Cox Communications high-speed internet customers in Arizona will soon be subject to a cap on in-home data use and overage charges for exceeding the cap, according to a company statement. Analysts say, however, most homes won’t come anywhere near the cap, at least for now.
The cap is 1 terabyte (TB), equal to 1,024 gigabytes (GB).
“If you exceed your data plan, we automatically provide additional 50GB blocks of data for $10 each,” Cox said in a statement on its website dated June 26, 2017.
Cox notified residential customers of the change by email this week, and when relevant included this statement: “Your recent data usage history indicates you are unlikely to exceed your Cox High Speed Internet data plan.”
The company says the 1TB cap equates to 3,000 hours of web surfing, while also listening to 30,000 songs and watching 1,500 three-minute web videos plus 140 two-hour HD movies. Shows viewed via a Cox cable receiver or the Contour app do not count toward the data limit.
According to an analysis by Consumer Reports, you’d have to stream 416 Netflix videos, each 90 minutes long, to hit the 1TB cap.
That’s more than 20 hours of viewing per day. People watching higher-bandwidth 4K TV and movies would have to watch at least 3.3 hours per day to hit the cap. “The prospect of a U.S. household reaching 1TB of monthly use is still several years away,” Michael Greeson, an analyst at the research firm Diffusion Group, told Consumer Reports.
The data cap was first rolled out in Ohio, Florida and Georgia last year, then six other cities or states early this year. Customers can view their usage on the Cox website or via an app.
The change begins in July for Arizona Cox customers.
“To help our customers in the Arizona, Louisiana, Las Vegas, and Oklahoma service areas get accustomed to this change, we are providing a grace period for two consecutive bill cycles (about 60 days) before we begin charging for additional blocks,” the Cox statement said. “The grace period starts with data usage cycles that begin on July 6, 2017.”
During the grace period, any overage charges will show up on your bill with an accompanying credit. “Beginning with bills dated October 8, 2017, grace period credits will no longer apply,” Cox said.
Cable giant Comcast and AT&T have similar caps. CenturyLink, which offers internet service to some North Phoenix homes and competes directly with Cox, has a complex “excessive use policy” that includes 300GB caps for some plans, and no limit for Prism TV customers.