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Cox Communications vs. Metronet vs. Smithville Internet plan comparison


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Headshot of Dave Schafer
Researched by
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Reviewed by
Bri FieldAssigning Editor
Updated 6/26/24

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Cox
Staff rating
3.6
Customer rating
4.1
(122)

  • Plans starting at $20.00
  • Download speeds up to 2 Gbps
Metronet brand
Staff rating
4.2
Customer rating
4.4
(7)

  • Plans starting at $20.00
  • Download speeds up to 1 Gbps
Smithville brand
Staff rating
3.8

  • Plans starting at $29.05
  • Download speeds up to 1 Gbps
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Check availability
See what providers service your area.
Cox
Staff rating
3.6

Low starting prices and reliable internet speeds

Cox provides a great customer experience and reliable speeds, but you’ll spend more for higher-speed plans, extra data, and add-ons.

What we like

  • Plan variety and options
  • Great customer experience
  • Generous, unthrottled data cap
What we dislike

  • Expensive plans
  • Steep data overages
  • So-so availability
Savings tip: Cox often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Metronet brand
Staff rating
4.2

Strong value from a local internet provider

Metronet is a growing regional provider that offers value-packed internet service to customers. Its all-fiber network is fast and reasonably priced. Overall, we think Metronet is a solid pick for your next internet provider—if you happen to live in one of its coverage areas.

What we like

  • Unlimited data
  • No contracts
  • 100% fiber service
What we dislike

  • Availability only in the Midwest
  • Limited plan selection
Savings tip: Metronet often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Smithville brand
Staff rating
3.8

Fast, inexpensive internet for rural Hoosiers

Rural south and central Indianans can get this company’s affordable, high-speed, reliable fiber internet with no contract and no data cap. And if you don’t have access to Smithville yet, you might soon. It’s expanding fast!

What we like

  • High-speed, reliable rural internet
  • Low cost
  • No contract
What we dislike

  • No self-setup option
  • Costly customer support
  • Possible legacy DSL speeds
Savings tip: Smithville often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Cox
Value
3.0
Good budget plans, but you’ll pay high prices for top speeds

Cox plans range from around $0.60/Mbps for low-speed plans to around $0.10/Mbps for the fastest plan, which is more expensive than other cable internet providers. The good news? Cox has more lower-speed plan options, so if your internet budget tops out at $50 a month, Cox might be your new best friend. At speeds of 200 Mbps and above, however, Cox loses the price war.

What you get for the money is pretty good. All plans have a 1.25 TB data cap (unless you pay an extra $50 per month for unlimited), but that’s more than most people need. And unlike providers where unlimited comes standard, Cox won’t throttle your speed if you get a little data-hungry. Just beware of overage charges (which can really add up) if you go over the limit.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Cox's website
or call 1-844-719-0028 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
Metronet brand
Value
4.0
Good value overall, especially on the 1 gig plan

Smaller, regional internet providers sometimes suffer a little in the value department. Either the pricing is good but the speeds offered aren’t up to snuff, or the speeds are fast but the price is outrageous. Metronet bucks this trend. In fact, the 1 gig plan actually starts out at a lower price than most competitors and less than half the national benchmark for similar plans (1).

You do have the standard rate hikes after the first 6-24 months, however. Competing internet providers sometimes offer small perks that make them more attractive, but Metronet definitely holds its own.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Metronet's website
or call 1-833-804-6161 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
Smithville brand
Value
4.0
Uncommonly high speeds and low costs for rural internet

Smithville Communications offers just one fiber internet plan, serving up 1 Gbps and unlimited data for less than about $0.70 per Mbps. Compared to the US benchmark plan for similar service ($134.62) (1), Smithville is a pretty sweet deal. And you won’t have to sign a contract to get it.

This low price is particularly impressive for fiber in rural areas since building infrastructure outside of urban centers can be incredibly costly. Smithville could easily charge higher rates for bringing fiber to rural Indiana, but it doesn’t. And we applaud that.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Smithville's website
or call 1-844-719-8071 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
Cox
Performance
4.5
Speeds are very reliable, but expect minor slowdowns at peak times

Generally, Cox delivers the speeds it says it does, sometimes even a bit higher—though the speed you experience also depends on lots of factors, such as the equipment you’re using and your distance from the router.

