Cox Ultimate Internet provides 500 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload speeds for $79.99 a month. Upon completing your contract, you’ll pay $99.99 monthly. This plan can support way over 9 devices running high-bandwidth tasks simultaneously.
I’ve seen a lot of internet plans. To see how Ultimate compares, I gathered information from various sources.
Areas I’ll cover in this guide include:
- Where it succeeds and fails
- What Ultimate is
- Use cases
- What you can do with 500 Mbps speeds
- Areas it’s available
- Does it require a contract?
- How to get started
- Potential deals
- Versus other Cox plans
- How it does against the competition
Cox Ultimate Internet Pros and Cons
Here are some arguments for and against Cox Ultimate home internet:
- The Elite Gamer feature on the gateway can reduce lag
- It’s worth renting their modem router
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Free security suite
- Horrendous upload speeds
- 1.25 terabyte (TB) data allowance
- Not available in many areas
Will you get 500 Mbps speeds? It depends on various factors. For instance, a baby monitor could affect your Wi-Fi speed by interfering with the wireless signal .
And the pricing I mention may not reflect what appears on your bill. You could find other fees (e.g., equipment rental) and taxes.
What Is Cox Ultimate Home Internet?
Ultimate is a hybrid cable/fiber Cox internet plan that provides 500 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps downstream. It’s $79.99 monthly for the first year. Once that time’s up, you’ll pay $99.99 a month.
It requires a 1-year term agreement.
Cox Ultimate Internet Data Cap
Cox Ultimate Internet has a 1.25 terabyte (TB) data allowance. Cox will automatically add 50 gigabytes (GB) blocks to your account after passing that data cap.
What can you do with this data cap?
If your home only streams 4K video, you can get a little over 210 hours of entertainment before exceeding your data cap.
They’ll charge you $10 per block they add. And you’ll pay a maximum of $100 per month—that’s 500 GB max they’ll charge you for.
You can’t transfer the data blocks Cox adds to your next billing cycle.
For example, if you have 49.99 GB left at the end of September, it won’t transfer to October.
Cox offers an Unlimited Data add-on for Preferred. But it’s $50 a month.
Cox Ultimate Features
Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll get with Cox Ultimate Internet:
- Panoramic WiFi gateway: a rentable modem/router that’s $13 monthly
- Cox Security Suite: you can backup your contacts and scan and remove malware
- Millions of Wi-Fi hotspots: including those in the CableWiFi coalition
The CableWiFi alliance involves Wi-Fi access points from XFINITY, Optimum, and Spectrum. So you’ll have access to significantly more Wi-Fi hotspots than going for one of these individual providers.
Panoramic WiFi gateway includes several valuable features. It’ll automatically choose the best wireless frequencies to connect to. This optimizes your Wi-Fi speed by connecting you to the least crowded channel (e.g., 5.0 GHz).
You’ll see “advanced security” on their product page. It’s excellent for those who aren’t tech-savvy. But otherwise, most browsers will protect you from visiting suspicious pages.
The best part of their gateway is that you can upgrade for free every 3 years. This perk makes it a bit harder to justify buying a third-party router. Unless you buy a router and modem that’ll future-proof your home.
I don’t find much value in the security suite. You can get free versions of the suite’s features through free antivirus software or mobile apps.
Who Is Cox Ultimate Internet Best For?
Cox Ultimate is best for homes with at least 9 devices simultaneously running high-bandwidth tasks. Some examples of who benefits from these speeds include:
- Remote workers: who don’t constantly upload files
- 4K TV owners: stream 4K on up to 20 devices
- Online gamers: works for cloud, competitive, and casual gaming
This plan won’t work if your home runs many security cameras. Because each camera requires at least 4.0 Mbps . I’m using Nest cameras recording in 1080p as an example. 2 of them will chew through almost all of your upstream bandwidth.
A quick comment about download speeds:
The “9 devices” claim comes from Cox.
Depending on your online activities, you can likely run way more devices at once. Refer to the ‘4K TV owners’ point in the list above.
What Can You Do With 500 Mbps Internet Speeds?
Here’s an extreme example of what you can do with 500 Mbps download speeds:
|Online Activity||Speed Req. (Download)||Speed Req. (Upload)|
|9 Devices Streaming Netflix In 4k||225 Mbps||NA|
|1 PC Livestreaming On YouTube (720p 60 fps)||4.0 Mbps||4.1 Mbps|
|5 PCs Casually Gaming||15 Mbps||2.5 Mbps|
|1 Ring Doorbell||2.0 Mbps||2.0 Mbps|
|10 Smartphones Watching Youtube In 1080p||50 Mbps||NA|
|1 Tablet Streaming Amazon Luna||10 Mbps||NA|
|1 Xbox One Gaming Online||3.0 Mbps||.05 Mbps|
Examples of use cases with 500 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload speeds.
