By Miriam Raftery
March 30, 2020 (San Diego) – Cox Communications recently announced steps to keep people and communities connected during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many are working at home, educating children at home, or facing financial stress. Those steps include increasing customer bandwidth free, suspending data usage overage fees, not cutting off phone or internet services for people who can’t pay bills due to the pandemic, and waiving late fees. Cox is also offering low-cost fees for new customers including families with children, opening outdoor WiFi hotspots, and more.
Cox assures that its network has capacity to handle a surge in usage trends from business to residential areas, allow quick emergency repairs, and protect employees and customers through social distance.
Below is Cox’s statement on keeping communities connected and helping those who most need connectivity:
Keeping people and communities connected
We recognize governments, businesses, schools and other organizations rely on Cox services to operate. As a result, we are operating under our Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for pandemic situations and are in contact with critical third parties to verify their ability to provide continued support.
Our focus is to help keep everyone connected during this unprecedented time, with remote workers and students learning from home top of mind. Our technology and engineering teams are working 24/7 to monitor network speeds and performance and to support capacity needs.
Overall, we’ve seen an increase in total network traffic. Everything is running smoothly, but traffic patterns are varying. There’s more traffic in residential areas and less in business districts and peak times have shifted from evening to throughout the day in residential areas. Our network has enough capacity to handle the sudden shift in usage trends, and new innovations allow quick emergency repairs just in case.
Helping people who need connectivity the most
Cox is continuing to focus on its customers with the greatest need to ensure they have the tools to work and learn from home. We’ve made a number of service enhancements to keep our customers connected and support the communities we serve:
• Increasing customer bandwidth. We automatically upgraded residential customers in our Starter, StraightUp Internet and Connect2Compete packages to 50 Mbps speeds through May 15. Our Essential customers were upgraded from 30 Mbps to 50 Mbps, originally planned for this summer.
• Simplifying access to low-cost service. Through May 15, we’re offering our Starter package at $19.99 with temporary boost up to 50 Mbps and no annual contract or qualifications.
• Suspending data usage overage fees. We are also suspending data usage overage charges and implementing credits for data usage plan participants through May 15.
• Promoting digital equity for students. We’ve increased support for Connect2Compete, our low-cost, high speed internet service for families with school-aged children who are enrolled in low-income assistance programs. The monthly service fee is $9.95, and we are offering the first two months of service free for new customers through May 15. We are fast-tracking the qualification process for Connect2Compete to accommodate more students. We’ve also partnered with PCs for People where families can purchase discounted refurbished computers.
Ensuring service continuity for customers facing financial stress. We pledged to support the FCC’s Keep America Connected initiative to ensure service for customers facing financial stress due to the pandemic. For the next 60 days through May 15, we agreed to:
o Not terminate internet or telephone service to any residential or small business customer because of an inability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the pandemic.
o Waive any internet or telephone late fees that residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the pandemic.
o Open all Cox Wifi outdoor hotspots.
• Streamlining customer care. For our Starter, StraightUp Internet and Connect2Compete customers, we are extending Cox Complete Care remote desktop support at no extra charge with remote helpdesk and assistance with loading new applications such as online classroom support applications and web conferencing services.
• Supporting remote work in the communities we serve. We will offer our network to support government officials with public service announcements and other critical information. We are also in continual discussion with our private sector customers, as well as community organizations in all of our markets to determine peak demand times and identify families and communities with no or limited network access.
These measures reflect our assessment of connectivity needs today. We will monitor the issue continually and implement new solutions as needed to provide the best possible service and support for our customers.
You can read Cox’s complete response to Coronavirus - Summary of Activities at: