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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Cox Communications will host its Interactive Smart Home event today to showcase its high-speed internet capabilities in Gainesville.

The event, located at 3648 NW 28th Court, comes after the Gainesville City Commission voted in February to study Gainesville and Alachua County’s internet problems, said Bryan Eastman, a co-founder of the internet advocacy group Connected Gainesville.

Gainesville’s internet coverage currently has the highest rates of any city in Florida, according to Alligator archives. Cox will have a showing at a Fletcher Oaks model home from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., said Cam Johnson, a Cox public affairs manager.

The smart home will be connected to more than 50 devices using the company’s high-speed internet.

“By 2022, we’ll have 50-plus devices in every home,” he said. “We want to show that Cox internet can support that today with packages already available to our customers.” Eastman said he agreed.

“I think Cox is 100-percent right,” Eastman said. “We’re going to be more dependent on high-speed internet in the future, but Gainesville lacks the accessibility and affordability to support that.”

Eastman added that some pockets in east Gainesville and Hawthorne can’t access broadband internet at all. One individual who will be at the event today is Gainesville City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos.

He said Cox invited him to the event. Gainesville has one company that sells broadband internet, and Cox takes advantage of the lack of competition, Hayes-Santos has said, according to archives.

“Being an innovation city means we should be a leader and not lagging behind the rest of the state,” Hayes-Santos said.

Johnson said Cox provides multiple high-speed internet packages that fit its customers’ needs, but the company is willing to help with the internet study.

“Cox hopes to be an active participant with the study,” Johnson said. “We’re happy to partner with the county and city to help with whatever the study may find.”

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