Cox Prepaid Internet Review: Pricing, Features, & More (2022)

Cox’s prepaid home internet plan gives you 100 Mbps (download), and 5.0 Mbps (upload) speeds for $50 a month. It has a 1.25 terabyte (TB) data cap, doesn’t require a contract, and comes with a free modem rental. You’ll want this plan if you don’t have the greatest credit score.

My search for an internet plan that offers the best value has led me to Cox’s prepaid home internet. To determine whether this plan’s worthy, I’ve compiled information from many sources.

As you read on, you’ll find the following information:

Ready?

Cox Prepaid Pros and Cons

Here are the wins and losses for Cox StraightUp prepaid:

Pros:

  • Free Wi-Fi modem rental
  • You can use your own router and modem
  • Contract- and credit-check free

Cons:

  • No discount to using third-party routers and modems
  • LOW upload speed



What Is Cox Prepaid Internet?

StraightUp is a prepaid residential cable internet plan that gives you 100 Mbps download speeds and 5.0 Mbps download speeds. You can get this internet plan without a contract or worrying about a price hike in a year.

Usually, internet service providers perform a soft credit check. If they see discrepancies in your credit history, they’ll charge you security deposits that vary in price.

Prepaid internet plans don’t have this annoyance.

This plan comes with a free refurbished network dual-band gateway. That’s a 2-in-1 Wi-Fi router and modem.

And you’ll get these features:

  • Access to over 4 million Wi-Fi hotspots: various ISPs host these hotspots; each has different speeds
  • No security deposit
  • Contract-free

You can’t use Cox prepaid home internet when you’re away. You’ll need a separate prepaid internet plan from a mobile provider. But you still have the Wi-Fi hotspots.

How Does Cox Prepaid Internet Work?

Cox StraightUp prepaid home internet works like calling cards. Through your Cox online account, you’ll prepay your internet plan a month in advance.

Cox Prepaid Internet Data Cap

Cox’s prepaid plan has a 1.25 terabyte (TB) data allowance. Once you surpass this limit, you’ll need to pay $10 per additional 50 gigabytes (GB) blocks Cox adds to your account.

You’ll have to pay per additional block no matter how far you go above the data cap.

Most users won’t notice any difference in their online activities with a data cap. Unless you stream a lot of 4K video. Then, you can only watch around 200 hours of content before bypassing this cap.

Your household could watch over 600 hours of 1080p (HD) content.

Cox Unlimited Data Add-on for Prepaid Internet

Cox’s unlimited internet data add-on gives you the means to bypass Cox’s data cap for $50 a month.

I recommend using this add-on as a last resort. Because the price is ridiculous.

Xfinity’s known for its predatory data cap, yet they only charge $30 monthly for their most expensive unlimited data add-on.

Monitor your home’s data usage for a month. You can do so through the Cox My Account app or by visiting Cox.com/internettools/data-usage.html.

Cox has a data usage calculator to help estimate your monthly usage. But I wouldn’t trust it.

Too many variables come with internet data usage. For instance, background photo syncing on iCloud or Google Photos could use data. And I don’t see them on this calculator.

Who Is Cox Prepaid Internet Best For?

The following people will find this plan beneficial:

  • Those with a shady credit history
  • Someone who lives in a short-term rental
  • You don’t have enough for a security deposit
  • Don’t qualify for their low-income internet plans

You can also test Cox’s services and reliability with this plan without paying an enormous cancellation fee.




What Can You Do With 100 Mbps Download Speeds?

Here’s an example of what you can do with 100 Mbps download speeds and 5.0 Mbps upload speeds [1]:

Online TaskRecommended Download SpeedRecommended Upload Speed
1 Ring Doorbell2.0 Mbps2.0 Mbps
1 PC Casually Gaming3.0 Mbps0.5 Mbps
2 Devices Streaming 4K Disney+50 MbpsNA
1 Smartphone Streaming Peacock Premium (1080p)3.0 MbpsNA
1 1:1 Zoom Video Conference (720p)1.2 Mbps1.2 Mbps
1 Laptop Streaming Netflix in 4K25 MbpsNA
1 Person Browsing Reddit2.0 Mbps1.0 Mbps
2 People Watching YouTube in 1080p10 MbpsNA

Online tasks you can do with 100 Mbps download speeds and 5.0 Mbps upload speed.

