The writing was on the wall when net neutrality protections were repealed last year and now that controversial decision is about to bear its first fruit. US ISP ‘Cox Cable’ has begun to test an upgraded internet connection specifically tailored towards gamers.
Users of the Cox Internet Preferred 100 package are being offered the ‘Elite Gamer Service’ that promises reduced lag, ping spikes and “jitter” that may occur with a standard connection. Users can enjoy these ‘benefits’ for a $15 per month upgrade fee on their package. It’s available exclusively to Windows PC users and covers two PC users per household.
“The Cox Elite Gamer Service (CEG) uses an intelligent server network to route your game connection,” claims Cox. “Our service focuses on creating the best connection possible for gaming, and only gaming! If you care about your connection and want the best online experience possible, then you NEED to be a Cox Elite Gamer!”
This is, to put it bluntly, pretty rank, and demonstrates all of the potential pitfalls that can surface now net neutrality has been repealed in the US and the power is firmly in the ISP’s hands.
Anyone who doesn’t believe that this path will lead to gamers’ connections being deliberately throttled in order to shift more upgrade packages is being hopelessly naive. It’s a fairly transparent means to damage gaming performance and then sell users a quick fix. Well, not so quick really, as it costs $15 each and every month, or $180 a year, and this is just the beginning.
Cox is the 4th biggest cable ISP in the United States and is capable of specifically isolating and targeting game packets. This allows the ISP to improve gaming performance, while keeping web browsing and video streaming exactly the same. However, it stands to reason the exact opposite is also true - ISPs can deliberately isolate game packets being sent over the web and throttle the performance, thereby pushing more users towards the premium gaming packages.
US GD’ers, how do you feel about this situation? Anybody using Cox right now for all their internet needs?