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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: $45.00–$60.00/mo.
Download speeds: 100–1,000 Mbps
Upload speeds: 1–880 Mbps

Best for cheap internet

Price: $29.99–$99.99/mo.
Download speeds: 25 Mbps–940 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

Affordable fiber internet plans
Excellent TV bundles
Inconsistent DSL availability

Cox

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

Compare AT&T and Cox head to head

Pricing Maximum download speed Maximum upload speed Details
$45.00–$60.00/mo.* 100 Mbps–940 Mbps 1 Mbps–880 Mbps View plans
$29.99–$99.99/mo.** 25 Mbps–940 Mbps 3 Mbps–35 Mbps View plans

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

On paper, Cox’s six cable internet plans give you more internet options. But more than half of them have download speeds of less than 150 Mbps, making them a tight fit if your family uses the internet for more than checking Facebook.

Depending on your address, AT&T’s internet plans might offer better value. 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.

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Plans and pricing

AT&T internet plans

Price* Download speeds up to Upload speeds up to Connection type Details
$45.00/mo. 10–100 Mbps 1–20 Mbps DSL View plans
$35.00/mo. 300 Mbps 300 Mbps Fiber View plans
$45.00/mo. 500 Mbps 500 Mbps Fiber View plans
$60.00/mo. 940 Mbps 880 Mbps Fiber View plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* For 12 mos.

AT&T’s great fiber internet plans helped the provider earn a spot on our best internet providers list. At $60 per month for the first year, AT&T Internet 1000 is one of the cheapest gigabit internet plans available, and AT&T Fiber’s other internet plans are similarly great deals.

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 just $35 per month for 300 Mbps maximum download and upload speeds, the affordable 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 ($45/mo.) 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. $45 per month for 75 Mbps to 100 Mbps would still be getting a better basic internet deal compared to Cox’s.

Cox internet plans

Price* Download speeds up to Upload speeds up to Details
$29.99/mo.* 25 Mbps 3 Mbps View plan
$39.99/mo.* 50 Mbps 3 Mbps View plan
$50.00/mo.** 25 Mbps 3 Mbps View plan
$59.99/mo.* 150 Mbps 10 Mbps View plan
$79.99/mo.* 500 Mbps 10 Mbps View plan
$99.99/mo.* 940 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 Starter 25, Internet Essential 50, and StraightUp Internet plans are decent options for affordable cable internet service. All three plans have download speeds of at least 25 Mbps for less than $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 150 Mbps, Internet Preferred 150 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 $99.99 940 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 150 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.

Cox vs. AT&T installation

Fee
Installation
Self-installation
Hardware rental
AT&T Cox
Up to $99.99 $100.00
Free Free
$10.00/mo. (required) $12.99/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 $12.99 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 landed in third place on our 2020 internet customer satisfaction survey rankings compared to Cox’s sixth-place finish. It was a close race between both providers, although Cox earned a dismal second-to-last place finish on monthly bill costs.

AT&T takes the overall win for the category, but Cox narrowly beat AT&T in categories including customer support and installation ease.

Cox vs. AT&T TV bundles

AT&T TV plans

Price Channel count
$69.99/mo. 65+ View plans
$84.99/mo. 90+ View plans
$94.99/mo. 130+ View plans
$139.99/mo. 140+ View plans

Cox plans

Price* Channel count
$50.00/mo. 75+ View plans
$90.00/mo. 140+ View plans
$110.00/mo. 170+ View plans
$130.00/mo. 250+ View plans

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

Simply put, AT&T TV’s bundles 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 $90.00 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 $130.00 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 AT&T TV’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 $10.00 less than AT&T’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, AT&T TV offers stronger basic cable lineups for less per month compared to Cox.

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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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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.

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?

Cox has cheaper plans compared to AT&T, but AT&T’s cheapest plans are generally faster than Cox’s equivalent internet plans.

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.