Cox Communications (also known as Cox Cable and formerly Cox Broadcasting Corporation, Dimension Cable Services and Times-Mirror Cable) is an American privately owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises providing digital cable television, telecommunications and Home Automation services in the United States. It is the third-largest cable television provider in the United States, serving more than 6.2 million customers, including 2.9 million digital cable subscribers, 3.5 million Internet subscribers, and almost 3.2 million digital telephone subscribers, making it the seventh-largest telephone carrier in the country. Cox is headquartered at 6205 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd in Sandy Springs, Georgia, U.S., in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
Cox Enterprises expanded into the cable television industry in 1962 by purchasing a number of cable systems in Lewistown, Lock Haven and Tyrone (all in Pennsylvania), followed by systems in California, Oregon and Washington. The subsidiary company, Cox Broadcasting Corporation (later renamed to Cox Communications), was not officially formed until 1964, when it was established as a public company traded on the New York Stock Exchange. It was taken private by Cox Enterprises in 1985.
In 1993, Cox began offering telecommunication services to businesses it was the first multiple system cable operator to do so. This eventually grew into Cox Business, which now represents $1 billion in annual revenue. In 1995, Cox acquired the Times Mirror cable properties.
In 1997, Cox became the first multiple system cable operator to offer phone services to customers following the 1996 Telecom Act. Two years later in 1999, Cox acquired the cable television assets of Media General in Fairfax County and Fredericksburg, Virginia. The following year, Cox Communications acquired Multimedia Cablevision with assets in Kansas, Oklahoma and North Carolina.
In 2004, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors found Cox Communications guilty of violating an agreement with the county which stated that all homes served by Cox within Fairfax County would be digital ready with the new fiber optic network by June 2003. When this term expired with less than 30% of the county having been completed, the Board of Supervisors decided to fine Cox $100 per day from the originally agreed completion date, until work was completed on January 2006. The Board also forbade Cox from raising rates to recover the cost of the fine for a period of 10 years from the actual completion date. The total fine was approximately $93,000.
By November 1, 2005, Cox announced the sale of all of its Texas, Missouri, Mississippi and North Carolina properties, as well as some systems in Arkansas, California, Louisiana and Oklahoma to Cebridge Communications. The sale closed in 2006 and those systems were transitioned by their new owner from Cox branding to Suddenlink Communications.
In 2007, DiversityInc magazine named Cox Communications #25 in its Top 50 Companies for Diversity. Cox climbed to the sixth position on Diversity Inc.'s 2008 list. Also in 2008, Cox was named #8 on the Top 10 Companies for African Americans. Two years later, on November 19, 2010, Cox began offering wireless services in Orange County, California; Omaha, Nebraska; and, in Hampton Roads, Virginia.
In February 2011, Cox Communications completed its Alternative Energy Project which included two fuel cell installations at each of the company’s San Diego, CA and Rancho Santa Margarita, CA headquarters. Two separate PureCell System 400 kilowatt installations will generate enough onsite power to reduce the company’s dependence of the local power grid and decrease its carbon footprint.
In September 2011, Cox Home Security was added to their suite of products listed on their website. This new service uses advanced technologies similar to the home security products offered by other MSOs such as Comcast.
In August, 2013, Cox launched their Contour TV product and completed rollout early September, 2013. The product integrates HD DVR, TV, iPad, and extra room set-top boxes that utilize user profiles to suggest viewing recommendations.
In 2016 Cox Business reached 3 billion in annual revenue.
Cox Communications Virginia created the philanthropic Cox Charities to annually provide grants to nonprofits serving youth. The organizations must have education programs that focus on science and technology, literacy, mentoring and other areas. In the 2016-2017 program, 15 nonprofits received a total of $150,000. They were:
Other state branches of Cox Communications also donate money annually through a Community Investment Grant program. The money comes from employees and goes to 501(c)(3) organizations. The organizations will differ from state to state, and year to year, but usually also have a focus on education, technology, social issues, and the arts. These programs can be found in Oklahoma (nearly $165,000 in 2017), Arkansas (nearly $100,000 in 2017), Nebraska and Iowa (nearly $90,000 in 2017), and the Southeast region, including parts of Louisiana, Florida's Gulf Coast, Central Florida and Middle Georgia.
