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Shopping for internet plans for your home often comes down to two options: a cable internet provider or its alternatives, like DSL or Fiber. Because that is just how residential market shares are usually set up. So if you happen to have Cox and Windstream serving your neighborhood, this comparison guide can help solve the dilemma as to which one you should trust for your home networking needs.

Is Cox or Windstream Better for you?

A beneficial rule of thumb is that cable service is better—faster, highly reliable, and exceptional in value—than DSL, but fiber internet often outshines cable for the same reasons. So, given a choice between Cox and Windstream, Cox will typically be the best option for speed and value. Alternatively, if a Fiber-to-the-home connection is available at your address, you'll find Windstream stands unrivaled against any cable provider, Cox included.

That said, there may be a situation where Windstream’s enticing promo offers for high-speed DSL seem a better fit for your home than Cox. Or perhaps Cox, with its range of speed-based plans and unique add-ons is the better option than the limited variety of speeds you get with Windstream Kinetic Fiber Internet. Of course, there's still a lot more to consider than that and only one of them can indeed win. So, which of these two ISPs is the ideal fit for your digital needs? Keep reading to find out how they stack up against each other, so you can make the right decision.  

Windstream vs. Cox: Serviceability

Cox Communications

Cox is the 3rd largest cable internet provider in the U.S., with nearly 21 million people able to access its services in 18 states as well as District of Columbia. However, Cox network coverage is quite focused and mostly reserved for urban and urban-adjacent areas, so you are unlikely to see it serve rural communities. One of the best things about Cox is it sells the entire variety of its speed-based Internet plans across its service territory ? unlike most ISPs that are not able to offer their full range of speed-based plans in every service location due to variations in network capacity and capability.

Cox network coverage is the most expansive in the following cities:

 

     

    Kinetic by Windstream

    Windstream on the other hand emerges with a strong presence across rural America ? and Windstream Kinetic Internet also connects a number of suburban communities in its 18 service states. In spite of the span of its network coverage, Windstream penetrates a smaller population compared to Cox?according to the FCC, it covers about 3% of the U.S. population relative to 7% by Cox?but that is essentially because Windstream primarily serves the more sparsely populated regions.

    The one thing that makes Windstream stand out among high-speed DSL internet providers is its ability to deliver 25 Mbps downloads to over 86% of its customers. According to FCC about 72% of its customers are also able to get 100 Mbps for downloads.

    As for Windstream's fiber-optic internet, it is available in about 31% of its footprint, and in these locations almost all customers are eligible for gigabit speeds.

    Here, take a look at the top cities where Windstream offers coverage:

     

       

       

      Windstream vs. Cox: Internet Plans & Pricing

      Cox Internet

      Cox gives customers lots of plan options, but all are a bit expensive. As a cable provider, Cox sells the same plans wherever it offers services, though pricing may vary from one market to another. Regardless, Cox typically has five plans to choose from along with a variety of bundle deals if you want internet and TV rolled together into one nice package.

      Starting from 25 Mbps, Cox offers a variety of speed tiers up to 1 Gbps. The 25, 50 and 250 Mbps plans are ideal for single individuals, couples or a small to mid-sized household, with standard internet usage. For ultra-connected smart homes with multiple users and devices, the 500 Mbps and the gigabit plan work the best.

      The only downside is Cox plans are a little towards the pricier end relative to Windstream. And may cost your still more if you decide to go for the no-contract option?because for the best promotional price you’re required to sign up a year-long service agreement.

