AT&T vs. Cox
Type of Service
100-1000 Mbps (Fiber), 5-75 Mbps (DSL)
$40.00-$80.00 per month
Included in package price
*Pricing and speeds are subject to change but are current as of 01/18/18. Internet and television offers not available in all coverage areas.
Should I Choose AT&T or Cox as My High-Speed Internet Service Provider?
Choose AT&T for wide availability and great customer service.
AT&T is available in a lot more locations than Cox, making it perfect for anyone who moves frequently. The company also scored very well in customer service, with 24/7 support and an easy-to-use website. As for speed, the fiber service is fast, but availability is still limited. Most of the coverage area is on a DSL or a DSL/fiber hybrid network, which offers speeds that tend to fall short of Cox’s pure cable service.
Choose Cox for consistent speeds and great budget packages.
Cox offers consistently fast speeds across its whole network thanks to its cable service. The company also has more affordable starter packages for people on a budget. Cox does have a few reliability issues during peak times, but otherwise, it’s a very well-rounded choice.
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AT&T is one of the largest DSL and fiber providers in the country, serving over 260 million people in twenty-one states. AT&T’s coverage is focused heavily on the southeastern United States, extending west to Texas and then picking up again in California. Check out the coverage map below for a more detailed look.
Cox provides coverage to thirty-four million people in eighteen states across the US. The coverage areas are much more scattered than AT&T, though, despite Cox being present in many of the same states. Arizona is by far the best state for finding Cox service.
- Rhode Island
Customer Satisfaction Ratings
Every year, HighSpeedInternet.com surveys internet subscribers to learn about their experiences. The survey includes questions about things like internet speed and quality, customer service and support, and billing practices. Check out the full 2018 Customer Satisfaction Survey for more details.
Installation & Setup
Both AT&T and Cox fall around the middle of the pack for installation satisfaction, but AT&T scores higher than Cox. AT&T has a great reputation for customer service, so we’re not surprised. What is surprising is that AT&T still ranks high in this category despite the hefty installation fee, so perhaps the installation service that comes with it makes customers happy to fork over the cash. However, self-installation kits are still available for DIY fans and anyone who doesn’t want to deal with a service technician in their home.
AT&T Installation Fee: $99.00
Cox also offers both professional and self-installation options, but there are some fees attached. Professional installation starts at $75.00, while a self-installation kit starts at $20.00. We’re guessing those fees are the main reason for the lower score here. For the most part, we’d recommend doing the installation yourself. Not only is it cheaper, but it’s also a pretty simple process. Check the link below for full instructions.
Cox Installation Fee: $75.00
AT&T’s speeds are highly dependent on where you live. That’s because there are essentially two different AT&T networks out there: a DSL network and a fiber network. Some areas just get access to DSL, which gives the 5–10 Mbps speeds. Other areas get access to fiber-enhanced DSL, which kicks things up to 50–75 Mbps. And still other areas get the full benefit of AT&T’s excellent fiber network, with speeds up to 1000 Mbps.
Speed: 100–1000 Mbps (Fiber), 5–75 Mbps (DSL)
As a cable provider, Cox delivers consistently fast speeds, ranging from 10 Mbps all the way up to 300 Mbps. Like AT&T, the exact speeds available to you depend on where you live. Cox offers a much higher average speed across its coverage areas, though—100 Mbps compared to AT&T’s average of 10 Mbps—since so much of AT&T’s service is DSL.
Speed: 10–300 Mbps (1 Gig in some areas)
AT&T gets an average score for reliability, with slightly better scores than Cox. Both DSL and fiber make for fairly reliable networks, so we don’t think you’ll have any issues with AT&T’s service. Fiber is especially robust, making it perfect for tasks where reliability is critical, like gaming or videoconferencing.
Cox also gets an average score in this category. Cable is usually stable, but there can be slowdowns during peak usage times as network hubs get overloaded. This is not a problem unique to Cox, but Cox does seem to suffer from it more than other cable providers like Xfinity and Spectrum.