9 devices performing these online tasks consume 97.2 Mbps download speeds and 4.7 Mbps upload speeds. You’re close to the maximum supported upload speed in this scenario, but it shouldn’t make the most significant impact.

StraightUp’s download speeds give your household A LOT of flexibility regarding online activities. But their upload speed can break online experiences.

For instance, running 2 instances of Zoom in 1080p (group and 1:1) requires 3.8 upload and 3.0 download speeds. This requirement puts you over your network’s supported bandwidth.

There’s no way to increase the upload speeds for Cox prepaid internet.

StraightUp won’t work if you’re someone who frequently uploads massive files (like video files).

Here’s an example.

Some hour-long 30 FPS 1080p videos will require at least 1 gigabyte (GB) of space [2]. With 5.0 Mbps upload speeds, you’ll waste close to 30 minutes uploading such a small file size.

Let’s move on to pricing. 

Cox Prepaid Internet Pricing

Cox cable prepaid internet costs $50 a month. This price includes taxes and the modem rental price.

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StraightUp prepaid DOESN’T have installation, cancellation, or equipment rental fees. And since it’s a prepaid internet plan, you don’t need to pay for a security deposit.

If you pass the data cap, you’ll need to pay $10 per 50 GB of data Cox automatically adds to your account.

This price won’t change for 3 years once you start your plan. Because Cox has a price guarantee. You won’t see any sudden changes in your bill.

Usually Cox plans come with their Money-Back Guarantee. But StraightUp prepaid internet doesn’t have such a luxury.

How To Make a Cox Prepaid Payment

Make pay-as-you-go payments by logging into your Cox online account.

You can sign up for EasyPay to automatically make payments for you. Whether you use this feature, you should always double-check your bill to ensure Cox didn’t make any billing errors.

You can visit your nearest Cox Solutions store if you prefer face-to-face interactions or paying in cash. However, you can’t pay with checks.

Want to pay with text messages?

Opt-in for text message alerts by visiting Cox.com/myprofile/notifications.html and enabling text message alerts. You can receive monthly texts to approve prepaid payments to your account.

So long as you have a payment method attached to your Cox account. But what’s the point when you could just enable EasyPay?

I suppose it can help if you want to text them and tell them you don’t approve a payment. This feature makes it so you can pause your prepaid service.

Anyway:

You can also contact Cox’s customer service to pay your bill. I’ll cover all the methods to reach Cox’s customer service in a bit.

I don’t want to repeat myself.

What is StraightUp Internet Hotspot Pass?

Cox’s StraightUp internet Hotspot Pass enables non-Cox customers access to their millions of Wi-Fi hotspots.

You won’t need a dedicated mobile Wi-Fi hotspot to access these access points.

Cox allows you to use the hotspot pass on 1 device, though. For instance, if you register for the pass on your smartphone, you can’t use CoxWiFi on your laptop as well.

The rates for the StraightUp Hotspot Pass are as follows:

DurationPrice Per Device
2 Hours$4.00
24 Hours$8.00
1 Week$20

Cox StraightUp Internet Hotspot Pass pricing.

Where are the Wi-Fi hotspots? Here’s a Cox Wi-Fi hotspot map. You can make your life easier by typing in the address or ZIP code of where you’d want to use a hotspot.

Cox Business powers it. Residential Cox service customer service can’t help you with issues related to this product [3].

For help with issues related to Cox’s Hotspot Pass, you’ll need to text 36009 or use their online chatroom. I recommend using the latter option. I’ve only waited a couple of minutes for someone to appear in the chatroom.

To get a StraightUp Internet Hotspot Pass, open your Wi-Fi selection menu in your device’s network settings. Look for and select an access point named ‘CoxWiFi.’

When redirected to a login screen, select the text ‘Not a Cox Customer.’ From there, you can choose your desired hotspot pass.

Follow the rest of the prompts. Enter your email and billing information, then review their terms of service.

Cox Prepaid Internet Eligibility Requirements

You’ll also need to reside in one of the following Cox-supported states:

ArkansasArizonaCaliforniaConnecticut
FloridaGeorgiaIowaIdaho
KansasLouisianaMassachusettsMissouri
North CarolinaNebraskaNevadaOhio
OklahomaRhode IslandVirginia

States you can get Cox StraightUp prepaid internet.