      Cox Internet Plan

      Max Download/Upload Speed

      Promo Price

      Data Cap

      Contract

      Internet Starter

      25/3 Mbps

      $29.99/mo.

      for 12 months

      1.25 TB

      One-year term agreement

      Internet Essential

      50/3 Mbps

      $39.99/mo.

      for 12 months

      1.25 TB

      One-year term agreement

      Internet Preferred

      250/10 Mbps

      $59.99/mo.

      for 12 months

      1.25 TB

      One-year term agreement

      Internet Ultimate

      500/10 Mbps

      $79.99/mo.

      for 12 months

      1.25 TB

      One-year term agreement

      Internet Gigablast

      940/35 Mbps

      $99.99/mo.

      for 12 months

      1.25 TB

      One-year term agreement

       

      Windstream Internet

      Windstream is a mixed bag, but offers more good than bad. From southern Texas to the Canadian border, Windstream strives to deliver fast and reliable internet services to its customers. Currently, the provider offers DSL, Cable, Copper, Fixed Wireless, and Fiber internet services nationwide. However, DSL and Fiber services are more widely available in residential neighborhoods, while in some areas Windstream also offers cable and fixed wireless internet. Copper services are reserved for commercial usage.

      A DSL connection cannot compete with the consistency of a cable connection, so speeds do vary–anywhere from 10-200 Mbps—with Kinetic DSL internet. The provider’s offerings make for a fast and economical broadband option, but speeds and prices vary by location, and so the overall value of your Windstream subscription is dependent on where you live.

      As you get closer to the urban and suburban areas, where the Fiber service is available, super fast speeds and low introductory prices make Windstream an appealing choice. Popular Windstream Kinetic Fiber plans include 200, 400, and 1000 Mbps speed tiers, and are available in nearly all service areas covered by Windstream’s Fiber network.

      Regardless of where you live however, all plans come without any data limits or annual commitments!

      Windstream structures its plans in a unique way—you can start with any plan listed below depending on what’s available at your address. After that, if you feel the need, you can upgrade to a higher speed tier, if available, for an additional fee.

      While available Windstream speeds and promo offers seem to be somewhat inconsistent, the free Gig upgrade is one thing that is up for grabs in all qualifying markets. Meaning you can benefit from Gigabit speeds for 3 months at a price that comes as a pleasant surprise. And if you wish to enjoy the blazing-fast speeds for a longer period, you can proceed with Kinetic Gig by paying the additional charge.

      Windstream Kinetic Plan

      Max Speed

      Promo Price

      (in select markets)

      Data Cap

      Contract

      Kinetic 50

      72 Mbps

      $39.99/mo.

      for 12 months

      Unlimited

      No

      Kinetic 200

      232 Mbps

      $39.99/mo.

      for 12 months

      Unlimited

      No

      Kinetic 400

      450 Mbps

      $49.99/mo.

      for 12 months

      Unlimited

      No

      Kinetic 1000

      1000 Mbps

      $59.99/mo.

      for 12 months

      Unlimited

      No

       

      The Better Deal?

      It all comes down to the Kinetic connection type available at your address and the pricing in your area. If Kinetic DSL plans are available at your address, and you are not located in the close proximity of the provider’s hub in the area, speeds will be slower with DSL service than Cox. Though Kinetic DSL may be cheaper per month, Cox is going to give you more speed for the money, which makes it the better value.

      Then there’s fiber service from Windstream. If you can access that, you should sign up right away because these plans are among the best when it comes to the value of a home internet subscription.

      For instance, Windstream's 200Mbps fiber plan costs just $39.99/mo. for 12 months, which is a bit more than 19 cents per Mbps. Weigh that up with Cox and you'll see there's no comparison at all ?a 50 Mbps Cox plan with one quarter of the download speed costs $39.99/mo. during the first year, which is 79.98 cents per Mbps—a difference of over 59 cents. Windstream’s other fiber speed tiers offer even better value relative to the competition.

      In sum, Windstream Fiber is the best deal but if it isn’t available in your area, then you'll have to settle for the company's DSL plans. But Cox's cable internet offers slightly better value than Windstream’s DSL plans, despite costing a bit more.

      What Sort of Fees and Terms Should I Expect From Windstream and Cox?

