Cox takes steps to 'level the digital playing field'

Special to Gannett

PENSACOLA — Cox Communications has announced that the increased internet download speed introduced at the onset of COVID-19 for its low-cost internet package Connect2Compete is now permanent.

The speed was temporarily increased from 25 to 50 Mbps in March 2020 to support families in greatest need.

Cox Communications recently announced it would make it's temporary Connect2Compete speed increase permanent.

“We initially provided an internet speed boost to our Connect2Compete customers to ensure families could continue learning and working from home without interruption,” said Pat Esser, president and chief executive officer of Cox Communications. “Although many restrictions are being lifted and people are heading back to schools and workplaces, we want to make sure regardless of circumstance, our customers can have the internet bandwidth they need to be successful.”

Connect2Compete is Cox’s low-cost internet solution for families with school-aged children who are enrolled in government financial assistance programs. Connect2Compete is designed to create digital equity for students and families that may have previously lacked internet access in their homes. 

In addition to permanently increasing internet speed for its Connect2Compete customers, Cox is working to ensure eligible households can receive discounted service through the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program.

The FCC program, which is open to eligible Americans for only a limited time, is available to provide temporary financial assistance for internet service. Eligible families may qualify to receive up to $50 off their monthly bill based on their current internet service and equipment rental, or up to $75 if they live in a tribal area, for as long as government funds remain available.

“We didn’t hesitate to raise our hand and participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit program,” said Esser. “In fact, we have already reached out to thousands of customers that we believe qualify for this discount to bring awareness of the program so as many customers as possible can take advantage of the subsidy.”

Through the EBB program and Cox’s partnership with PCs for People, households are also eligible to receive a one-time discount of up to $100 toward a laptop or desktop computer.

Cox has a long-standing commitment to narrowing the digital divide.

Last year, Cox announced at $60 million commitment to closing the digital learning gap and has continued to implement solutions to connect more families during the pandemic including suspending late fees and extending payment relief offerings for Connect2Compete customers who express an inability to pay due to pandemic hardships. Cox has also offered immediate access to more than 3 million Cox Hotspots nationwide through June 30.

Families can qualify for Connect2Compete by visiting cox.com/c2c.