Cox specializes in cable internet, which is faster than DSL and satellite, but slower and less reliable than fiber. It’s also typically cheaper and more reliable than wireless internet. The US Federal Communication Commission, in fact, says actual speeds from Cox are faster than advertised and nearly identical to competitor Optimum. Those speeds are stable, too. The report found slowdowns less than 5% of the time. (1) However, cable internet is known to be slower during peak usage times because you and your neighbors are all using the same street lines.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-844-719-0028 to speak with a Cox rep or
go to its website.
Metronet brand
Performance
5.0
Excellent performance with no data caps

Performance with Metronet is great. There are plans ranging from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps, all of which offer symmetrical upload speeds. This means upload speeds are equal to download speeds—excellent for content creators, streamers, online gamers, and anyone else who shares a lot of large files. Best of all, there are no data caps.

Although some fiber providers have started offering 2 gig and even 5 gig plans, we don't think anyone needs to pay for that much speed (and if you're one of the few who does, you probably already know who you are). Metronet’s 1 gig option will be plenty for most needs, but extremely heavy users who require faster speeds will have to look elsewhere. Find out how much internet speed you need.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-833-804-6161 to speak with a Metronet rep or
go to its website.
Smithville brand
Performance
5.0
Get 1 Gbps speeds and unlimited data—unless you’re in a legacy DSL area

Fiber is the fastest and most reliable type of internet available, and download speeds max out around 5 Gbps. Smithville fiber reaches only 1 Gbps, but for most people frustrated by slow or unreliable rural internet, it’ll feel like your browser just got a turbo boost. You’ll also see 1 Gbps upload speeds, which is less common among non-fiber internet types like DSL and cable. Everyone—from heavy streamers and online gamers to remote workers and avid YouTube creators—will have plenty of juice (and unlimited data) when they need it.

Unfortunately, there’s one caveat: In some areas, Smithville is still using legacy DSL infrastructure, so you might not be able to sign up for fiber just yet. Smithville is phasing out this infrastructure as it lays more fiber lines, and it was named one of the Top 100 Fiber-to-the-Home organizations by Broadband Communities magazine for its efforts in helping bring fiber internet to rural communities (2). Luckily, Smithville won’t lock you into a contract, so if you’re not happy with your DSL, you can cancel any time and come back later when you have access to fiber.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-844-719-8071 to speak with a Smithville rep or
go to its website.
Cox
Equipment and installation
3.5
Rent a Gateway or bring your own networking equipment

Cox’s Panoramic Wi-Fi Gateway ($13/month to rent) is a modem and router in one, and you can purchase (but not rent) additional Wi-Fi pods ($129.99 each) that plug into a regular power outlet to reduce dead spots in your home. Because these pods can be used only with Cox, they're only an ideal solution if you plan to be with Cox for several years. The good news is Cox is also compatible with tons of other modems and routers, so you could save a few bucks while using your own gear.

With Cox, a self-installation kit is free. But if getting set up on your own makes you sweat, a Cox professional can install it for $100... but that installation cost goes up if your home isn’t already wired up and ready to go. They’ll ensure cabling makes it from the street into your home, but you might need to hire a contractor or handyman to run wires to a specific room.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Cox plans
available in your area.
View plans
Metronet brand
Equipment and installation
4.5
High-quality equipment and cheap installation

Metronet provides all the equipment you need to get started free of charge, including an eero wireless router so you can get online quickly. This is a nice change of pace in an industry that often charges $10–$15 per month for mediocre gear. You do have the option of adding a wireless extender for $10 per month (called WholeHome Wi-Fi), but it isn’t strictly necessary.

More good news concerning installation—while most providers charge between $50 and $100 (or more) for installation, Metronet will bill you only $25. That’s not bad at all. Of course, when installation is a mandatory part of the service, we’d prefer it to be free, but we’ll take what we can get. Plus, all you have to do to receive a $25 installation credit (effectively making it free) is to sign up for automatic billing.

Our only complaint is the lack of any type of self-installation option, so you'll have to set aside a good two to four hours for a technician to come to your house.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Metronet plans
available in your area.
View plans
Smithville brand
Equipment and installation
3.5
Free equipment, but you’ll have to pay for activation and possibly installation

Smithville provides a wireless router to all customers with no additional rental fees, which is a good deal. You will pay an activation fee of $25, and if you need any lines run or jacks installed, you’ll pay for those too.

