via ArsTechnica
Jon Brodkin

Cox takes Comcast-like approach in city-by-city expansion of overage charges.

Cox is continuing the trend of bringing data caps and overage fees to customers in new cities.

Cox, the third largest cable company in the US after Comcast and Charter, has 6 million residential and business customers in 18 states. Much like Comcast, it has instituted a 1TB (1,024GB) monthly data cap and charges $10 for each additional 50GB block of data. Also like Comcast, Cox has been bringing the overage fees to a few cities at a time instead of deploying them to its entire territory all at once.

Cox brought the data caps first to Cleveland, Ohio, and then to Florida and Georgia in October 2016. This week, Cox expanded the overage fees to Arkansas; Connecticut; Kansas; Omaha, Nebraska; Iowa; and Sun Valley, Idaho. Customers can get data usage alerts from a browser, e-mail, text message, or automated phone call when they hit 85 percent, 100 percent, and 125 percent of their monthly data plans.

Cox hired NetForecast to test the accuracy of its meter. This is the same vendor used by Comcast, but the Comcast meter has suffered from occasional mistakes, and plenty of customers suspect the meter is wrong (even if they can’t prove it).

The 1TB caps apply for download speeds from 5Mbps to 300Mbps, and Cox customers can view their measured data use on the Cox website or in an app. In some areas, Cox offers a “Gigablast” fiber service with gigabit upload and download speeds. Technically, there is a 2TB cap for the gigabit fiber customers. However, the company’s website says that “Gigablast usage does not currently display in the Data Usage Meter.” Fiber customers won’t be charged overage fees just yet.

“Our meter does not currently track the data usage of Gigablast customers, therefore we do not currently charge Gigablast customers who exceed usage allowances in the markets where we have implemented use-based billing,” a Cox spokesperson told Ars.

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