We see 9.1 Mbps (upstream) and 299 (downstream) used. You have an extra 250 Mbps that could allow 10 instances of 4K video streaming.
There are a couple of bottlenecks to consider.
The data cap and whether your internet has optimal conditions. The latter requires you to place your router in an optimal location and have no interference with your router’s wireless signal.
The data cap that I’ll talk about in a bit only allows households to watch a little over 200 hours of 4K content. Then Cox will tack data overage charges to your account.
With the number of devices in this list, you could have a house party where everyone just stares at devices.
I could have gone crazier with this scenario, but the sluggish upload speeds got in my way.
How Much Does Cox Ultimate Internet Cost?
Cox Ultimate Internet costs $79.99 a month during your contract (12 months). Once it passes, you’ll pay $99.99 monthly.
These costs don’t include taxes. And Cox doesn’t offer a discount if you use their EasyPay (automatic payments).
You’ll need to pay a $25 activation fee if you use Cox’s modem router, which costs $13 monthly. As mentioned, the gateway offers decent value. But if you don’t mind spending an hour or two on research, you can buy your own router and modem.
They’ll pay themselves off in at least a year or 2. We can save you time on research. We researched the best routers for Cox. It doesn’t actually matter what router you use, but having a good one will help optimize your network speeds.
You will need specific modems for Cox, though. We compiled the best ones around to save you time.
Cox will probably run a credit check when you sign up. So if you don’t have a polished credit score, you may have to pay a security deposit.
Where Is Cox Ultimate Internet Available?
You can get Cox Ultimate in the following 19 states:
States that support Cox home internet.
They only support several cities in each state. For both of our sakes, I won’t list these.
Otherwise, you’d find yourself trapped in this review for hours.
Type Cox.com/local/residential into your browser’s address bar and choose your state. You can then pick your city and see the bundles you can select.
Cox Ultimate Internet Contract
Cox Ultimate requires a 1-year term agreement.
If you cancel early, you’ll have to pay an Early Termination Fee (ETF) that goes up to $120.
The longer you remain subscribed to Cox, the lower your ETF. This fee lowers by $10 a month if you keep their service. So if you cancel 3 months into your plan, you’ll pay $90.
You can waive the cancellation fee if you fall under one of these circumstances:
- You move outside a Cox-supported area
- Transfer your Cox services to a new address
- Military personnel who transfer outside an area that Cox supports
- Upgrade your Cox services
Canceling your Cox plan within 30 days of getting your internet (for any reason) will also waive the ETF .
Cox Ultimate Internet Setup Guide
Order your Cox self-installation kit after ordering your service online. Or grab your self-installation from a Cox store if they have it in stock.
When you receive your getting started kit, check to ensure it has an Ethernet cable, coaxial cable, power cord, and the Cox gateway.
Find somewhere in your home that would provide an optimal Wi-Fi connection. And ensure it’s beside a plug outlet. Connect the AC adapter to your Wi-Fi gateway and plug it into the wall.
Wait 10 minutes for it to power on and grab a cup of tea (or coffee).
Follow the same steps if you’re using a third-party modem (or gateway). But you’ll need to find your device’s Media Access Control (MAC) number and serial number.
The MAC is a 12-digit string of numbers found at the bottom of your device.
Once all the modem’s LEDs glow, visit Cox.com/activate. Follow the prompts. Eventually, you’ll need to enter your MAC address number.
You should have an active modem or gateway. If you use a third-party modem, you’ll want to connect it to your router. From there, connect to your Wi-Fi (or Ethernet) and start using Ultimate Internet.
You’ll need to return your Panoramic WiFi modem within 10 calendar days. To avoid unreturned equipment fees.
You can return your Cox gateway by returning it to your nearest UPS or Cox retail stores.
There’s no fee to return your device. And you won’t need to pack your equipment or produce a shipping label.
Cox Ultimate Cable Internet Discounts
Cox Ultimate Internet doesn’t have any discounts. However, you can get a free Peacock Premium subscription until January 15th, 2023.
This saves you $4.99 a month and gives you access to over 60,000 hours of content (like The Office).
Cox Ultimate Internet Bundles
Cox doesn’t offer discounts when bundling Ultimate Internet with other services. But it does simplify billing a bit.
Here are some bundles you can get:
|Ultimate + Homelife||0||$107.99/mo.||Home security|
|Ultimate + TV + Homelife||140+||$205.99/mo.||Home security|
|Ultimate + TV + Voice||140+||$197.99/mo.||Backup home phone|
|Ultimate + Streaming only||0||$84.99/mo.||Families (5+ people)|
|Ultimate + TV||140+||$177.99/mo.||Accessing channels|
|Ultimate + Tech Support + Panoramic WiFi + Unlimited Data||0||$139.99/mo.||Non-tech-savvy folks|
|Ultimate + Panoramic WiFi + Tech Support||0||$102.99/mo.||Non-tech-savvy folks|
Cox Communication Ultimate Internet bundles.
