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Cox vs. AT&T Internet: Which Is the Best Internet Provider?

We break down everything from download speeds to service plans to see which provider has the best internet options.

Best for gigabit speeds

Price: $55.00–$180.00/mo.
Download speeds: 100–5,000 Mbps
Upload speeds: 1–880 Mbps

Best for cheap internet

Price: $49.99–$99.99/mo.
Download speeds: 100 Mbps–1,000 Mbps
Upload speeds: 3 Mbps–35 Mbps

Data effective as of post date. Not all offers available in all areas. 

Get AT&T Fiber if it’s available in your neighborhood—the internet service provider’s (ISP) fiber plans are among the most affordable on the market. But if you’re choosing between Cox or AT&T’s DSL plans, Cox’s internet network offers faster—but more expensive—service plans.

AT&T vs. Cox pros and cons

AT&T

Great fiber internet plans
Excellent TV bundles
Inconsistent DSL availability

View AT&T plans

Cox

Decent entry-level internet plans
An optional combo modem/Wi-Fi router rental
 Mediocre and expensive TV plans

View Cox plans

Compare AT&T and Cox head to head

Pricing Maximum download speed Maximum upload speed Details
AT&T $55.00–$180.00/mo. 100 Mbps–5,000 Mbps 1 Mbps–5,000 Mbps View plans
Cox $49.99–$99.99/mo.** 100 Mbps–1,000 Mbps 3 Mbps–35 Mbps View plans

Data effective as of post date. Not all offers available in all areas.
**For 12 mos. w/ 1-yr. term agreement.

Depending on your address, AT&T’s internet plans might offer better value than Cox’s. You’ll have the cream of the crop if your neighborhood has AT&T Fiber internet coverage, but if it doesn’t? Then you’ll have to deal with AT&T’s dated DSL network and internet plans that top out at a measly 100 Mbps.

We’d definitely recommend shelling out the extra money for Cox rather than settle for DSL.

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Plans and pricing

AT&T internet plans

Package Price Download speeds up to Upload speeds up to Connection type Details
AT&T Internet $55.00/mo. 1–50 Mbps 1–10 Mbps DSL View plans
AT&T Internet 75 & 100 $55.00/mo. 75–100 Mbps 20 Mbps DSL View plans
AT&T Internet 300
Best package
$55.00/mo. 300 Mbps 300 Mbps Fiber View plans
AT&T Internet 500 $65.00/mo. 500 Mbps 500 Mbps Fiber View plans
AT&T Internet 1000 $80.00/mo. 1,000 Mbps 1,000 Mbps Fiber View plans
AT&T Internet 2000 $110.00/mo. 2,000 Mbps 2,000 Mbps Fiber View plans
AT&T Internet 5000 $180.00/mo. 5,000 Mbps 5,000 Mbps Fiber View plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

AT&T’s great fiber internet plans helped the provider earn a spot on our best internet providers list. At $80 per month for the first year with up to 1,000 Mbps download speeds, AT&T Internet 1000 is one of AT&T’s top gigabit internet plans. We always recommend fiber-optic internet if it’s available because you’ll get best-in-class download and upload speeds that’ll easily support streaming 4K movies or online file uploads.

In cities with AT&T Fiber coverage, we’d recommend AT&T Internet 300. At $55 per month for 300 Mbps maximum download and upload speeds, the mid-range plan has enough bandwidth for most households.

But if your neighborhood doesn’t have fiber, you’ll be stuck with AT&T DSL. During the checkout process, you’ll have only one plan option with a download speed that depends on AT&T’s hit-or-miss DSL network. Even within the same city, it’s a crapshoot whether you’ll get a 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps plan. AT&T DSL’s plans also top out at 100 Mbps, making it a poor fit if your household has more than two to three internet users.

But if you’re stuck with AT&T DSL, we’d recommend AT&T only if your home gets at least a 75 Mbps plan and your household has light internet needs. At $55 per month for 75 Mbps to 100 Mbps, you would be getting a slightly better basic internet deal compared to Cox’s plans.

View AT&T plans

Cox internet plans

Package Price* Download speeds up to Upload speeds up to Details
StraightUp Internet $50.00/mo.** 50 Mbps 3 Mbps View plan
Internet Essential 100 $49.99/mo.* 100 Mbps 3 Mbps View plan
Internet Preferred 250
Best package
$59.99/mo.* 250 Mbps 10 Mbps View plan
Internet Ultimate 500 $79.99/mo.* 500 Mbps 10 Mbps View plan
Gigablast $99.99/mo.* 1,000 Mbps 35 Mbps View plan

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* For 12 mos. w/ 1-yr. service. agreement.
**Same price for 3 yrs.

Cox’s Internet Essential 100 and StraightUp Internet plans are decent options for affordable cable internet service. Both plans have download speeds of at least 50 Mbps for around $50 per month, and they’ll be a great fit if you just want to send out emails or watch YouTube videos.

Cox’s faster plans are more of a mixed bag. With download speeds of up to 250 Mbps, Internet Preferred 250 is going to be a decent starter plan for most households. For a mid-sized family of average internet users, we usually recommend an internet plan with download speeds between 100 to 300 Mbps.

But if you want to upgrade, Cox’s other options are only a $79.99 500 Mbps and $99.99 1,000 Mbps plan. Both plans will be more than fast enough for a large household of frequent internet users, but compared to AT&T Fiber, neither is a great deal.

