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  • Stop paying $200 a year for your Internet cable modem

    Posted on Will Fastie Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Stop paying $200 a year for your Internet cable modem

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      • #2329156
        Will Fastie
        Manager

        PUBLIC DEFENDER Stop paying $200 a year for your Internet cable modem By Brian Livingston If there’s anything I hate, it’s paying $15 or $20 a month f
        [See the full post at: Stop paying $200 a year for your Internet cable modem]

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2329280
        Colorado_Hiker
        AskWoody Plus

        You bring out excellent points on how to save some money if you use your own modem instead of one provided by your ISP.  However, if you use the ISP’s modem, not only do you get a replacement if it dies, etc., BUT… if you have any type of connectivity issue AND you are using your own modem, you’re going to beat your head against the wall to get the ISP to take responsibility.  You’ll most likely get the response, “Oh, well, there must be something wrong with your modem”.

        I personally HATE paying Comcast their monthly rental fee.  However, I hate more the brain-damage I have to go through to get them to fix a problem that is on their end.  So, I sigh, and pay the monthly fee.  Maybe this is a new form of “ransomware” where the ISP holds you ransom unless you pay their fee!

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2330381
          anonymous
          Guest

          Very true….. I have been beating my head again the wall for months, with intermitted Internet service speed from Xfinity. And what I have found out is, most all the companies that make those Internet Modems (like Netgear)  only give you 90 days of customer service. If you have a problem after that, you have to pay $80 to extend that customer service –  for them to check  if your Modem is defective. I am about ready to buy another modem, since it will be a lot cheaper to do.

      • #2329413
        MHCLV941
        AskWoody Plus

        Cox Cable (in southern Nevada, at least) seems to be a lot more laid back than other ISPs.

        While it will rent you a modem, it also publishes a long list of modems you can buy and it will support so long as you don’t have telephone service from it.  If you do have phone service from it, Cox provides a suitable no-Wi-Fi modem at no cost.  The non-Wi-Fi modem is DOCSIS 3.1 and will handle gigabyte speeds.  I have not looked into how ones that include Wi-Fi are priced with and without phone service.

        In contrast, Centurylink is downright dictatorial with respect to a DSL modem.  Rent or buy one from if or expect little or no support at all.  It does, however, appear to discount its approved DSL modems compared to the devices’ prices on Amazon.

        You also mention using a third party VOIP service.  Before doing so, make sure how doing so impacts your ISP bill.  In my case, dropping Cox phone service would actually increase my bill.

        • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by MHCLV941.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2329357
        Brian Livingston
        AskWoody MVP

        Writers can’t be on the forum all of the time, and I myself won’t always be in here, either. But I’ll pop in if I ever have some spare time. I hope you’ll help each other as much as you can. I’ll try to keep my columns as full of useful information as possible. Thanks for reading! —Brian Livingston

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2329635
        BATcher
        AskWoody_MVP

        Brian: we in the UK, and quite possibly/probably elsewhere, do not pay our ISPs $200 a year for a cable modem or for an ISP-supplied router (for ADSL) – we get either “free” as part of the chosen broadband package (which might also include cable TV and a mobile phone (=cellphone) service).

        I do wish that people could get over the unthinking assumption that absolutely everything in the world operates exactly in the same way as it does in the US…

        BATcher

        Ascetics go without, mystics go within.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2329745
          anonymous
          Guest

          Yep same here in a lil country in eu. Get a free modem while you are subscribed should be standard imo 🙂 Got mine fried by lightning but it was also 13 years old using adapter from wd external disk, because i didnt fell like calling tech. Replaced in 1day no problem.

          Americans always had bad internet, with caps, monopolies and stuff in certain places.

          He didnt mention that some providers/countries supply it for free? Maybe he didnt know.

          • #2333640
            MHCLV941
            AskWoody Plus

            He didnt mention that some providers/countries supply it for free? Maybe he didnt know.

            Or perhaps he was not addressing the EU in the first place.

             

      • #2329688
        Larry B
        AskWoody Lounger

        My ISP Spectrum provides its customers with a free modem for usage while you are a paying customer.  Everyone knows that nothing is free.  Do they have a loophole with this new law?

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2329740
        John18
        AskWoody Plus

        For now I am on DSL via CenturyLink.  I am hoping Brian addresses the DSL crowd.  I don’t think we have many options, but would like to know that as a fact.

      • #2329793
        Eric Kisch
        AskWoody Plus

        You say we don’t need really high speeds of e.g., 100 mb download speeds for “normal” use including watching streamed videos and movies.  I regularly send very large video and audio files via WeTransfer.  Would a 100 MB service be of value in this case?  Or should I downsize to 25 mb?  Thanks.

        • #2333717
          MHCLV941
          AskWoody Plus

           I regularly send very large video and audio files via WeTransfer

          The operative word in your post is “send“.

