don't have any other reasonable choices. I look forward to hearing how Kansas City citizens fare with Google's gigabit internet.

    Why does it feel like the late 90's again, where my home's ISDN was metered by the minute?  That is, until the 3Com ISDN LAN Modem 3C892 came along in 1999 with Tollmizer "data over voice" trickery. So, we're going to have to invent devices that allow us to use data over the cable company's VOIP lines (also known as a 56K modem), to avoid data overages?  C'mon.

    Sep 26 2011 Update

    over the past week, 1 attempt to see my usage showed I had gone slightly over, then the next 2 attempts failed, including tonight, resulting in this message:
    _"We're sorry. Your data usage information is unavailable at this time. Please try again later."


    Sep 27 2011 Update

    To be fair, nothing is enforced yet, and I haven't been contacted, here's the Data Usage Allowances FAQs where it says:  What happens if I go over my monthly data usage allowed by Cox?

    Cox notifies customers if they exceed their data usage allowance -- and works with them proactively to resolve the problem. In some cases, customers do not even know they are exceeding the allowance because their computers are infected with a virus that is spewing spam or otherwise consuming data. In others, customers choose to reduce their data consumption or select a different Cox High Speed Internet package that better fits their needs.

    Feb 07 2012 Update

    Nothing official email or mail warnings have arrived that I've noticed, yet, but now I am routinely getting this:


    The Data Usage Allowances FAQs still doesn't really explain what I'd do about this, other than be sure no Trojans have infected my PCs. That is good advice.

    But I don't have any Trojans. It's simply because my household is streaming more these days, legitimate paid-for Netflix and other advertiser-funded streaming services.
    And the next plan up that they'll want to sell me on is nearly twice the cost.


    Nov 28 2017 Update

    First, the good news.

    About 2 years ago, Cox upped residential service to my neighborhood to 300Mbps down and 30MBps. About 7 truck rolls later, and we had it all squared away, working well.

    Then, the bad news.

    Click to visit DSLReports report, run from my home in 06109 on Nov 17 2017 using Cox.

    Then, early in 2017, Cox starting enforcing a 1TB (1024GB) per month data cap for customers in Connecticut, detailed by Cox here.

    All that bandwidth also means you can chew through it that much faster.

    Thankfully, it took until this year for Cox to enforce bandwidth caps. When discussing this with residential internet customer service, my particular service representative admitted that at least Cox held off longer than others (like Comcast). I've also dealt with Comcast directly for a family member, and nothing suprises me anymore.

    On Jan 24 2017, the emailed warnings began to arrive regularly:

    Important Information Regarding Your Account
    Data Usage Alert: You have exceeded 100% of your monthly data plan

    These messages used to be entitled:

    Overage Notification on your Cox High Speed Internet package

    The emails go on to explain that charges would be incurred soon if my pattern of heavy internet usage continued:

    Beginning 02/20/2017, if you exceed your monthly data plan we will automatically provide additional blocks of data for $10 per 50 gigabytes (GB), as needed.
    To help you get accustomed to this change, you will be provided a grace period for your first two billing cycles after the effective date. You will not be charged if you exceed your data plan during this grace period.

    I'm an IT Pro working at VMware who downloads multi-gigabyte ISOs every week, and I have automatic daily backups over VPN that also hit my bandwidth caps. I'm not doing BitTorrents, and only a little Steam, and I certainly couldn't entertain doing 4K on Netflix, not with these looming threats.

    So I contacted Cox Business to see what their unlimited packages cost, only to waste weeks going back and forth with a sales rep who wanted me to sign up for a 3 year contract. He finally stopped trying, once a new option to bump residential internet services up to unlimited arrived, at a cost of $50 per month, at least it's all clearly spelled out here.


    Apr 20 2018 Update


    Here's my latest speed test result.

    I have just learned that Gigablast is now available to customers like me, in Wethersfield, CT 06109. I learned yesterday when placing my order that since I'm already an Cox High Speed Internet Ultimate customer, moving to Cox Internet Gigablast is at no additional charge per month, other than the one-time $20 self-install fee and $179 cost of the provided Arris CM8200 DOCIS 3.1 cable modem, which was released in July 2016, according to the instruction manual. You can also elect to buy your own DOCIS 3.1 modem from the list of Gigablast devices:

    While many of the devices have more than one ethernet port, MCA (Multiple Computer Access) has been silently removed from all residential Cox internet customers, with the capability disappearing at my address last summer. This is very aggravating, as I was actively using 2 public IP addresses. See also the SB8200 SURFboard Cable Modem, which says:

    • Ideal for Gigabit speed packages offered by cable providers
    • Two 1-Gigabit Ethernet ports
    • Support for multiple Ethernet ports on a cable modem may require a minimum level of service subscription.
    • Supports IPv4 and IPv6 Internet browsing standards
    • Note, Cox Cable does not support activation of a 2nd Ethernet port.

    I am keeping my $50 per month charge for unlimited/uncapped internet, and my tracking information in my account shows it will arrive this Tuesday, Apr 24 2018. I'll let you know how it goes!

    May 03 2018 Update

    My speed test, directly wired to cable modem.

    I'm having some slower speeds from some PCs that exhibit irregular results, but things are looking good overall. Using a Dell Precision 5520 laptop, equipped with a 10GbE NIC that was CAT6a attached directly to my Arris SB8200 DOCIS 3.1 cable modem, I was able to obtain a pretty spectactular result of 949 Mbps down and 36 Mbps up!

    Using a wired laptop, connected through my Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite router, an impressive speed obtained on May 3 2018.
    Using a wired gen1 eero in bridge mode, speed benchmarks done from eero through router to cable modem yields pretty impressive results too. WiFi from iOS devices tests slower, of course.
    Here's the Web UI of the Arris SB8200 SURFboard Cable Modem, signals looking good.

    See also