They support 646 areas throughout the United States, which I can’t list here. Unless you want to waste hours on this review.

To find out whether Cox offers support in your city, visit Cox.com/local/residential and select your state. From there, you’ll see a list of cities they support.

How To Get Started With Cox Prepaid

Order your Cox StraightUp home prepaid internet online by first confirming whether you can get Cox in your area. From there, order your Easy Connect Kit and wait a day.

You can also pick up Cox StraightUp prepaid internet router modems from Boost Mobile or Cox retail stores [4].

Upon receiving your kit, find an ideal spot for your network gateway

Some great areas for your home for optimal Wi-Fi coverage include having it on an elevated surface (at least 3 feet above the ground. And not surrounded by metal shelving.

Connect your gateway to the power outlet and the wall’s coaxial port.

Wait 10 minutes for your gateway to power on and connect to the internet. From there, customize your Wi-Fi network and start doing whatever online.

You can use a NEW third-party DOCSIS 3.0 or 3.1 with Cox StraightUp prepaid [5]. Though, you’ll need a Cox-approved modem. The Wi-Fi router you choose doesn’t matter, though.

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To activate a third-party modem with Cox, you’ll need to check the bottom of your device for a 12-digit number labeled ‘MAC.’ This makes it so internet service providers (ISPs) can identify your device.

Visit Cox.com/activate and follow the prompts that appear on your screen.

We’ve done the research for you on the best Cox-compatible modems around. You should start your research there.

If you decide to get your own devices. Will you get a discount when using your own router and modem with StraightUp prepaid internet?

A Cox customer service representative said, “No.”

What’s the point of using third-party network hardware, then?

Depending on the technology, you could have more control over your internet. Some routers will give you the Smart Connect and Guest Wi-Fi management features.

You also don’t have to worry about the woes that come with renting ISP equipment. Such as fees for damage or unreturned equipment.

Cox Prepaid Internet Customer Service

You can reach Cox’s prepaid internet customer service by these methods:

  • Online chatbot: you’ll need to type “talk to an agent”
  • * Sales Department (800-234-3993): handles inquiries for new and existing Cox internet customers
  • Accessibility support (888-266-1304): for customers with disabilities
  • Retention, billing, account services, and technical support (877-206-4210)
    • Retention is available Monday–Friday, 8 am–9 pm and Saturday, 9 am–6 pm
    • Technical support is available anytime
    • Account and billing services are available Monday–Friday, 8 am–6 pm

* Only available Monday–Friday 8:00 am–9:00 pm; Saturday 9:00 am–6:00 pm; closed on Sunday.

You can text 36009 to get help with issues related to the StraightUp Prepaid Hotspot Pass.

Based on my experience, Cox has a more competent customer service staff compared to other internet service providers. They answered my questions quickly without beating around the bush.

Let’s dive into whether you should choose prepaid over its counterparts.

Cox StraightUp Prepaid vs. Other Cox Internet Plans

Here’s how Cox’s prepaid internet compares to its counterparts:

TierInternet SpeedPrice (Year 1)Best For…
StraightUp Prepaid100/5.0 Mbps$50/mo.Those with bad credit
Essential 100100/5.0 Mbps$49.99/mo.Households (<3 people)
Preferred 250250/10 Mbps$59.99/mo.Households (5+ devices)
Ultimate 500500/10 Mbps$79.99/mo.Households (10+ devices)
Gigablast1,000/35 Mbps$79.99/mo.Most remote workers
ConnectAssist100/3.0 Mbps$30/mo.Households (<3 people)
Connect2Compete100/3.0 Mbps$9.95/mo.Households (<3 people)

Cox cable internet plans compared.

If you need a network gateway with Cox, you’ll save at least $13 a month by choosing StraightUp over their Essential internet plan.

The ‘Connect’ plans are only for low-income households. You’ll need to participate in at least one government benefits program (like Medicaid) to qualify for these plans.

Preferred, Ultimate, and Gigablast reside in a separate league. The gigabit plan works best for remote workers because of its higher upload and download speeds.

The other 2 internet plans can accommodate download-speed-heavy tasks on more devices. Like streaming 4K. StraightUp prepaid allows you to run at max. 4 devices simultaneously streaming 4K video.