          Nearly all internet service is asymmetric – the download speed is far greater than the upload speed, i.e., the “send” speed (there are exceptions but few and/or expensive).  Finding the upload speeds for an ISP’s offerings is very hard; nearly all only address download speeds unless you really dig.  I’ve had Cox reps tell me they don’t have the information!   I found a couple of third-party sources that list Cox Cable’s offerings between 10 to 940 Mbps download but only 1 t0 35 Mbps upload speeds.

          The figures quoted in the article were for download use, streaming video, music, game playing and so forth.

          • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by MHCLV941.
      • #2329804
        anonymous
        Guest

        Does this not depend on the country in which you live?  Also it may also come down to where the ISP(s) are sanctioned to operate within the country, e.g. state/province/territory.  Fees can be embedded in the bill (or depending on government regulations), the company has to break out what each fee represents.

        Recently, the rental fee on the SDTV cable box from my ISP doubled even though there was no reason given.  The box I have is older than my adult children.  Since they did not elaborate we can only assume that it was a blatant money grab.  ISPs embrace a business model that allows them to rake in fees for both SDTV and HDTV modems even though most TVs today support both standards.  It must be because there are more SDTV cable  users. This is probably due to the rental fee on the HD cable modems being even more excessive.

        My ISP website does not state that you can not use a non-company rental, but a click on their forum/community does state very clearly that you can not use any cable box that is not from the company. They do this by denying activation.

        However, they value me as a customer!!!

      • #2329868
        jpaterjr
        AskWoody Plus

        I recently moved into a new neighborhood and have ATT optical. The ATT gateway cost $10 per month. I have looked at a way to purchase  my own modem/router but I am told that ATT will not allow use on non ATT provided equipment. Apparently my only option is to put their gateway in bridge mode and provide my own router or mesh system.

      • #2329979
        anonymous
        Guest

        Just a comment on Comcast rental. I have my own modem and router. But recently, Comcast imposed data caps. If you accept modem rental, the cost is $25 per month but if you don’t want rental, then cost is $30!

        • #2332868
          anonymous
          Guest

          This is just so convoluted, its not like they are not making money hand over fist with already laid out cables, equipment and occasional upgrades.

          Here we get modem/router, 1tvbox, telephone included in basic subscription. And they get massive discounts I would think, for all of this equipment.

      • #2330031
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        I regularly send very large video and audio files via WeTransfer.

        For sending files it is the upload speed that matters and most Internet connections are not Symmetrical (same download & upload speed).

        If you backup or sync files with cloud serves (iCloud, Google Drive, OneDrive) high upload speed is essential.

        • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Alex5723.
      • #2330206
        WSHonkwomp
        AskWoody Plus

        PUBLIC DEFENDER Stop paying $200 a year for your Internet cable modem By Brian Livingston If there’s anything I hate, it’s paying $15 or $20 a month f
        [See the full post at: Stop paying $200 a year for your Internet cable modem]

        I have never paid for a cable modem till this last iteration where Spectrum “includes it” (read, we charge you for it whether you have it or not) But one thing consistent over all the years is that the best wireless solution is a discrete wireless router separate from the cable modem. Not once has a combo cable modem/ wireless router setup worked to my satisfaction.

      • #2330209
        WSHonkwomp
        AskWoody Plus

        You bring out excellent points on how to save some money if you use your own modem instead of one provided by your ISP.  However, if you use the ISP’s modem, not only do you get a replacement if it dies, etc., BUT… if you have any type of connectivity issue AND you are using your own modem, you’re going to beat your head against the wall to get the ISP to take responsibility.  You’ll most likely get the response, “Oh, well, there must be something wrong with your modem”.

        I personally HATE paying Comcast their monthly rental fee.  However, I hate more the brain-damage I have to go through to get them to fix a problem that is on their end.  So, I sigh, and pay the monthly fee.  Maybe this is a new form of “ransomware” where the ISP holds you ransom unless you pay their fee!

        I experienced that same  “it is the modem you bought” thing.

      • #2330225
        Geo
        AskWoody Plus

        I have Verizon DSL  modem only no Wifi.  I have  1Mbp.  I  stream movies after midnight with little or no buffering since most people are in bed.

      • #2330564
        Nathan Parker
        AskWoody_MVP

        I got tired of my ISP’s equipment and not being able to control my LAN (they wouldn’t let me into my own router). I ended up moving to Cisco Small Business gear (RV345 Router and CBW240AC WAP and purchased service contracts on them. This puts me in control of the LAN, plus I still have 24/7 support with Cisco and next-business-day replacement on the equipment if it fries.

        Nathan Parker

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2330540
        anonymous
        Guest

        Cable modem rental prices should be restricted to only 150% of the cable companies costs to purchase the equipment so Modem Rental fees need to be lowered anyways. But I’m getting ready to cancel Comcast as the Data Caps are now rolling out in all regions . So no more  that for any ISP that’s got Data Caps and I’m in an area with many providers. My monthly Cable Modem rental cost $14 per month up from around $6 from when I first got service.