In 2004, Cox Enterprises announced its intention to purchase those shares of Cox Communications which it did not already own. A $6.6 billion tender offer was completed in December of that year, and Cox Communications has been a wholly owned subsidiary ever since. This was the second time Cox Communications was taken private by Cox Enterprises.
Cox distributes standard definition and high-definition cable television programming, including Digital Cable. Cox launched Digital Cable on its Orange County system in 1997. In February 2008, Cox started to implement switched digital video (SDV) technology in some of their markets. In late 2014, Cox started notifying customers in their Connecticut market that they would be moving to an All Digital Video platform, requiring a small digital adapter (termed a Cox Mini-Box) for televisions that were previously connected to an analog only signal. This same notification was extended to Oklahoma in 2016.
Cox offers video on demand service in the majority of its markets under the name On Demand. On Demand offerings are fairly standardized, portal-based, and carry VODnets like The Ski Channel, and includes HD offerings and replays of major network series.
As of 2013, Cox offers cable internet service to over 21.8 million people across 18 states, making it the 4th largest provider of cable internet service in the US (based on coverage area).
Cox offers five levels of high-speed Internet in all of its markets: Starter, Essential, Preferred, Premier, and Ultimate (Their speed tier with download speeds up to 300 Mbit/s.) Cox initially launched high-speed Internet in 1996 in its Orange County infrastructure. Cox licensed the PowerBoost technology from Comcast in 2007 and offers it on the Preferred, Premier, and Ultimate levels of service. Top service download speeds are between 15 and 300 Mbit/s. "Soft" monthly bandwidth caps are listed for all four levels of service, (2 TB/month download being the largest), yet Cox currently does now as of 2017 charge customers for going beyond these limits. In 2011, the FCC released the "Measuring Broadband America" report where it was revealed that many broadband providers provided lower than advertised internet speeds to their consumers. Analysis of the report data showed that Cox Cable only delivered 83.4% of its advertised internet speed (on speeds above 3Mbit/s) to its customers. Cox High Speed Internet won the PC Magazine Readers' Choice Award for High Speed Internet in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2011.
Cox blocks incoming traffic on port 80 for residential customers, making it difficult for them to run web servers.
In September 2011, Cox announced the availability of a data usage meter for customers to check their data usage. As of October 2012[update], Cox does charge customers who exceed their usage amount each month. It is unknown if this policy will change in the future.
In 2014, Cox announced they would begin offering 1 Gbit/s internet speeds under the name "G1GABLAST" in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Omaha, with plans to begin offering it in the rest of their service areas by the end of 2016. They also announced that they would double internet speeds for all customers at no cost at the same time. They began rolling out the new speeds in Phoenix in early October of the same year. Additionally, Cox has launched their G1GABLAST service to 1 apartment complex in Orange County, California.
Cox offers telephone service in the majority of its services areas. Various technologies, including circuit switched and hybrid VoIP systems, are used depending on service areas. Cox has won multiple J.D. Power and Associates awards for its telephone service.
In 2010 Cox started offering a range of Home Automation and Security service to customers in its Tucson, Arizona market as a trial. In 2011, this product was expanded to Cox's entire Arizona market, and was rolled out to additional markets over the next couple of years. In December 2014, Cox Launched "Cox Homelife" in Louisiana, that appears to be the same service as Cox Home Security under a different brand. *Cox Home Security was actually rebranded as Cox Homelife for every market that it is available.*
Cox Business provides voice, data and video services for more than 260,000 small and regional businesses, including health care providers, K-12 and higher education, financial institutions and federal, state and local government organizations. According to Vertical Systems Group, Cox Business is the fourth-largest provider of business Ethernet services in the U.S. based on customer ports and the company ranked highest among small and mid-size business data service providers in J.D. Power and Associates telecommunications studies in 2006, 2008 and 2010. In 2013, Cox Business had the third largest business-facing enterprise by revenue (of cable providers who provide business services), with $1.2 billion in revenue as of the third quarter of 2013.
Cox Business is an early adopter of Voice over IP technology and, in 2007, Cox became the first cable provider in North America to deploy a fully owned and managed IP telephony service for businesses, Cox Business VoiceManager. Cox Business is expected to launch Managed IP PBX, SIP Trunking and IP Centrex services in 2011, allowing customers to more efficiently route voice traffic over Internet Protocol.[needs update] Cox Business currently[when?] supports more than 800,000 business phone lines.
