Saturday, September 21, 2013

Stop renting your Internet modem from Time Warner Cable

This month I got a reminder from Manilla that my cable Internet bill had increased by $2.04 from the regular $38.94 bill to a whopping $40.98.  How could this happen?  Instead of just shrugging my shoulders and blindly waiting for my autopay to cover the bill, I decided to call Time Warner Cable and see what was up.

Internet Modem Lease fee
While chatting with a customer service representative, I found out two interesting tidbits about my cable Internet account. 

First, I found out that I was being automatically charged $3.95 a month for Internet Modem Lease fee for the last 8 months.  Time Warner Cable used to offer use of its cable modem hardware for free for its customers if you supplied your own router.  This all changed starting 8 months ago when TWC started charging the monthly $3.95 fee to all its customers who were using their equipment.  This little fee has added up to $31.60 (8 x $3.95) over time.  I was quite annoyed with myself for missing that sneaky charge.   

The second surprise with my Internet account was that Time Warner Cable has just decided to increase their Internet Modem Lease fee to $5.99 a month!  This little $2.04 monthly fee increase makes the new Internet Modem Lease fee $71.88 a year.  Now I was getting mad at Time Warner.

I knew I had to stop paying for this stupid and sneaky fee like a chump.

The first thing I did was look up the list of cable modems that Time Warner Cable said were compatible with their service:
Then I searched on and then to get an idea of how much these modems would cost me.  The prices of these cable modems ranged from the $60 Netgear CG3000D to the $130 Motorola SBG6580 for use with the standard speed internet connections up 15Mbps.  Time Warner Cable says that these choices have the best compatibility with your Internet service.  All of these modems are DOCSIS 3.0.

You do not need DOCSIS 3.0
Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) is a telecommunications standard used by your cable modem to provide you with Internet access.  These fancy new modems are all DOCSIS 3.0, which provide the fastest possible Internet service speeds, up to 343 Mbps.  While DOCSIS 2.0 devices have been around since 2001, they still get the job done at providing Internet service speeds up to 43 Mbps.  

Since we’ve been happily rocking 15 Mbps speeds without complaint, I knew we that we were fine with using a DOCSIS 2.0 device.  Here is our latest Internet speed test result:

Before buying one of these fancy new modems, I walked over to my current cable modem to take a look at what I’ve been using for the last 3 years (and renting for the last 8 months).  

We’re currently using the Cisco DPC2100R2 Cable Modem, a DOCSIS 2.0 device:
Hrmmm, looks like it’s a DOCSIS 2.0 modem.

So while Time Warner insists that its users buy these fancy future proof DOCSIS 3.0 modems, they have no problems renting users a cable modem of much older technology for $5.99 every month?  I don't expect any of Time Warner Cable's modem renting customers to be upgraded to any DOCSIS 3.0 modems any time soon.  WTF Time Warner?!

I searched on eBay and found the same cable modem being sold for $12.48 with free shipping.  This modem will pay for itself after 2 months.
Since this was the exact same cable modem that I’ve been using for the last 3 years, I knew that it would work without issue.  

I received the new (used) modem 3 days later and then plugged it in.  I called Time Warner Cable at 1-800-892-2253 and spoke with a equipment representative, who got my new modem activated over the phone.  The whole process took less than 5 minutes.
The next day I dropped off my old cable modem at one of the local Time Warner Cable’s stores.  Luckily there was one very close to where we live in our same city.  I was instantly credited with $5.99 to my bill and will no longer be charged this ridiculous modem lease fee.

You can find TWC’s FAQ on activating your new modem here.
You can find TWC’s Internet modem lease FAQ here

Every dollar in savings will help you towards financial freedom.  See Mr. Money Mustache's post on how a millionaire is made ten bucks at a time.

Are you currently renting a cable modem from Time Warner Cable?  It’s estimated that 9 million of Time Warner’s 11 million customers will pay the fee.  Are you going to be one of those chumps?

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