Cox Communications brings its fastest Internet service for the first time to Arkansas in a partnership with a new Lindsey Management apartment complex in Bentonville. Cox unveiled the Gigablast Internet service to the media on Wednesday (Sept. 9) which features downloads 100 times faster than the U.S. average, with uploads to cloud storage 1,000 times faster than the norm.
The rollout is part of more than $15 billion for infrastructure upgrades made by Cox to improve video, phone and high-speed Internet services.
Bruce Berkinshaw, director of product operation for Cox, said the cable media company worked with Lindsey Management and built the fiber optics system for the new multifamily complex known as the Trails of Bentonville. The Trails has 486 units of which 218 are open. Another 56 units will open in October and the remaining 162 units will open Nov. 1.
“It’s the first time we have offered this fastest Internet in a local residential setting. Businesses have had the service for more than five years. We have already unveiled Gigablast for residential in some other markets like Phoenix, San Diego, Omaha, Las Vegas and Baton Rouge and it’s been well received. This is the time it’s been offered in Arkansas. For now it’s just available in this large multifamily complex,” Berkinshaw said.
He said average Internet speeds across the country are about 11 megabits per second for downloads. This new service is 1 gigibit, which is about 100 times faster. To put that in perspective the Gigablast service allows for the downloading of 10 high definition movies in just 7 minutes. It will download 1,000 photos in 16 seconds.
He said for some households the faster service could be considered “overkill.” But Berkinshaw said families that consume streaming media on multiple devices at the same time, the faster speed is practical, particularly when there also is someone in the family who works from home.
“This is building for the future as needs arise. … We are continuously building out this capability looking at some older residential areas under renovation, as well as new subdivisions where this makes sense. Within two years or so we expect other modem advances that are underway now to become more mainstream in helping us to broadly distribute this faster Internet to more residential users,” Berkinshaw said.
He said as 4K television and more 3-D television programing becomes available users will require faster Internet speeds, particular for streaming multiple devices. The company plans to expand the service to other Arkansas markets.
The service now costs $99 per month when it’s not bundled with other services. Berkinshaw said 70% of Cox internet customers are subscribing to the “preferred” service which offers downloading speeds of 50 megabits per second at $65 per month. He said there also is an “ultra” speed which at $99 provides downloads at 150 megabits per second increasing to 200 megabits by Oct. 12.
Barb Maupin, a resident at the Trails in Bentonville, told The City Wire that she works from home as a human resource manager for a San Antonio-based company. She and husband Tony recently relocated to Bentonville for an Internet security job he took at Wal-Mart Stores.
“Part of the reason we moved to this complex was this incredibly fast fiber optics Internet service. My company has stringent tech requirements for those who telecommute. Video editing and other video training capabilities are a big part of what I do, so the reliability of connection is extremely important. I have used this service for about two months and even in the recent thunderstorms there have been no disruptions,” Maupin said.