Cox Files Protest Over Commission’s Choice Of EREC For North Escambia Fiber Internet

December 2, 2022

Cox Communications has retained a law firm and filed a formal protest against the Escambia County Commission’s fiber internet selection of Escambia River Electric Cooperative (EREC).

A letter to the county from Orlando law firm Gunster states that Cox wants the memorandum of understanding with EREC rescinded and, instead, awarded to Cox.

Escambia County originally sought proposals to provide fiber to homes north of 10 Mile Road, with another upcoming request for proposals for the area south of 10 Mile Road. The county committed up to $10 million to the area north of 10 Mile Road, with another $12 million for the area to the south.

The proposal from EREC includes only their electric franchise territory, an area essentially north of Barrineau Park Road. As a member owned electric cooperative, EREC would provide fiber internet service to all 4,000 plus homes and businesses in their territory. Cox submitted a proposal to provide broadband internet to about 2,500 homes in unspecified areas north of 10 Mile Road.

Acceptance of the EREC proposal would be followed by a second phase to the south.

In their protest, COX claims the proposals from EREC and other companies are invalid because they do not include the complete originally specified area north of 10 Mile Road. For that reason, Cox contends they should win. In addition, the Cox proposal scored higher than EREC’s in a county selection committee ranking.

Commissioners, however, altered the original requested service area at a November 28 meeting because they felt the EREC proposal would better serve the unserved and underserved residents of North Escambia. In addition, District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry pointed out that EREC is owned by the residents they serve.

Escambia County’s contribution toward fiber internet in the county will come from federal American Rescue Plan Act funds.

PROPOSAL DETAILS

EREC Proposal

Under their proposal, EREC requested $6 million from the county toward a $24 million project. They proposed fiber internet to some 4,000 plus homes and businesses — every single home and business in their footprint — and a fiber ring connecting about two dozen county facilities.¬† The first homes could receive service as early as next summer.

Three basic speed tiers proposed by EREC are:

  • 100 Mbps/100 Mbps — $49.95/month
  • 1 Gig/1 Gig — $79.95/month
  • 2 Gig/2 Gig — $99.95/month

Cox Proposal

In their proposal, Cox requested the county provide $16.3 million toward a $24.4 million project to construct a 132 mile fiber ring to 44 county facilities and provide fiber internet to 2,514 “underserved” households. Their proposed timeline was 18-36 months to complete the residential portion, with 36 total months needed to ring the county facilities.

Cox proposed package pricing as follows:

  • 100 Mbps/100 Mbps — $49.99/month
  • 250 Mbps/250 Mbps — $87.99/month
  • 500 Mbps/500 Mbps — $99.99/month
  • 1 Gig/1 Gig — $119.99/month
  • 2 Gig/2 Gig — $149.99/month

Comments

45 Responses to “Cox Files Protest Over Commission’s Choice Of EREC For North Escambia Fiber Internet”

  1. Wayne on December 5th, 2022 8:52 pm

    Concerning Cox..
    What a fitting name.

  2. telyman on December 4th, 2022 11:21 pm

    We currently pay Cox for “up to” 150Mbps. We’re lucky if we get 10 Mbps. I’m real tired of watching movies that pause every 20 seconds or so.
    I was really looking forward to getting fiber but it looks like those of us between 10 Mile Rd and Barrineau Park Rd are getting the short end of the stick.

    Quick question: If one company is not willing to cover everything in the county north of 10 Mile, why not split it up between 2 or even 3 different providers?

  3. Luis Santos on December 4th, 2022 4:00 am

    We had Cox, terrible internet, at first they were decent, then the internet started dropping out, AT&T installed the fiberoptic in our neighborhood, we switched and have had great service ever since, no more dropped internet. Would never have Cox again

  4. COX_ucks on December 3rd, 2022 12:15 pm

    Desantis should go after Cox next. They were good when they were smaller, but this whole monopoly thing that them, spectrum and mediacom have on the local areas is a joke and the service IS GARBAGE from all of them

  5. James Meadlock on December 3rd, 2022 11:00 am

    Cox has given me poor service; looking forward to more ternatives.

