Cox Communications announced on Oct. 25 that its users will pay a fee if they go over the limit of one terabyte per month on their plan. This limit is equivalent to surfing the web for 3,000 hours, however some users are concerned about possible bill increases.
Cox is the main TV and cable provider in the Gainesville area and has little to no competition when it comes to offering internet.
“In Gainesville, there’s only one [broadband] service provider,” said Subhajyoti Bandyopadhyay, professor at the Warrington College of Business Department of Information Systems and Operations Management.
The situation is the same in nearly three quarters of the country, said Bandyopadhyay.
Patticakes, a coffee and cupcake restaurant in downtown Gainesville, is currently in the process of getting internet through Cox.
“[Wi-Fi] is something we really love and want to offer our guests,” said Erin Leigh Patterson, marketing director for Patticakes.
Patterson said she doesn’t foresee an issue with Cox raising its prices affecting Patticakes’ ability to offer free Wi-Fi to its customers.
City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos said in a Facebook post that it is time for Gainesville residents to have a choice when it comes to having accessible internet.
“We need to work on bringing in competition,” said Hayes-Santos.
Hayes-Santos said he is working with staff to try and figure out new ways to bring in competitors to the city.
“We have over 650 miles of fiber throughout the city that’s really underutilized,” Hayes-Santos said.
Right now, Gainesville Regional Utilities offers two internet options to business customers through GRUCom. GRU is owned by the city and could potentially be a part of the plan to work with the 650 miles of underutilized fibers.
“Under our current conditions, we have been unable to build a valid case for expanding into single-family neighborhoods,” GRU General Manager Edward Bielarski Jr. wrote in an email. “Most of the ‘success stories’ related to municipal expansion into residential internet include huge subsidies from federal, state or local sources.”
Bielarski did add that GRUCom will review the different opportunities the company can offer Gainesville in the future.