Cox Communications will invest $60 million during the next three years to improve Internet speed for Santa Barbara County communities, according to an announcement made Monday by Cox Communications President Mark Greatrex.
“Most smart devices need to make real-time decisions because many of them will be autonomous,” Greatrex said.
During the past five years, the company invested $60 million in the backbone and the foundation for the infrastructure network. It will invest another $60 million to upgrade the network.
Cox also is also working with elected officials to close the digital divide and make the Internet more accessible to low-income customers.
“In the wake of the pandemic, we launched a new affordability program for all low-income customers — Connect Assist — and we’re an active partner in the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program,” said Kirsten McLaughlin, market vice president for Santa Barbara Cox Communications.
Erica Reyes, district director for Rep. Salud Carbajal, shared that funding for programs such as ACP is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Use of Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Funding to Help Close the Digital Divide that will work to improve broadband for low-income homes who need improved Internet access for online learning or telemedicine.
Following the announcement was Cox’s Smart Stories tour hosted by sustainability influencer Ashley Renne.
The tour highlighted ways that any home can become a smart home by incorporating smart technology into household items such as smart plugs, which are designed to save users money and energy.
The event showcased a prototype for a smart home made up of three immersive experiences — health and wellness, security and management, and entertainment — all of which were powered by Cox.
“Three of the benefits I’d say I really enjoyed the most about having a smart home is security, efficiency and sustainability,” Renne said.
Some smart features of the house included a gaming area, a “Yoga Time” section, a gardening area, cooking and coffee machines, and security devices — all of which were controllable through voice-command devices such as the Amazon Alexa or Google Home. However, users can also control their home from the Cox app on their smartphone.