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Here are the hidden costs on a Cox bill (and what you need to know about them)

Trey Paul

Jun 12, 2019 — 3 min read

Feel like you’re paying more than advertised? Let us help you decipher some of the additional expenses that may be coming your way.

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You got a great promo deal from Cox but now you find you’re paying more than your budget allows. How did this happen? Well, be forewarned there’s some small print that keeps your Cox bill higher than you anticipated.

From government taxes to add-on fees for the channels and services you really want, you may find your costs quickly soaring.

To help you get to the core of your true charges, we’re here with a guide to some of the most common fees you might find when paying your Cox bill — whether you’re a TV, internet, phone or home security customer.

As always, be aware that the actual fees you’ll pay will depend on where you live and can vary from state to state.

Cox TV fees

Cox TV customers can expect to see a lot of confusing additional charges on each monthly bill along with the price of service.

From regional sports network fees to FCC and franchise fees, it’s quite an array of costs … and it all adds up.

Here are the most common TV fees that may appear on your Cox bill, along with what they actually mean.

The Cox TV feeWhat it really means
Broadcast SurchargeA monthly fee for providing local broadcast stations. This includes charges from broadcast stations to carry their channels and could increase.
Regional Sports SurchargeA monthly charge for providing local sports networks. Amount varies based on your area and could increase during the term of your contract.
Installation feeA one-time cost which varies based on the type of plan you purchase as well as whether you choose to do it yourself or have it done professionally.
HD Receiver feeA monthly cost for the tuner needed in order to access HD channels.
CableCARD feeThis monthly charge is for those who don’t need a Cox digital receiver (TiVo owners, for example) but need the CableCARD in order to access certain HD programming.
Cox TV activation chargeA one-time charge that depends upon the type of plan you purchase.
State and Local Communications Services sales taxTaxes imposed locally or by the state for TV communications services.
State and Local Gross Receipts and Utility taxesTaxes assessed locally or by certain states. This fee may vary from state to state and by locality.
FCC regulatory feeThe annual charge collected by the FCC to help offset their costs.
Cable TV franchise feeA charge paid to local governments for use of the public rights-of-way, streets and areas within the municipality.
Public, Educational, Governmental Access feeA charge associated with providing local access channels.

Optional or additional Cox TV fees

In addition to the above charges, which apply to all plans, you’ll see added charges based on the extras you choose. Customers that opt to add premium channels and multiple TVs to a Cox TV plan can expect to see additional monthly fees associated with each feature.

Cox TV optional feeWhat it really means
Mini Box feeA monthly charge for any additional receivers you need in the home (and you’ll need one for each additional TV you plan to use beyond the one using the main receiver).
Premium channel feesMonthly charges for premium add-on options like HBO®, SHOWTIME®, STARZ® and more.
DVR Service feeThis monthly charge is added if you need Cox’s DVR service and varies if you need a two-channel or six-channel recorder.
TV PaksAn additional monthly charge for customized channel packages. Includes sports, Latino programming, movies and more.

Cox Internet fees

If you’re shopping for Cox Internet, there are a few other fees you’re going to see.

Cox Internet feeWhat it really means
Panoramic Wi-Fi Modem rentalA monthly charge for use of Cox’s internet equipment.
Installation feeA one-time cost which varies based on if you choose to do it yourself or have it done professionally.
State and Local Communications Services Sales taxTaxes imposed locally or by the state for data communications services.

If you’re looking to cut back on Cox Internet costs, consider buying your own Cox cable modem to trim monthly rental fees.

Cox Voice fees

Many of the fees and taxes associated with Cox Voice are not unique to this provider and are similar to the state and local fees you receive with TV service. That said, customers should be aware of the additional surcharges that’ll be coming with their phone service.

Cox Voice feesWhat it really means
Installation feeA one-time cost which varies based on if you choose to do it yourself or have it done professionally.
Long Distance and International CallingWhile domestic long-distance calling is covered, you’ll have to pay an additional monthly fee for these services.
Carrier Cost Recovery feeFees accessed by federal, state and local governments on businesses that offer voice services. This fee may change and is not government-mandated.
State and Local Communications Services sales taxTaxes imposed locally or by the state for voice communications.
State or Local 911 feeA charge to fund local and state governments 911 and other emergency services. Fees vary by states and locality.
Federal Excise taxA tax required by the federal government on some types of voice services.

Cox Homelife fees

Cox also provides a home safety option for customers, with two different tiers. Take note — because each of these plans requires a high-speed internet connection, you need to have an internet plan in order to participate. In addition to that cost, there are several other fees you might see in your monthly Cox bill.

Cox Homelife feeWhat it really means
Installation feeA one-time cost for a service that must be done professionally. No self-install available.
Activation feeThis one-time charge occurs when you begin service on the higher plan.
Touchscreen equipment feeA monthly rental charge for customers who opt for the higher plan.
Smoke CO monitoringThis is an available, but not required, add-on fee for customers who opt for the higher tier of the Homelife service.

Conditional Cox fees

Lastly, there are a handful of other instances for which you might see some additional charges to your monthly Cox bill.

Cox Conditional FeeWhat it really means
Early cancellation feeProrated fees incurred with the early cancellation of a Cox contract. Typically will apply to Homelife customers and bundle offers.
Late payment feeFees incurred for late payment of a Cox bill. Amount varies by location.
Cox Complete CareA monthly fee for 24/7 technical support across internet and security services. Includes some in-home work and repair as well. Customers are not required to subscribe to this service.

Frequently asked questions about Cox fees

Does Cox require contracts?

Cox does not require its customers to sign contracts in some cases. But there are a few accounts (most notably, the Homelife plan and various bundle offers) that call for a contract to be signed in order for service to begin. Those can range from 12 months to two years.

Is it true that Cox offers a la carte TV channels?

Not quite. There are a few premium channels (HBO, STARZ, SHOWTIME, etc.) you can add individually, while other channels come in customized “paks.” These are pre-set groups of channels you can select to get a lineup closest to the one you want for your subscribed plan.

If I select a Cox bundle with TV, internet and digital voice, can I make a phone call while still watching TV?

Cox broadband services allow you to do multiple functions at the same time. Making a phone call should not interfere with browsing the internet or catching up on your favorite shows.

Looking to cut back on your monthly home service fees? Call our internet experts today to learn more about Cox deals and competing providers in your area.