Marking the pursuit of a new revenue stream for its broadband business, Cox Communications has begun to kick the tires on a premium low-lag service tailored for online gamers who take the MSO's higher-end speed tiers.
The trial offering, called Cox Elite Gamer and currently limited to Cox subscribers in Arizona who get speeds of at least 100 Mbit/s (downstream), fetches $14.99 per month for two licenses (allowing two users in the home to use the low-latency capability). Additional licenses (up to five) run $4.99 per month each.
Cox said Cox Elite Gamer is a white-labeled version of WTFast, a service based out of Canada that currently retails for $14.99 per month, or $149.90 for an annual subscription (roughly $12.49 per month).
Cox said it will conduct the trial for three months, and will later evaluate the results to determine next steps.
Despite the fact that WTFast already offers the product in the direct-to-consumer segment, Cox's white-label version of the product will likely raise the hackles of network neutrality advocates as the "Save the Internet Act" aims to reverse the FCC's rollback of past rules.
Cox stressed that Cox Elite Gamer steers clear of network neutrality concerns in part because it does not prioritize gaming traffic ahead of other traffic on the MSO's network and does not boost the speed of any Internet traffic travelling pn its networks. Cox said its new low-latency service stabilizes connections to gaming servers by providing "enhanced routing to gaming-related Internet endpoints." It's an optional add-on to the Cox Internet service but is not in itself an Internet service, the company added.
"This offering would be permissible regardless of regulatory environment as it does not alter speed in any way nor does it prioritize any traffic over others on our network," a Cox spokesman said in a statement. "Cox Elite Gamer solves a problem with deficiencies in the public Internet, NOT our network. No customer's experience is degraded as a result of any customers purchasing Cox Elite Gamer service as an add-on to their Internet service."
For more about the trial and how low-lag gaming services could be used to open up a new revenue stream for ISPs, please see this story at our sister site, Light Reading.
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