The 500 Mbps speed Ultimate offers makes it so you can watch on 20 devices at once.

Again, StraightUp prepaid serves a purpose. Entry-level internet for those who don’t have the best credit history. You’ll need a credit history check if you want any other plan (other than the low-income ones).

And possibly pay a security deposit.

Cox StraightUp Prepaid Internet vs. Other Prepaid Internet Plans

Here’s how StraightUp compares to competing prepaid home internet plans:

PlanPriceMax. Internet SpeedData CapEquipment Rental
Cox StraightUp$50/mo.100/5.0 Mbps1.25 TB$0
Verizon Fios Prepaid$39.99–$79.99/mo.100/100 Mbps–940/800 Mbps0$99 (activation)$199 (upfront)
Xfinity Prepaid$45 per 30 days50/10 Mbps1.00 TB$35 (one-time)

Prepaid home internet plans compared.

The following sections will show the wins and losses for each prepaid internet provider. They’ll also cover overlapping areas. To help you determine whether you can get these plans in your area.

Cox Prepaid vs. Verizon Fios Prepaid

Here’s where Verizon Fios prepaid beats Cox:

  • 100% fiber optic internet connection
  • Symmetric speeds for most plans
  • More speed options
  • No data cap

StraightUp prepaid takes the crown in these areas:

  • No ridiculous fees
  • Includes a free network gateway
  • No fee for paying your bill through customer service

Cox StraightUp offers the best value for short-term prepaid internet usage. Meanwhile, Verizon Fios prepaid wins in every other category.

By short-term, I refer to the $99 upfront fee you have to pay with Verizon. If you want their gateway, you’ll have to pay $199 upfront. But after at least 10 months, start saving around $10 monthly with Verizon’s 100 Mbps plan.

You don’t pay any of these with Cox, which offers more flexibility and affordability.

Verizon’s prepaid internet plans have 100, 300, and 800 max upload speeds. That means you could run security cameras in your home. With Cox’s measly 5.0 Mbps upload speeds, you could run a couple cameras [6].

Then Verizon Fios uses fiber optic internet. It has less downtime than cable internet. 

Verizon Fios doesn’t offer availability in many states. However, areas where Cox and Verizon overlap in coverage include:

  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia
  • Massachusetts

Because these services offer coverage in the states doesn’t mean they’ll cover every city. Double-check with each provider to see whether they support your area.

Cox Prepaid vs. Xfinity Prepaid

You’ll want Xfinity Prepaid internet over Cox prepaid for these reasons:

  • More availability
  • Higher upload speed
  • Affordable unlimited data plans

StraightUp cable prepaid internet wins my heart over Xfinity in these areas:

  • Higher data cap
  • No installation fee
  • More payment options

Cox prepaid internet has 50 GB more with their data cap than Xfinity Prepaid. You also don’t have to pay an installation fee.

And with Cox, you have double the internet speed for only $5.00 more. Unless you want to run a couple of extra security cameras in your home, Xfinity’s Prepaid cable internet doesn’t fare well against Cox.

If Cox StraightUp isn’t available, you may have to choose Xfinity.

Xfinity Prepaid internet and Cox StraightUp offer their services in all the same states except:

  • Nevada (neither)
  • Nebraska (Cox only)
  • Kansas (Cox only)
  • Oklahoma (Cox only)

Each provider’s availability will vary. Refer to Cox’s ability in 1 of the above sections. And refer to this Xfinity availability map for their coverage.

FAQs: Cox Cable Prepaid Internet

Check out these commonly asked questions about Cox’s prepaid residential internet plan.

How Do I Activate Cox Prepaid Internet?

Activate your Cox prepaid internet by connecting your modem to coaxial and power ports. Power on your device and Cox will activate it. Activating a third-party router and modem with Cox will require different steps.

Wrapping Up

While Cox’s StraightUp prepaid internet can’t surpass Verizon Fios prepaid home internet, StraightUp offers an alternative to Xfinity’s prepaid services.

It’s easy to install, doesn’t cost too much, and comes with a free network gateway

However, Cox’s data cap and their pricey unlimited data add-on make it hard to say this plan offers “the best” value among internet plans.

You should review every available option before committing to a Cox internet plan. I’ve compiled all their plans into this guide to help you find the best value.




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