  6. Escambia Resident on December 3rd, 2022 6:05 am

    Looks like COX smells a price gouging opportunity. Look at the price difference! Stop gouging rural families we have enough to deal with in gas.

  7. FaithinUS on December 2nd, 2022 9:56 pm

    Cox needs to SIT DOWN and let a locally-owned utility operator have this one!
    But they’d prefer to force EREC to defend itself over a fair deal and waste more public-sourced funds on frivolous lawsuits.
    Welcome to America

  8. Susie on December 2nd, 2022 7:53 pm

    Cox absolutely stinks and they think they are number one. They can have the “number two” moniker but not because of popularity. Because they STINK!

  9. Hooch Yuhas on December 2nd, 2022 7:37 pm

    Say no to monopolies. Get cox and mediacom out of the picture Screw them. We need a free market. May the best price win.

  10. Melanie on December 2nd, 2022 7:07 pm

    I was a Cox cable customer for many years. The monopoly they held was a huge problem. They not only charged whatever they wanted but the service was lousy. Their customer service was lacking as well and I felt they had zero care for their customers. I feel so fortunate to have moved North and no longer have to deal with them. I have Spectrum Internet Ultra only no phone, no cable and blazing fast speeds for a total of $99.99 a month. I am 100% happy with my service.

  11. David on December 2nd, 2022 6:23 pm

    I also agree with the county proposal, for years ago we were under Cox , and the prices kept going up with no better service. We are now in the lower end of Barrineau Park with Spectrum. They keep going up. I only have internet, and they keep raising their prices. Maybe some competition in the area would sent them a signal.

  12. Dee on December 2nd, 2022 6:17 pm

    Don’t forget the cap and if you go over it can be as high as a extra $100 if you don’t watch it.
    If you think you’re going to go over it’s *only* another $50 to add unlimited.

    Just ridiculous…
    Would love to dump them.

  13. just a fact on December 2nd, 2022 5:45 pm

    cox for me has been a terrible company to communicate with.

  14. Luke A on December 2nd, 2022 3:05 pm

    I moved from an area where Cox held a monopoly for high speed internet and we overpaid by far for inferior service. EREC has been amazing for my electric service. Fair pricing, transparent increases (which are few and far between) and they seem to genuinely care about the community. Cox had no intention of expanding northward. They don’t care about this area, they just worry people might like ERECs superior/cheaper product. That might lead to awkward price questions and possibly turf wars down the line. Their proposed pricing tiers are ridiculous along with the subsidy requested. Keep Cox out of N Escambia.

  15. Betty Killam on December 2nd, 2022 2:49 pm

    Wanting service–Have called Cox many times trying to get service where I live. They are too busy and make too much money to appease the country folks in the very North end of the county. Please give this service contract to EREC. They will serve us also.

  16. John Bone Jones on December 2nd, 2022 2:25 pm

    @Kane, I have AT&T Fiber and is miles better than the Cox service it replaced.

  17. Carl on December 2nd, 2022 2:24 pm

    Cox Communications PR machine is trying the old smoke and mirrors trick to show the care.
    THEY DONT!
    COX partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast to launch the new $20,000 Cox Technology Innovation Lab that was unveiled at the Pensacola Club in Englewood on Wednesday.
    Trying to buy THEMSELVES into the EREC internet deal..trying to crawl like a slug through the media .
    ISNT IT FUNNY HOW THIS JUST NOW TOOK PLACE.
    Why did you think they just did this.
    Snakes in the weeds.
    Trying to buy themselves into the

  18. Wayne on December 2nd, 2022 1:06 pm

    @Cindy
    Yes they can…and its not an acquisition. Was never acquired.
    The better rate came after the agreement…which is an upgrade of services. In other words..their right.
    The people own EREC..its legit.
    The owners..the customers have spoken….101

  19. Time marches on on December 2nd, 2022 12:57 pm

    Cindy is correct.

    Escambia Procurement must be pulling their hair out.

