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Cox Gigablast Review: Is This High-Speed Internet Plan Worth the Cost?

The ability to hop on the company's fastest broadband tier seems compelling, but the most impressive thing about Cox Gigablast may be the name.

Megabit per second gauge with needle pointing to the higher part of the scale.
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Without context, "Gigablast" sounds like a threat from the villain in an action movie, or a term the military uses to measure the force of a bomb. In reality, it's much less explosive. It's gigabit internet, plain and simple. Specifically, gigabit internet from Cox Communications.

That's not to say gigabit internet isn't something to get excited about. Download speeds of around 1,000 megabits per second are among the fastest you'll find from most cable internet providers -- though an increasing number are ramping up to multigigabit speeds. Either way, these plans are all but guaranteed to deliver ample speed for the average or larger-than-average household. 

When it comes to broadband, gigabit speaks for itself. Gigablast implies something more -- like your internet is shot from a coaxial cannon to deliver an internet experience unlike any other. The truth is, there are faster speeds available -- like Google Fiber's 2 Gig plan, or Xfinity's Gigabit Pro, which now offers up to 3Gbps -- and cheaper standard gig plans from many of the best internet providers.

So the question stands: Is Cox Gigablast worth it? The answer depends on how much you want to spend each month on your internet connection, the internet speeds you need and the available internet providers in your area. Let's take a deeper look at the Cox Gigablast plan to help you decide if it's right for your home.

What is Cox Gigablast?

Cox Gigablast is the fastest internet plan Cox has to offer, with download speeds up to 940Mbps and upload speeds of up to 35Mbps over a cable or cable/fiber hybrid connection. Select Cox service areas -- about 6%, according to the FCC -- will have access to Cox's 100% fiber network, which promises equally speedy downloads and significantly faster uploads for the same price as the cable connection.

Gigablast plan details

Starting monthly price Regular monthly rate Max speeds Data cap Equipment fee Contract
$100 $120 1,000Mbps download, 35Mbps upload 1.25TB $13 (skippable) 1 year

Gigablast runs at the promotional price of $100 per month for the first year. After that, the price jumps to the standard rate of $120 per month where it will stay through at least the next year of service. If that sounds a bit high, even for gig service, that's because it is. Many providers, including AT&T, CenturyLink, Optimum, SpectrumVerizon Fios and Xfinity, charge less ($60-$90 per month) for gig service. 

So, if I'm shopping for a cheap internet plan, Cox Gigablast would not be my first choice.

Still, it's the best Cox value

In spite of the steep price, Cox Gigablast delivers the best bang for your buck compared to other Cox internet plans. 

Like with most internet providers, higher-tiered Cox plans have a lower cost per Mbps, which is a good indicator of a plan's overall value. Gigablast comes with the lowest cost per Mbps of any Cox internet plan.

Cox cost per Mbps by plan

Plan Starting price Max download speeds Estimated cost per Mbps
Gigablast $100 1,000Mbps 10 cents
Ultimate 500 $80 500Mbps 16 cents
Preferred 250 $60 250Mbps 24 cents
Essential 50 $40 50Mbps 80 cents
Starter 25 $30 25Mbps $1.20

But the value stops there

You'll get more speed for the money with Gigablast, but that's it. Cox's gig service comes with no extra incentives, such as free equipment rental, unlimited data or even a special signup bonus like a rewards card. 

All Cox plans come with a monthly data cap of 1.25TB, a one-year term agreement and a $13 equipment rental fee, though you can skip the fee by using your own equipment. Opting for the fastest and most expensive Cox plan, Gigablast, will remedy none of those conditions. You'll still have the data cap (which may prove easier to meet and exceed with gig speeds, resulting in added fees of up to $100 per month), the year contract and the equipment fee, should you choose to rent. 

While a little something extra with gig service shouldn't necessarily be expected, it's not out of the ordinary. In fact, a number of other providers reserve their best incentives for their respective gig plans. Frontier, Verizon Fios and Xfinity, for example, reward gig customers with their highest rewards card offers. Additionally, Verizon Fios includes free equipment rental with gig service (a $15 per month value), as does CenturyLink.

So is Gigablast worth the cost?

My verdict is: not really. Gigablast is the best bargain when it comes to Cox internet plans, but it's not the best we've seen in comparison to other gig providers.

If you're interested in gigabit speeds, shop around before committing to Gigablast, even if the name is fun to say. AT&T, CenturyLink and Verizon Fios, among others, offer gig service in many of the same areas serviceable for Cox, and are likely to come with faster upload speeds and better incentives, not to mention the lower pricing. 

For some, Cox may be the only high-speed provider in the area. In that case, I'd recommend the Ultimate 500 plan over Gigablast. Speeds of 500Mbps will support streaming, gaming and more on multiple devices at once, and the plan will save you $20 per month compared to Gigablast pricing. That means that over the course of a year -- the minimum term you'd need to sign in order to receive the lowest rates -- the 500Mbps plan would save you a total of $240 compared to the Gigablast plan.

Cox Gigablast FAQs

Where is Cox Gigablast available?

Cox Gigablast is available throughout all Cox markets, including Las Vegas, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Phoenix and the majority of Rhode Island. Most locations will have access to Cox's cable or cable/fiber hybrid network, which caps upload speeds at 35Mbps, but a select few areas may be eligible for 100% fiber service and symmetrical download/upload speeds. 

What equipment is needed for Cox Gigablast?

Those served by Cox's cable network will need a DOCSIS 3.1 modem for the best experience. You'll also need a router capable of supporting gigabit speeds, which most Wi-Fi 5 and all Wi-Fi 6 routers are equipped to do. If you'd rather rent, Cox will supply the needed equipment for Gigablast service for an added $13 per month. 

Why aren't my Gigablast speeds faster?

There are a number of factors that can affect actual speeds. First and foremost, using a Wi-Fi connection will almost always result in slower speeds as you move further from the router and connect multiple devices. A cable connection is also more vulnerable than fiber to speed fluctuations, especially during peak usage times, so if your Gigablast service comes in via coaxial cables, that could affect speed and performance. For ways to improve your Cox Gigablast Wi-Fi speeds, look to CNET's guide to boosting your home Wi-Fi.