You do have the option of using your own equipment, but you’ll have to contact customer service to find out if your gear is compatible because this info isn’t available on the Smithville website. And if you need help troubleshooting your equipment, you’re on your own.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Smithville plans
available in your area.
View plans
Cox
Customer experience
3.5
Decent customer service, and you can pay for extra tech help

Reviews for internet service providers are notoriously low in general, but Cox does pretty well according to our real customer reviews. The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) ranks Cox ninth in customer satisfaction among internet service providers—the same as Frontier. (2) That's lower than average, but not by much.

We think Cox’s 30-day, no hassle money-back guarantee is solid. And in our own experience with Cox, we've had solid customer service interactions. If you opt for self-installation, you can still get plenty of help online or by phone if needed. But if you use your own gear or technology isn’t your thing, $10/month will get you extra help, day or night, for things like malware removal, software installation and reconfiguration, and general troubleshooting.

Visit Cox's website
or call 1-844-719-0028 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
Metronet brand
Customer experience
3.5
A good experience overall, but some strange fees

Decent value, fast performance, and reasonable equipment and installation costs make for a great experience overall. Metronet also claims to have 24-hour local support, and customers generally seem satisfied with their service.

There is one glaring issue, though: the provider charges a mandatory “technology service fee” of around $10 per month.

Metronet claims this is to cover the cost of service calls, tech visits, and equipment maintenance. However, we don’t see this type of charge from any other provider, and it effectively nullifies the free equipment, so we have mixed feelings.

We've also seen a few complaints from customers who feel like they were being charged more than advertised, but we thought that the price increases and fees were pretty fairly laid out on the website, so just make sure to read the fine print (2).


Visit Metronet's website
or call 1-833-804-6161 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
Smithville brand
Customer experience
3.0
Around-the-clock tech support—at a cost

Smithville offers 24/7 tech support to all customers, which is helpful if you have trouble with its router, need wiring repairs or a jack replacement, or your service is otherwise interrupted and it’s the company's fault.

If a visiting technician discovers the problem was out of Smithville’s control, you’ll have to pay a $35 service fee and $90 technician fee for help. Most companies charge you only one of these fees. Smithville will waive these charges if you buy its Connection Protection plan for at least one year, at a cost of $3.95 per month. But technicians still won’t help you with your own equipment.

Visit Smithville's website
or call 1-844-719-8071 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
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Cox Communications
4.1
(122)
5 Star
43%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
21%
2 Star
2%
1 Star
1%
M
Michaelfrom Las Vegas, NV
Cox Communications Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
been with cox for quire a few years. service is ok
C
Cindyfrom Virginia Beach, VA
Cox Communications Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
My review for Cox is a pleasant experience overall. Sometimes the reliability and speed is not consistent. This makes me long for a more reliable service.
T
Tiffaniefrom Las Vegas, NV
Cox Communications Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
the value of cox i would say is just decent. they do not go above and beyond like they use to but its okay. the speed is hit or miss. and honestly its not very reliable as we always are having connectivity isuues. its crap to keep it sweet
M
Matthewfrom Alexandria, VA
Cox Communications Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
Cox has been very reliable over the past 18 months. The technician who came to my house was friendly and good at his job. I would love if their prices were a little lower, especially for cable.
Metronet
4.4
(7)
5 Star
43%
4 Star
57%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
R
Richard from Phoenix , AZ
Metronet Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 4-12-2023
Good connection most days from MetroNet. Price is good compared to the other options near me.
M
Maryfrom Wabash, IN
Metronet Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 3-24-2023
I like metronet. Whenever I have a problem and I call them they stay on the line until the situation is completely resolved.
W
William from Tallahassee, FL
Metronet Customer for Less than a year
Reviewed on: 6-24-2022
Combined with more streaming for our television viewing, we have gained financially from switching. Service has been strong thus far. Greater speed is still a desire we have.
B
Brendafrom Tallahassee, FL
Metronet Customer for Less than a year
Reviewed on: 6-24-2022
Everything works just a well as other providers but costs less.
Smithville
0.0
(0)
5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
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Endnotes and sources
  1. "Measuring Fixed Broadband - Tenth Report," FCC. Accessed 5 August 2022.
  2. Internet Service Providers,” ASCI. Accessed 7 December 2022.
Endnotes and sources
1. “2022 Urban Rate Survey – Fixed Broadband Service,” FCC. Accessed 18 October 2022.2. "Metronet Customer Reviews," BroadbandNow. Accessed 9 December 2022.
Endnotes and sources
1. “2022 Urban Rate Survey – Fixed Broadband Service,” FCC. Accessed 9 December 2022.2. “2022 Fiber-To-The-Home Top 100.” Broadband Communities Magazine. Accessed 9 December 2022.