  20. Patrick on December 2nd, 2022 11:47 am

    COX is the worst service available, and the highest price! They need to be run out of Escambia County PERMANENTLY! They are so greedy and money-hungry that they are one of the very few who impose data caps and overage charges. Outages are constant and never explained. They absolutely know that they are hated and loathed here in Escambia County……and just continue to raise prices. the Cox reaction to any outage and/or complaint? [shrugs with sheepish grin]

  21. My Two Cents on December 2nd, 2022 11:32 am

    I lived in an area with Cox Services worst cable/internet provider, and about every quarter or so you get a bill and your rates go up. Call to report an outage and they take there sweet time about getting to you to repair your problem.
    The rate increase has already started look at their proposal.
    Cox is $40.04 higher for 1 GIG / 1 GIG , and 2 GIG/ 2 GIG $ 50.04 higher than EREC proposal. YOU CAN BELIEVE IT WILL ONLY CONTINUE TO GO UP IF COX gets this project. Cox needs to PROVIDE the service to those who are stuck with them and quit trying to MONOPOLIZE this market.
    COMMISSIONERS this is a worth while fight and like someone said if it comes down to it take it to the tax payers who will be effected by this project.
    I have a relative who’s power is provided by EREC in Jay and says they provide a great service to their community.

  22. David Huie Green on December 2nd, 2022 11:16 am

    So either way, those of us on FPL — Bluff Springs Road for example –are excluded?

    (The story of my life.)

  23. Alan on December 2nd, 2022 10:51 am

    Left cox years ago to to price and service. When I moved to cantonment tried Spectrum they sucked always buffering left them went to T-Mobile 5g Home internet couldn’t be happier 50.00 flat rate and it’s fast enough for me never buffers and I only get 2 bars.

  24. Bill on December 2nd, 2022 10:43 am

    Cox can’t handle the customers they have now unless they improve their infrastructure they couldn’t handle the increased customer base

  25. Dlister on December 2nd, 2022 10:43 am

    I use to work for Cox, and I dumped them. Their prices have risen every single year for well over a decade. The price of their services just keep going up. Greed! Let the competition enter and lower the prices to affordable.

  26. Cindy on December 2nd, 2022 10:42 am

    I understand the arguments against Cox and for EREC, I really do. However, Cox has a valid argument for contesting the award. The County Board absolutely cannot change the scope of the proposal after bids are submitted to favor one bidder over another. This is acquisition 101.

  27. mnon on December 2nd, 2022 10:37 am

    Here’s the thing, I’ve had internet in Molino since 1989 on dial-up to CompuServ and AOL. I’ve had 12 lines run into my home running the largest gaming BBS on the gulf coast in the early to mid-90s. I’ve been in this game with the phone company and cable company for over 30 years now! I even worked for cox communications for a decade in technical support in the Pensacola office. Cox doesn’t NOT care about this area at all, nor does Spectrum or any other service provider. the ONLY company that has been in this area is EREC for decades, also Frontier but that’s another topic. The only reason now that Cox and these communication companies are chewing at the bit is because NOW they see potential and revenue… Well Cox, and all these other cable companies, you had your chance a decade ago to start moving in this direction and didn’t. You lose.

  28. EMD on December 2nd, 2022 9:55 am

    EREC actually cares about their customers and I love the people that work there. It is time for the customers to vote on this. EREC does an outstanding job. Why can’t the best win? EREC is the best I have ever known. Seems like much less than best is overtaking the whole country. NO TO COX YES TO EREC ! ! !

  29. Beach Boy on December 2nd, 2022 9:42 am

    I live in the south end of the county and I can tell you some horror stories about Cox. They rarely got our bill correct. Every month we were having to call to straighten out our bill. Then the next month, they tacked a portion of the previous month they said we owed. If Cox was the only service available….I would rather go buy an antenna from Walmart. Cox is “the worst” provider I’ve ever seen. If possible, we would love to see MediaCom come into the Pensacola area. But if not, EREC would be my choice.