      Installation Fees

      Both Windstream and Cox charge a one-time professional installation fee of $35 and $100, respectively. Luckily, both providers let you skip this fee. With Windstream, you can avoid the charge by taking advantage of Windstream self-installation. Whereas Cox lets you skip this fee by requesting an Easy Connect self-installation kit.

      While you can avoid the Windstream equipment fee, getting rid of the Windstream internet activation fee i.e. $50 upfront is not an option.

      Equipment fees

      Windstream has a slightly lower equipment fee—ranging from $5.99 to $9.99 per month depending on where you are located—whereas Cox charges an equipment rental fee of $13 per month for its Panoramic Wifi Gateway. Both providers let you skip the fee by using your own, provider-approved modem.

      Windstream Kinetic One packages offer great value with the equipment included in the monthly price.

      How Do Windstream and Cox Stack Up for Customer Satisfaction?

      Internet providers are notorious for poor customer service, to begin with, but both Windstream and Cox were among the better performing ones in terms of customer satisfaction records.

      According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, in 2021 Cox performed better than Windstream with a score of 63/100— and also scored better than the overall ISP average of 65. Meanwhile, Windstream came in with a score of 61/100—not a decline year-over-year, but not an improvement, either.

      Meanwhile, J.D. Power ranks ISPs for customer satisfaction across four different regions in the U.S.—and Cox was included in ¾ regions surveyed in 2021. Compared to ACSI, Cox did a little better here overall, but earned below-average ratings of 707 in the South, 696 in the West, and 708 in the East. Windstream also didn’t perform remarkably well—scored 682—but it was one of the few ISPs to notch a better score year-over-year.

      Of course, these poor customer satisfaction scores are concerning, but in Windstream's case, 80% of the Kinetic network is DSL. And in today’s digital world, it makes sense why customers would not be satisfied with the slow and unreliable DSL service. For this reason, Windstream gets an edge here. 

       

      Windstream vs. Cox: Things to Consider

       

      Windstream

       

      Cox

      P  Fast and reliable speeds in rural areas

      P  No contract, no speed throttling, no data caps

      P  Fiber expansion is in the works

      û  Speeds and pricing vary widely by location

      P  Gigabit speeds available across the entire footprint

      P  Reasonable data usage terms, no speed throttling

      û  Internet plans are more expensive than other cable internet providers

       

      And the Winner Is...Windstream Fiber Plans

      There You Are!

      If Windstream Kinetic Fiber is available at your address, count yourself lucky and consider it your top option. With fast speeds and incredible value, these fiber plans are some of the best in the industry, and you won't need to sign a contract or worry about a data cap.

      However, Windstream DSL plans are much less competitive than the fast download speeds available from a cable provider like Cox. The fast Cable connection makes it the worthier choice if Fiber is not available.

      That said, when you compare the two providers, make sure to take into account all aspects of each service to decide which one is a better fit, and cuts a better deal for you. Keep in mind your usage and budget, and if you need pro advice call us at 1-855-349-9328 and let our experts help you make an informed decision.

      Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

      Is Windstream better than Cox?

      Well, it all depends on the Kinetic connection type available at your address and the pricing in your area. If Kinetic High-speed Internet plans are available at your address, speeds maybe slower than Cox. But if you can access Windstream fiber service, you should sign up right away because they offer some of the best value on home internet.

      Do Cox and Kinetic by Windstream have unlimited data?

      With Windstream, the internet plans don't have any data cap. Meanwhile, Cox enforces a data limit of 1.25 TB on all of its plans.

      Do Cox and Windstream require a Contract?

      Windstream does not enforce contracts with its internet plans, but Cox requires a one-year contract if you opt for the promo rate when you sign up. This however lowers your bill by $10 during the first year.

      Is Cox Internet available in my area?

      Speak to a representative at the Cox Customer Service number i.e. 1-855-349-9316 to check availability of Cox services at your address.

      Is Windstream Kinetic available in my area?

      If you have any questions about Windstream internet plans or availability, call Windstream Customer Service at 1-855-349-9312 to get advice and assistance from experts.