Unless you live in a rural area, you should have plenty of high speed internet service providers (ISP) to choose from. Technology has developed to the point that it’s possible to get access to internet speeds that allows the whole family to stream video, play online games, send emails, and share music and photos on multiple devices all at the same time. The first thing anyone should do before choosing an ISP is to determine which companies service your area. Once you narrow that down, you can focus on the plans each ISP offers, so you can choose the package that’s right for you.
Cox Communications and Comcast Xfinity are two of the major ISPs in this nation. Both of them also provide digital TV and home phone service, but for now we will just focus on their internet service and see how they compare. For the first tier of service, it looks like Comcast offers a better value. Cox’s Essential Internet offers up to 3Mbps for $19.99 (this is a promotional price—originally it was $38.99) while Comcast Xfinity Performance will give you up to 20Mbps for $29.99 per month. Even at Cox’s promotional price, it’s proportionally more expensive—it is only 1/7th the speed at 2/3rd of the cost. This can make the difference if you love to share photos and music, and like to stream videos on your pc or laptop.
When we look at the 2nd tier of service, it is much harder to determine which one gives you more for your money. Comcast’s Blast Plus plan offers speeds of up to 30Mbps, which also include Xfinity Streampix for $49.99. Meanwhile, Cox’s Preferred plan offers speeds of up to 22 Mbps for $34.99/month for the first 3 months (it’s normally $53.99). One way to look at it is that Cox’s Preferred plan is about the same speed as Comcast’s basic service, but 5 bucks more expensive. But if we compare the 2nd tier for both providers head to head, it boils down to how much broadband you really need. If you are an avid online gamer, it would have to be Comcast because of the speed. The issue for most is that while faster is nicer, would you really use the programming offered by Xfinity Streampix when you’re already happy with watching shows and movies on your TV? At this tier, Comcast is $15 more expensive, and if you need enough speed without breaking the budget, Cox may be the right choice. However, Comcast does seem to be providing a better deal because of the faster speed and the great extra of streaming your favourite shows and movies on demand on your pc, laptop, smartphone, or tablet. But once the promotional price ends, it’s clear that Comcast is actually less expensive while offering more speed and value.
Once again, Comcast provides faster service at the 3rd tier. But this is where you really have to ask yourself what you really need. Their Extreme 50 gives you up to 50 Mbps for $114.95 per month. Cox’s Premier plan will give you up to 31 Mbps for 44.99 per month, which will revert to $64.99 after the 3 month promotion. As great as 50 Mbps is, that’s more than double the price for a plan that’s barely more than 1 ½ times as fast. Even at the regular price, that’s $50 more for another 20 Mbps you may or may not use. But if you compare Cox’s Premier to Comcast’s Preferred Plan (their 2nd tier), which offers almost identical speeds, Comcast is only $5 more and it includes Xfinity Streampix. Also, once the 3 month promotion ends, Cox will be $15 more expensive per month. So while Comcast is clearly more expensive when you compare the ISPs tier to tier, when you look at the price per speed level it looks like Comcast once again gives you more bang for your buck.
For the top service level, Comcast is offering twice the speed that Cox does with their Ultimate plan. Cox maxes out at up to 55 Mbps for $69.99/month for the first 3 months, while Comcast Extreme 105 is 105 Mbps for $199.95 per month. That’s almost triple the price for double the speed. After the 3 month promo, Cox’s plan will cost $99.99 per month—so in terms of value both of the top tier plans are pretty identical. However, when you compare the plans by speed, Cox is actually the winner in this one—even at their regular price, it’s still $15 cheaper per month than the Xfinity Extreme 50 plan, which is $114.95 per month.
As you can see from the price and speed comparisons, Comcast pretty much offers more value for your money until the 50 Mbps level. While Cox doesn’t offer anything faster than 55 Mbps, that speed is more than enough to run multiple devices in the house all at the same time, and is plenty fast enough to use for businesses. At that speed level, Cox really does offer superior value.
The most difficult part of choosing the right plan is determining the value you get at the price you’re paying. Because different ISPs have their own definitions about what constitutes basic or premier service levels, it may be more prudent to compare plans not by the declared service tier level, but by the speed they offer. Some ISPs can hide less value by claiming that their high speed internet is the cheapest, but when you get the specifics of how they define “high speed”, it may be that their plans are actually more expensive. Just you make sure to compare internet plans based on what they offer for the price they’re asking—that way, you’ll have no problems picking an internet plan that’s right for you.