Still, Cox’s cable internet network has more consistent availability than AT&T’s DSL and fiber internet networks. Whether you’re in Arizona or Louisiana, you’ll still get nearly all of Cox’s internet plans. But with AT&T, you might get AT&T Fiber or you might be stuck with a sub-100 Mbps DSL connection.

Ultimately, we’d recommend Internet Preferred 250 for most Cox customers. Although it’s not the fastest or most affordable mid-tier internet plan, it’ll still be fast enough for two- to four-person households that enjoy Netflix sessions or occasional video calls.

View Cox plans

Cox vs. AT&T installation

Fee AT&T Cox
Installation Up to $99.99 Varies by region
Self-installation Free Free
Hardware rental $10.00/mo. (required) $13.00/mo. (optional)

AT&T and Cox have hefty installation fees in the fine print, but it’s easy to avoid the charges. Depending on your house’s wiring setup, you can avoid AT&T’s installation fee by ordering service online. If you’re okay with installing your own modem and Wi-Fi router, Cox offers free installation kits.

Cox earns the win over AT&T thanks to its open hardware policy. Although Cox offers a combo Wi-Fi router/modem for $13.00 a month, you can also use your own modem and wireless router for free. We’re fans of this flexibility because you’ll save in the long-term by buying your own equipment and avoiding rental fees.

But on AT&T’s plans, you’ll have to pay a mandatory $10.00 monthly equipment fee for AT&T’s combo router/modem, and there’s no way to use your own equipment. AT&T’s leased equipment can be convenient if you’d prefer not to troubleshoot or buy your own hardware, but we suggest avoiding rental fees whenever possible.

Buying your own internet equipment?

Read our wireless router and combo cable modem/router guides for our top hardware picks.

Customer satisfaction

AT&T earned second place on our 2021 internet customer satisfaction survey rankings compared to Cox’s fifth-place finish. AT&T largely maintained its top-three standing throughout our survey, while Cox rotated in the middle tier with providers like Spectrum and CenturyLink.

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Cox vs. AT&T TV bundles

DIRECTV STREAM plans

Package Price Channel count
DIRECTV STREAM ENTERTAINMENT $69.99/mo. 65+ View plans
DIRECTV STREAM CHOICE $84.99/mo. 90+ View plans
DIRECTV STREAM ULTIMATE $94.99/mo. 130+ View plans
DIRECTV STREAM PREMIER $139.99/mo. 140+ View plans

Cox plans

Package Price* Channel count
Cox TV Starter $53.00/mo. 75+ View plans
Cox TV Preferred $98.00/mo. 140+ View plans
Cox TV Preferred Plus $110.00/mo. 170+ View plans
Contour TV Ultimate $138.00/mo. 250+ View plans

* For 12 mos. w/ 1-yr. service. agreement.

Simply put, AT&T’s TV options with DIRECTV STREAM and DIRECTV blow most of Cox’s TV plans out of the water.

To get any basic cable channels on Cox, you’ll have to spring for the provider’s $98.00 per month Cox TV Preferred package. On competing TV packages in the same price range, you’d typically be getting premium channels like SHOWTIME®.

Cox TV Preferred has a decent channel lineup, but the only ways to get popular networks like Disney XD and DIY Network on Cox is to upgrade to Contour TV Ultimate for $138.00 per month or pay for Cox’s à la carte channel packs ($10.00 to $12.00 per month). With Cox TV Preferred, you’re paying premium cable prices for a basic cable channel lineup.

Meanwhile, with DIRECTV STREAM’s ENTERTAINMENT ($69.99/mo.) and CHOICE ($84.99/mo.) packages, you’ll get channels like Nick Jr. and B1G Network for far less than Cox offers them. Cox’s lone advantage is Contour TV Ultimate, which includes every premium and basic cable channel for $1.99 less than DIRECTV STREAM’s PREMIER package.

Spring for Cox’s Contour TV Ultimate package if you want to load up on premium and basic cable channels. But for most households, DIRECTV STREAM offers stronger basic cable lineups for less per month compared to Cox.

Final take

If your neighborhood gets AT&T Fiber service, we’ve got an easy recommendation: get AT&T and don’t second-guess it.

But if you’re stuck between Cox and AT&T DSL internet, our recommendation comes with a few asterisks.

AT&T DSL offers some value if you’re in a neighborhood with at least a 75 Mbps plan and you don’t need the best internet service. But if your household has more than a few regular internet users, your best options will be either Cox’s faster internet packages or looking for other ISPs in your area.

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AT&T vs. Cox FAQ

Which is better: Cox or AT&T internet?

AT&T Fiber is better than Cox Communications’s internet plans if it’s available in your area. But if it isn’t, Cox’s cable internet plans offer faster download and upload speeds compared to AT&T DSL.

Is AT&T or Cox cheaper?

AT&T generally has cheaper internet plans than Cox, but it depends on the package and your location.

What internet is better than AT&T?

Cable internet from most providers will be better than AT&T’s DSL plans, but AT&T Fiber can compete with other fiber internet providers like Google and Verizon.

Is Cox internet any good?

Cox has great basic internet packages and fast internet speeds, although its prices can be higher compared to other ISPs.

Methodology

We analyzed data including our annual customer customer satisfaction survey and provider terms of service, rating Cox and AT&T on bang for your buck, reliability, and features. Then we matched up both companies head to head to give a clearer picture of their strengths and weaknesses. For more information on our methodology, check out our How We Rank page.

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