Here’s an explanation of some of the services you see:
- Homelife: a home security and automation service
- Technical support: 24/7 technical support, cheaper technician visits, and more
- Unlimited data: bypasses the 1.25 TB data allowance cap
- Streaming only: Cox Contour Streaming Player TV streaming box
Streaming only and Internet Ultimate will save more than paying for TV. You won’t have channels, but you can get free channels with apps like Pluto TV.
The premium technical support can provide malware removal, $75 off of in-home tech. visits, and software configuration assistance. This bundle is best for anyone who’s not that technically savvy.
Ultimate vs. Other Cox Cable Internet Plans
Here’s how Cox’s 500/10 Mbps internet plan compares to its counterparts:
|Tier||Download Speed||Upload Speed||Price (Year 1)||Price (Year 2)|
|Essential 100||100 Mbps||5.0 Mbps||$49.99/mo.||No contract|
|Preferred 250||250 Mbps||10 Mbps||$59.99/mo.||$83.99/mo.|
|Ultimate 500||500 Mbps||10 Mbps||$79.99/mo.||$99.99/mo.|
|Gigablast||1.0 Gbps||35 Mbps||* $79.99/mo.||$119.99/mo.|
|StraightUp Prepaid||100 Mbps||5.0 Mbps||$50/mo.||NA|
List of Cox home internet plans.
* Promotional price.
If you don’t want a contract, you’ll want to go with Internet Essentials or StraightUp prepaid. The latter plan doesn’t require a credit check, so it would be in your best interest if you don’t have a stellar credit score.
Both plans have pretty low download speeds, though. These speeds suit most households. But if your home streams a lot of 4K videos, uses cloud gaming, or frequently downloads large files, you’ll want a higher-tier plan.
Choosing between Gigablast and Ultimate depends on how crazy you want to get with your internet. Gigablast gives you 3x more upload speeds to accommodate devices like security cameras.
They also give you more upload speed to work with when uploading files. So it’ll work better for remote professionals.
Preferred Internet is a good balance between the light and dark sides of the internet.
You can think of it like a Gray Jedi.
It gives you more download speeds than most households with 5 or fewer people need (the light side).
The dark side of the force gives you upload speed that’ll make you want to rip your hair out when uploading a video file for a client.
Cox Ultimate Internet vs. The Competition
Here’s how Cox Ultimate does when pitted against other 500 Mbps internet plans:
|Cox Ultimate||$79.99/mo.||500/10 Mbps||4K streaming & cloud gaming|
|AT&T Fiber 500 Mbps||$65/mo.||500/500 Mbps||Reliability & home servers|
|Spectrum Internet Ultra||$69.99/mo.||500/20 Mbps||Wi-Fi management|
|Verizon Fios 500||$69.99/mo.||500/500 Mbps||Small home businesses|
500 Mbps residential internet plans compared.
AT&T Fiber and Verizon Fios butt heads over providing equal download and upload speeds. While most won’t need such 500 Mbps upload speeds, some use cases will demand it.
If you’re a video editor who uploads massive video files to sites like YouTube frequently, you don’t want to bog yourself down with 10 Mbps speeds.
Here’s an example. An hour-long 4K video requires up to 22 GB of space.
10 Mbps upload speeds will result in this upload taking over 5 hours. 500 Mbps would take you 6 minutes.
Both of these fiber-only internet plans have limited availability.
Spectrum has decent availability, doesn’t have a data cap, and has no equipment fees. I dug deep and couldn’t figure out how much of a price increase you’ll see after 12 months.
That raises a red flag.
Spectrum’s vagueness doesn’t stop you from using it for 12 months, canceling, and creating a new account at the same address.
If you can’t access Verizon Fios or AT&T, you’ll want to consider Spectrum.
Cox offers excellent value with their rentable gateway. It works great for gamers because of the latency-reducing Elite Gamer feature.
FAQ: Cox Ultimate Internet
Here are some frequently asked questions about Cox’s Ultimate 500/10 Mbps internet plan.
How Do I Find Out Whether There’s a Cox Internet Outage?
Log in to your Cox account by typing Cox.com/coxapp/myservices into your address bar. Your account dashboard and notifications will tell you whether there’s an internet outage in your area.
Ultimate Internet gives your home more download speed than most families will need. It can accommodate cloud gaming, 4K streaming, and other high-bandwidth tasks.
While under the limitations of Cox’s unreasonable data cap.
If you want more or less internet speed on a Cox plan, check out other home internet plans.