Cox previously offered mobile phone and wireless services in four United States markets including Orange County, California, Hampton Roads, Virginia, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Omaha, Nebraska. Cox marketed their wireless service as 'Unbelievably Fair' due to a wireless plan it offered which returned money for unused minutes which it called "Moneyback Minutes." This allowed customers to receive up to $20 per month added back to their bill in the event that the customer had leftover minutes. Cox Wireless offered a full range of devices manufactured by Motorola, Samsung, HTC, Kyocera, and LG.
On May 24, 2011, Cox Communications announced it would decommission its plans to build a 3G wireless network, and would instead offer Sprint service to half of its current footprint and operate as a Sprint MVNO by the end of 2011.
On November 15, 2011, Cox Communications announced it would halt sales of all its wireless branded products and existing Cox branded wireless operations would be decommissioned by March 30, 2012. Cox eventually also retracted its plans to offer wireless services reselling Sprint service as an MVNO.
On January 1, 2000, Cox was involved in a retransmission consent dispute with News Corporation (the parent company of the Fox broadcast network, now owned by 21st Century Fox), pulling four Fox owned-and-operated stations, after retransmission consent talks between News Corp. and Cox broke down, reportedly because Fox had denied permission for Cox to broadcast programming on its O&O stations unless Cox gave it two channel slots on its digital cable service. The affected stations were WJW-TV in Cleveland, Ohio (now owned by Tribune Broadcasting), KTBC in Austin, Texas, KRIV in Houston, Texas, and KDFW in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, off its cable systems in those areas; another Fox O&O WHBQ-TV in Memphis (itself now owned by Cox), was also pulled from its Jonesboro, Arkansas, system (of the mentioned systems; only the Cleveland metropolitan area continues to be served by Cox). The removal of those stations, which were temporarily replaced with premium service Starz! Family (which was made available to subscribers for free), blacked out Fox programming to 425,000 Cox customers. The blackout lasted six days as the two sides came to an agreement on January 6, and the Fox-owned stations were brought back to the systems. Cox gave $1 refunds of their January cable bill to roughly 90,000 subscribers in Texas and Arkansas as compensation.
In a separate dispute (clumped with the above dispute by media outlets as the "Cox vs Fox" dispute) that occurred around the same time, customers in Hampton Roads, Virginia lost access to LIN TV-owned Fox affiliate WVBT (channel 43) on January 1, 2000; retransmission talks between WVBT and Cox broke down, reportedly due to a demand by WVBT to be placed somewhere between channels 2 and 14 (it had been broadcast on channel 43). Cox refused to move WVBT to a lower channel number; the channel space was filled in the interim by pay channel HBO Family. It was not until February 5 of that year that the station resumed on Cox's Hampton Roads system (remaining on channel 43), after an agreement was reached during a ten-hour arbitration session. Cox did not offer rebates to its 335,000 subscribers in Fairfax County, Virginia, and Cleveland, Ohio, who also lost their Fox stations.
Cox was criticised for showing lack of care in protecting customer data following a late 2014 incident. A serial swatter who prolifically harassed women through calling armed police to their houses obtained the address and phone number of a Tempe customer through making calls imitating a service technician. Cox told the New York Times that ‘‘we regret that this incident occurred’’ and that would update its security methods.
On January 29, 2016, seventeen Nexstar Broadcasting stations were dropped by Cox after failing to reach a new retransmission deal. The contract had expired on December 31, 2015, but the two companies allowed talks to continue until January 22, 2016. The channels were replaced by a screen which accused Nexstar of "demanding a significant fee increase". In Las Vegas, where the dispute threatened to black out Super Bowl 50 due to local CBS station KLAS-TV being affected by the dispute, Cox announced on February 3, 2016, that it would offer a free preview of the game's Spanish-language broadcaster, ESPN Deportes, over Super Bowl weekend. The next day, Cox reached a new deal with Nexstar, and the stations were restored.
Cox was held responsible for the copyright infringements of its subscribers according to a December 17, 2015, ruling from a Virginia federal jury. The ISP was found guilty of willful contributory copyright infringement and ordered to pay music publisher BMG $25 million in damages. The verdict is likely to be appealed by the company.
One of Cox's marketing trademarks is a fictional animated "spokesman" character named "Digital Max", used from 2005 through 2008. The phasing out of Digital Max in 2008 was followed by the introduction of the current Cox mascots, the "Digeez", little digital helpmates featured in many of Cox Communications' brand commercials.
Cox (#7) with 3,170,000 residential phone lines