NEW ORLEANS -- Some Cox Communications customers who use a heavy amount of data each month to stream video and music could soon see their bills climb.
Beginning July 6, Cox will give most customers in south Louisiana a data plan that allows them to upload or download 1 terabyte of data each month.
"We're seeing that data usage is probably three times more than it was 2-3 years ago, and it's just going higher and higher," Cox Cable Director Steve Sawyer said.
Cox said the plan provides enough data is enough to watch 140 two-hour high-definition movies, 300 30-minute standard-definition TV shows, 1,500 three-minute videos, surf the Web for 3,000 hours and listen to 30,000 songs that are four minutes long in one month.
"That's an enormous amount of data," Sawyer said. "A terrabyte is 1,028 gigabytes. Most people won't even go over a gigabyte."
Customers who pay for Cox G1GABLAST service, which provides for faster speed, will be allowed 2 terabytes of data.
Any customer who exceeds that amount, though, will be charged $10 for each additional 50 gigabytes of data used.
Cox said the changes aren’t expected to affect most customers -- just about 2 percent -- since the typical household uses about 250 gigabytes each month.
And while the caps will go into effect in July, a grace period will be in place until September.
Still, the majority of Cox customers Eyewitness News spoke to were upset about the change, whether they were impacted or not.
"There's no competition here so they're pretty much doing whatever the hell they feel like," customer Georgia Butler said.
Resident like Butler said more competition in New Orleans would mean better cable service overall.
Customers can monitor data usage on Cox.com and the Cox Connect app, as well as get e-mails or text messages when they reach certain benchmarks in their data usage.
Cox said the change is necessary as digital usage continues to grow at a rapid clip.
Internet data is being doubled every two years as more devices in homes are connected to the Web. Steve Sawyer, Cox’s director of public and governmental affairs, said that in the next three years, most people will have 50 devices hooked up to the Web.
Cox has already introduced data caps in Cleveland, Ohio; Omaha, Nebraska; and Sun Valley, Idaho.
A recent story in Consumer Reports noted that most Internet service providers, including AT&T, CenturyLink and Comcast, have capped data usage.
“Ninety-eight percent of Cox High-Speed Internet customers do not come close to exceeding the amount of data included in their plan every month,” Sawyer said in a prepared statement. “It makes sense that the two percent of users that consume significantly more data than allocated by their service plan should be notified of their overage so they can reevaluate their usage or eventually pay more when they go over.”
Customers can view data usage at cox.com/datausage or by downloading the Cox Connect mobile app.