AT&T actually ranks in the top five internet providers for pricing satisfaction. The company has packages as low as $40.00 per month, and the AT&T 1000 plan is only $80.00 per month—that’s a steal for a fast fiber connection. AT&T also recently overhauled its TV pricing structure, making it one of the best deals in that realm as well.
Price: $40.00–$80.00 per month
Cox fares significantly worse here. Although packages start much lower—$19.99 per month—they get quite a bit more expensive, considering what you get for the money. For example, Cox’s Gigabit connection, called Gigablast Internet, is $119.99 per month, compared to $80.00 for AT&T’s Internet 1000 plan.
Price: $19.99–$119.99 per month
Technical Support & Customer Service
AT&T is also in the top five for customer support. The company has an excellent reputation in this area, with top scores for both internet and TV service. The company’s support site is easy to use, and representatives are available 24/7 to assist with issues.
Cox offers a robust support site, complete with plenty of videos and a prominent search function to find exactly what you need. The company also provides a convenient page to check for service outages and a speed test to help troubleshoot your connection. If you need to talk to a rep, you can call, chat online, or hit up Cox Support on Facebook or Twitter.
Advantages & Disadvantages
AT&T and Cox aim to be your one-stop shop—you can purchase internet, telephone, and television services from the providers. Information about the television offerings and bundling options of each are included below to help you choose your next communications provider.
Suddenlink and Windstream provide modems and routers for a monthly fee. If you wish to avoid the fee or want to increase the speed of your wireless network, you should look into buying your own. The information listed below will help guide you toward an affordable, quality product.
AT&T requires you to use the provided modem/router combo with its DSL and fiber services. That’s because of the unique infrastructure that DSL and fiber require. That said, if you’re not satisfied with the wireless performance you get from AT&T’s modem/router, you can plug your own wireless router into the modem and use that instead. While AT&T’s equipment is probably good enough for most cases, some users might need a longer range or more bandwidth than it can provide. If that’s you, we recommend the NETGEAR router below.
Our modem-router recommendation for AT&T:
Amazon Rating: (4.2 /5)
This wireless router from NETGEAR is one of the most popular on Amazon and for good reason. It’s got plenty of bandwidth available for homes with multiple Wi-Fi devices, and it’s also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, allowing you to control your network with your voice.
Cox, like most cable providers, does allow you to use your own modem/router and even provides a list of compatible devices. For a modem/router combo, we like the ARRIS SURFboard SBG6900.
Our modem-router recommendation for Cox:
Amazon Rating: (4.2 /5)
This modem/router combo is certified by Cox (and several other cable providers) and offers a modem and four Gigabit Ethernet ports for hooking up your computers and devices. It also has an 802.11ac wireless router built in for maximizing speed on your Wi-Fi devices.
What You Should Consider When Comparing Suddenlink and Windstream
There are two basic things you’ll want to look at when comparing Cox and AT&T: speed and price.
AT&T is built on a mix of DSL and fiber, while Cox is a cable network. In fiber areas, AT&T is almost certainly going to have the advantage in speed. Fiber networks also have symmetrical upload and download speeds, which makes sharing media much more convenient. Fiber is perfect for content creators and anyone who uploads lots of pictures or videos.
In DSL coverage areas, though, AT&T leaves a lot to be desired. DSL is just slow, and even AT&T’s fiber-enhanced service can’t keep up with Cox’s cable technology. The takeaway? Pay close attention to what’s available in your area because it can vary heavily. Depending on the network type, the faster provider in one city might be the slower provider in another.
As for price, AT&T is more affordable at the high end, while Cox is more affordable at the low end. What this means is that if budget is your main concern, Cox is probably the better bet. If you just want the best internet service, AT&T might actually be more affordable and faster, depending on where you live.
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About the Providers
Dave is a freelance writer with a passion for tech and how it improves our lives. His work has been published on a variety of sites around the web.