For internet-only customers, Cox is likely to be your cheapest option. However, as detailed in the comparison below, Cox also uses data limits to manage their network. 1 This can be troublesome for heavy streamers, home offices, and other “power users.”
AT&T is hard to compare since the top speed varies widely based on location. If you’re in their fiber internet service area (speeds up to 1,000 Mbps), it’s absolutely your best option.
However, most of their service are maxes out at 100 Mbps since it’s a DSL service based on older wires. Therefore, Cox is the most dependable recomendation that is most likely to deliver a good experience for basic use like streaming Netflix, video chat, and email.
Cox Cable vs AT&T Internet Basic Features
|Feature||Cox Communications||AT&T Internet|
|Starting price||$29.99/mo. sign-up price||$55/mo. sign-up price|
|Download speed range||10–940 Mbps||5–1,000 Mbps|
|Upload speed range||1–35 Mbps||1–1,000 Mbps|
|Network type||Cable||DSL, Fiber|
|Contract terms||Contract required for cheapest price||Contract-free|
Cox vs AT&T Data Usage Policies
Data cap policies are one of the main areas where AT&T and Cox differ. Cox has a 1.25 TB cap on most plans. This is a huge amount of data, which would essentially allow you to stream HD video 24/7 for the entire month without breaking your data allowance.
However, this can change if you have a busy household with lots of users, or work from home and move large files around on a regular basis. Therefore, even on DSL, AT&T can sometimes be the better choice. They dropped data caps during Covid-19 lockdowns in 2020–2021, but as of 2023 they are back on DSL and IPBB plans (everything but fiber).
Cox has data caps on some plans. 1.25 TB is a common cap on Cox internet plans. AT&T offers unlimited plans with no data caps.
Cox places data caps on some plans.
AT&T offers internet plans with unlimited data
Cox vs AT&T Pricing and Fees
See the table below for a review of common add-on for Cox and AT&T internet service.
These fees are incrimental to the base cost of your plan, so keep that in mind when comparing the final price of service.
|WiFi equipment fee||~$10.99/mo.||~$0/mo.|
|Price increases||Bill increases after promo period||Bill increases after promo period|
|Early Termination Fee||Fee to cancel contract||Fee to cancel contract|
Note that fee amounts described above may vary by plan. See the plan comparison tables for Cox and AT&T below for more information.
Some of these fees, such as router fees, can be removed if you use your own equipment. This not recomended for most users, however, since it means you have to install and manage your own WiFi, which some users may find challenging if they’re not comfortable with technology.
Using your own equipment means the provider is not responsible for maintaining it, and if there are network issues, they will likely blame the equipment you’re using before agreeing to send out a tech and fix it. This can be time consuming if you have your internet go down and need assistance quickly.
Cox vs AT&T Internet-Only Plan Comparison
The most common internet-only plan is Cox Internet Essential 100, which offers 100 Mbps for a starting price of $49.99/month.
See the table below for an overview of how this compares to the base plans from AT&T DSl and AT&T Fiber respectively:
Both providers have flat rate pricing, so you only need to consider fees and add-on services when purchasing service.
Cox vs AT&T Internet Plans Overview
AT&T Fiber internet plans are displayed seperately below so you can see how the speeds compare depending on your service area. You can check if you’re in an AT&T DSL or Fiber service area by entering your address at their site.
Overall, Fiber is almost always the best value for money in terms of speed. Cox is the better choice if you can live with lower speeds at a budget price. The cost for Cox’s entry-level internet plan is currently one of the lowest promotional prices on the market (just be sure to remember it will be more espensive after the first year, when the promotional price expires).
Cox Internet Plans
Cox internet plans are best for customers who need the absolute lowest price for basic internet service. They’re also a good fit if you want to bundle in basic cable. AT&T also has cable TV options, but they’re far more expensive if your primary angle is just getting local sports and a few premium channels like Starz.
|Plan Name||Download Speed||Final Price|
|Cox Internet Essential 100||100 Mbps||$49.99|
|Cox Internet Preferred 250||250 Mbps||$83.99|
|Cox Internet Ultimate 500||500 Mbps||$99.99|
AT&T DSL Internet Plans
AT&T DSL plans are a decent value, but cable from Cox is usually stronger internet for the price point.
|Plan Name||Download Speed||Promo Price||Final Price|
|Internet 25||25 Mbps||$55/mo||$65|
|Fiber Internet 300||300 Mbps||$55/mo||$55|
|Fiber Internet 500||500 Mbps||$65/mo||$65|
|Fiber Internet 1000||940 Mbps||$80/mo||$80|
AT&T Fiber Internet Plans
AT&T Fiber is the best choice if you can get them, althought the base price will be a bit more than the lowest offerings from Cox. The cost per Mbps of bandwidth is much greater though, meaning that your experience in a large home with multiple users or running upload-intensive applications will be much less likely to “lag” or “buffer.”
|Plan Name||Download Speed||Promo Price||Final Price|
Cox vs AT&T Net Neutrality Policies
Neither AT&T nor Cox has a strong stance on Net Neutrality. Both are large incumbent providers, who historically are anti-Net-Neutrality and prefer light-touch regulations which reduce their oversight from federal or state agencies.
This can sometimes be a good thing for consumer however, as with AT&T’s ability to remove data caps for customers who use their owned-and-operated TV services rather than buying TV from competitors.
Cox maintains a page describing their support for the principles of Net Neutrality. However in practice, the company often uses selective throttling in network management.
AT&T has a statement of support for Net Neutrality on their policy website, but has remained quiet on the topic of future paid prioritization for certain services.
Cox vs AT&T Customer Service Ratings
Cox gets overall better ratings on customer service. Reviews from customers often praise their customer service. Cox has local customer service, while AT&T, as a larger nationwide company, can have hit-or-miss service and support, which may be from offshore call centers depending on the level of support.
If your primary concern is the ability to call a local tech and get help with WiFi issues on an ongoing basis rather than troubleshooting yourself, Cox is by far the best option. They will charge one-off for services that are not caused by network issues.
However, they offer a monthly care package for an extremely low price (around $10/month currently) which is well worth considering for older subscribers who are less familiar with basic tech support.
Cox has an ACSI score of 62/100. AT&T, on the other hand, has an ACSI score of 68/100.
Cox vs AT&T: which is best in California?
Between AT&T Internet, AT&T Fiber, and Cox Cable internet, we reccomend them in this order:
- AT&T Fiber Internet (500–1,000 Mbps): Best speed and value
- Cox Cable (10–940 Mbps): Runner up, best budget plans
- AT&T DSL Internet (5–100 Mbps): Not reccomended
AT&T Fiber is cheaper for the speed, and more reliable. Fiber internet is always our top recomendation, when it's available, since the economics of delivering fiber service make the price equivalent to slower cable/DSL service once it's installed at your building.
That said, for practical purposes Cox is the most likely top choice because AT&T Fiber is only available in a few limited areas for the moment, mostly in wealthier neighborhoods. The only real issue with Cox is their data caps. As mentioned above, these caps don't matter for the majority of customers