When you get an unlimited internet package, you would think that meant unlimited internet, right? Well, in the case of at least one Cox cable customer, that just simply isn’t the case and apparently the customer’s whole neighborhood is now being affected by this customer’s usage.
In a report from Ars Technica, Mike (last name withheld), who pays $150 a month for a Cox cable package that includes 1Gbps download and 35Mbps upload ($100) and “unlimited data” ($50), was recently made aware that their internet usage exceeded what was acceptable.
According to the report, Mike’s internet usage is pretty typical during normal hours, but from 1am to around 8am, their usage goes up substantially for backups and “data sharing via various (encrypted) information-sharing protocols.” Mike chose these times because typically the networks are not as busy and it would lessen the effect (if there are any) on neighbors’ internet speeds. Mike has been doing this for over four years, but it wasn’t until May that he was alerted to the “issue.”
In total, Mike is using between eight and twelve terabytes a month, which is why they pay extra for unlimited data. Apparently, Cox doesn’t like that and emailed and called him to let him know that he needed to lessen his use or his internet service would be scheduled for termination.
To make the whole situation even wilder, in an email from Cox, Mike was told,
During these unprecedented times, many people are working and schooling from home, and maintaining connectivity is important. We are working to provide a positive Internet experience for everyone, so we’ve adjusted our Gigablast upload speeds in your neighborhood from 35Mbps to 10Mbps, now through July 15, 2020. Your download speeds have not changed.
Yes, you’ve read that right. Not only is Mike being punished, but his whole neighborhood will feel the effects. It should be noted that Mike’s neighborhood isn’t the only one that is being throttled by Cox while more people are working from home and generally spending more time at home, but it is a small percentage of locations.
In a statement to Ars, Cox defended itself, saying, “[These] are two separate initiatives that could cross over in some cases.” Cox also told Ars that “The vast majority of its network is ‘performing very well.’”
Cox has stated that Mike’s usage goes against its Acceptable Use Policy, which brings us back to the big takeaway here – so is your Unlimited package unlimited or not, Cox?