Cox Communications’s claim that its internet service is “powered by fiber” is overly broad and needs to be modified, according to the National Advertising Division.
Cox offers two services, Cox Fiber and Cox Internet. While the former service runs on fiber optics directly into the home, the latter still uses coaxial cables in the “last mile,” and is materially different than traditional fiber service. As a result, the NAD, a division of the non-profit third-party organization Better Business Bureau recommended that Cox make it clearer that Cox Internet is not “powered by fiber” directly into the home.
The NAD is digging into a nuance in broadband service that has a material impact on your experience. A true fiber service that goes directly into your home offers much higher download and upload speeds, with little degradation until it gets to your modem and Wi-Fi network. A service like Cox Internet, where the fiber goes into a central node in your neighborhood, but still needs to travel through an older coaxial cable to your home, will have far less available speeds.
Because most people associate fiber with speed, it’s clear why Cox would want to use the “powered by fiber” claim.
Cox said in a statement that while it “disagrees with certain aspects of NAD’s decision, it is a strong supporter of advertising self-regulation.” The company will comply with the NAD’s recommendations.
In a follow-up statement, a Cox spokesman said: “Our network and our internet services are powered by fiber, whether that fiber ends at a node near a customer’s home or business, or in the home or business itself. We think customers simply want great service, which we are proud to deliver, so while we disagree that any clarifying disclaimer is necessary, we will modify our disclosures to help customers better understand how their broadband services are delivered.”
AT&T raised the complaint against Cox.