  30. Wayne on December 2nd, 2022 9:37 am

    Ok Cox..your strong arm mafia tactics you have always employed will not work here.
    You think people dont have a choice and your going to try and play stupid games like a whiny child to get your little con to yourself.
    No one owes you squat you criminal enterprise.
    This shows what kind of mafia outfit you are.
    Go crawl back under the rock you can from…as you notice..the people have spoken.
    The door is that way!!!!

  31. Northwoods Resident on December 2nd, 2022 9:30 am

    Shame on COX for stirring the pot – No rocket science degree needed, EREC is the clear winner, less cost to county and customers and EREC promises to serve all its customers, most of which are unserved now and do so two years quicker. COX only mentions county facilities not unserved.

  32. Fire Cox on December 2nd, 2022 9:19 am

    I went from COX to T-Mobile for internet and Youtube TV for cable. Cut my bill 75%.

  33. Taylon on December 2nd, 2022 9:02 am

    What I would like to know is what was the criteria that Cox could score higher than EREC in the first place?

    Their name alone should tell you how they treat their customers…

  34. Kane on December 2nd, 2022 8:58 am

    Cox is definitely greedy and a dinosaur that should be allowed to go extinct but……have you ever had to use A.T&T Or brighthouse lol XD

  35. Paul on December 2nd, 2022 8:17 am

    Should be left up to residents who live in the north in of county here service is needed. EREC already services other utilities why not let them have internet too. Cox just wants to jack prices up.

  36. River Rat on December 2nd, 2022 8:11 am

    PLEASE remove Cox from Pensacola also. They are to expensive. We need more competition for our services. They basically have all of us by the gazeba’s! Prices go up every time ya turn around, same as ECUA.I pay never less than $330.00 per month for internet, cable and phone. I am going to streaming. They can take my phone and cable and shove it where the sun does not shine! For my Northend friends I pray Cox does not win this fight!

  37. Ensley Miss on December 2nd, 2022 7:56 am

    I live by the Winn Dixie on 9m.rd and have Cox panoramic wi-fi. It sucks and is costly.

  38. Anne on December 2nd, 2022 7:52 am

    Are we up early reading this newspaper? I have Cox service and would kill to have Media Com back from living in Pace. Cox thinks they own the country. Please, anyone involved, stop this arrogance!

  39. Molino Resident on December 2nd, 2022 7:19 am

    Residents should have a day in this deal. Cox is just greedy. Why would people want to pay the same price for 500 mbps internet from Cox when EREC will provide 2 Gigs for the same rate. Cox just wants more people to rip off with higher rates and probably more frequent rate increases. Cox has never had a presence in the north end. They just need to stick to ripping off Pensacola.

  40. Caraway Bandit on December 2nd, 2022 6:46 am

    “How dare they not let us provide an inferior service, to less homes, at a higher cost to customers, for 3x the requested investment, and take longer to complete!”

  41. Daryl on December 2nd, 2022 6:00 am

    So Cox is suing to provide an inferior product for a higher price over a longer period time. The suit will almost certainly delay The whole process. Thanks Cox.

  42. Jason on December 2nd, 2022 4:10 am

    Every year – sometimes twice a year – Cox has raised rates across the board on every service they offer. Between December 2020 and the new rates effective December 6, 2022, my rates have risen nearly $58 dollars per month or about 35%. Its the same service – nothing new – just lots more money being paid for it.

    Cox has had their franchise territory for decades. Maybe its time that the BCC revoke the COX agreement and rebid the territory so consumers can get some insight if another ISP can provide better service for less money.

  43. JR on December 2nd, 2022 3:45 am

    It’s fairly clear that EREC’s proposal includes more homes than Cox at 50% less cost to customers for 1 & 2 GB service. Looks like the commissioners made the best decision for county residents.

  44. AJJ on December 2nd, 2022 3:17 am

    WOW!WOW!
    look ar prices on last two tiers, $40 and $50 diff! And Cox saying it will take 3 years to complete… Wonder how many famous Cox price increases in those 3 years and how many delays? What an unduley law suite,I guess money talks here.

  45. Anyone BUT Cox on December 2nd, 2022 2:14 am

    Yes, PLEASE don’t let Cox win this. I am so tired of having Cox. Their customer service is absolutely awful.





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