        That’s it for me and Comcast. or any other provider with monthly data caps!

      • #2330601
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Nathan, ” I ended up moving to Cisco Small Business gear (RV345 Router and CBW240AC WAP and purchased service contracts on them.

        What is considered to be a “small business” here? How does one prove one is a small business in this particular context? (I still work, and earn, as an independent consultant on my specialty).

        Also, I use a Verizon bundle, over Verizon’s fiberoptics, consisting of: Internet, plus land-line telephone, plus cable TV, that I would like to keep, except for the TV that I no longer watch, as now I practically always read online, or else stream, the news, movies and shows that interest me.

        My problem is that if I got rid of the TV but kept the other two, I am being ask by Verizon to pay even more than I do now with TV+set box included!

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

      • #2330677
        Nathan Parker
        AskWoody_MVP

        As long as you buy the equipment and pay the money for it (from a Cisco dealer, I use Provantage), they’ll sell it to you without “proving” to be a business. Work at home is getting popular with Cisco Small Business equipment since you get business-grade equipment in your home environment.

        I’ve found their equipment prices (especially at Provantage) comparable to high-end consumer gear (and in some cases even lower-cost), so getting business-grade equipment affordably was worth it.

        Nathan Parker

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2331508
          mn–
          AskWoody Lounger

          That “proving you’re a business” thing can get all kinds of weird in some cases.

          Small nonprofits apparently qualify in at least some cases. Was a bit of a bother getting that in writing though. (Spouse is planning to resign as the secretary in the next meeting, so we can pass that printer and related equipment to whoever ends up with that chore…)

          Of course locally it eventually goes back to tax code if someone gets into the legalese about it, but that doesn’t help with overseas vendors.

          Yep same here in a lil country in eu. Get a free modem while you are subscribed should be standard imo 🙂

          Here in one EU country, my DSL connection came with modem included (and replacements). Was a sort of bad one though so bought my own anyway, just had to reproduce any problems with the included one… which I did quite regularly.

          That was with the copper telephone wire on overhead poles, which got removed some months ago. So, no more DSL.

          Now, I had the option of renting a mobile-broadband modem or buying one myself. Looked at the prices and the rental seemed expensive, so I went and bought my own, from a local brand that’s been good in the past… and it’s apparent that I got a bad one, and their warranty service has gotten worse too. Bother.

          Still cheaper this way though, and no operator lock – works with any regular SIM that has the right kind of data service enabled.

      • #2331035
        Mele20
        AskWoody Lounger

        I’m a legacy TWC user under Spectrum. The majority of cable internet users in Hawaii remain legacy TWC (and losing that is a big consideration if you are thinking about moving elsewhere in Hawaii). I’ve always owned my own modem and it has always been (always will be) a Surfboard (from Motorola originally and now Arris). I also own my Linksys router. I have several discounts still in force from TWC days so my bill is pretty reasonable.

        I made a point many years ago to get to know folks at what was then Oceanic TWC here and I don’t get that c***, if there is a problem, that it must be my modem (since I own it). I don’t call the Spectrum number but a local number or just stop in the office where everyone knows me.

        I had three years of warranty support free from Arris when my modem was new (it’s DOCSIS 3.0) and Linksys replaced my router for free when it was just under two years of age and suddenly had problems. When these need replacing, I will buy the same brands. I have 200/20 and if I had Spectrum instead of legacy TWC, my monthly bill would be much higher and my upload peed would be a puny 10mbps as Spectrum is much worse in that regard than TWC used to be.

        • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Mele20.
      • #2331467
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Would a 100 MB service be of value in this case?  Or should I downsize to 25 mb?

        I depends on how long you are prepared to wait for your files to transfer and how much you would save with the downgrade. There is no hard and fast rule for your hip pocket.

        cheers, Paul

      • #2331563
        RebusCom
        AskWoody Plus

        The article stated that higher speed (and cost) plans are typically not worth it as it’s underutilized when hi-def video streaming does fine on far less bandwidth.  Not mentioned though is that most non-fiber plans are highly asynchronous.  A 25Mbps down advertised rate may be capped at <5Mbps up.  You might have to go to 100Mbps just to get a 7Mbps up, or a 600Mbps down to get a 10Mbps up.  For someone that does cloud backups for instance, the uplink is woefully inadequate for most and higher rate plans are the only way to gain a bit more uplink.

      • #2334206
        Brian Livingston
        AskWoody MVP

        My thanks to everyone who provided valuable comments on my column. It’s impossible to write about every combination of provider and options. But I’ll strive to cover the most important variations in my columns to come! Thanks again….

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2336202
        carpintero
        AskWoody Lounger

        seven video streams at once used only about 7.1 Mbps
        I tried to find in the whitepaper the resolution(s) of the seven streams.
        I found these general statements about resolutions :
        – “some videos are only available in SD, and thus, will stream at 480p”
        – ” our video quality inference model outputs one of five resolution classes: 240, 360, 480, 720, or 1080p

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