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PSA: Buy a cable modem if you're "leasing"
Old 11-03-2012, 12:22 PM   #1
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PSA: Buy a cable modem if you're "leasing"

I may be the only one so stupid, but Comcast has been charging me $7/mo to lease the cable modem they provide. Of course if anything goes wrong, they fix replace it. But I have spent enough "leasing" to buy several, and of course Comcast won't drop the charge no matter how long you've been paying (I asked). A quality Motorola cable modem with the same capability as the no-name modem Comcast provided cost $70 at Best Buy, so a 10 month breakeven. The Motorola comes with a 1-year warranty, so presumably you can't lose. I am sure the typical cable modem will last much more than 1 year.

If you go this route, make sure you turn your Comcast modem in to your local Comcast office and get a receipt and follow up to make sure it's taken off your monthly invoice in a timely fashion.

What started this: Comcast threatened to raise my monthly rate from $48.95 to $62.95*. When they've done so in the past, I told them I would switch to DSL, and they backed off. This time they refused to back off, so I dropped down one level keeping my monthly cost at $49.95**. They offer 7 performance levels and corresponding prices, I had no idea:
  • Economy
  • Economy Plus
  • Performance Starter**
  • Performance*
  • Blast!
  • Extreme 50
  • Extreme 105
So now we pay $49.95/mo instead of $55.95/mo ($48.95+$7.00). The difference in speed isn't even noticeable for most activities including streaming. It's only apparent on large downloads, and then it's not that bad. I may drop down another level or two and save even more.

I save $72/yr while Comcast loses $72/yr and gets a useless old modem back.

Every little bit counts. FWIW...

http://mydeviceinfo.comcast.net/
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Old 11-03-2012, 01:24 PM   #2
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Our most recent Time Warner Cable bill for our Roadrunner internet service has a notice that starting with our next bill we will now have to pay $3.95/mo for our cable modem. We can avoid the charge by purchasing our own modem and they gave links to which modems will work for our service.

The modem we would buy is $53.95, sold at Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart. My first reaction was that of course we would buy our own and avoid the new monthly charge. Talking to our son, who also has the same cable modem service at his place, he pointed out that in the last few years we both have had the occasion to trade in our modem at TWC for a newer one. Ours was a modem that just got flaky and slow, I don't remember what happened with his modem. The TWC office is close by and it's easy to exchange the modem, come home and connect it and make a call to activate the new ID number.

So, for now we are going to keep leasing TWCs modem. At any time we can go buy one and take theirs in and avoid the charge. Our son said he's been exchanging his modems about every 9-12 months. Still thinking about this one....... One thing to consider is that our local Walmart is open 24hrs/day and keeps our model of modem in stock so if we had an issue we could get one locally and not have to order and wait for it to ship and be without internet.
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Old 11-03-2012, 01:30 PM   #3
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Comcast is a monopoly in CA and it sucks. They dictate prices as they wish and there is no competition to be found. Why nobody screams "socialism" about Comcast?!
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Old 11-03-2012, 01:39 PM   #4
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I ran the same cable modem for years until I upgraded my service and purchased a new DOCSIS 3.0 modem. They should last way longer than a year or two.
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Old 11-03-2012, 02:36 PM   #5
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We will now have to pay $3.95/mo for our cable modem.

Talking to our son, who also has the same cable modem service at his place, he pointed out that in the last few years we both have had the occasion to trade in our modem at TWC for a newer one. Ours was a modem that just got flaky and slow, I don't remember what happened with his modem. The TWC office is close by and it's easy to exchange the modem, come home and connect it and make a call to activate the new ID number.

So, for now we are going to keep leasing TWCs modem. At any time we can go buy one and take theirs in and avoid the charge. Our son said he's been exchanging his modems about every 9-12 months.
Wow, I seriously doubt Comcast would let you just exchange modems "every 9-12 months." In 8 years or so, my first one failed after 4-5 years, and they asked questions before replacing it. I think they wanted to be sure it had really failed before they'd give me another, and the one they gave me was not new. I was on my second one, still going fine. So my experience is they last at least 4 years. YMMV

But $3.95/mo beats the heck out of $7.00/mo for a used no-name modem like I had.

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Originally Posted by Animorph View Post
I ran the same cable modem for years until I upgraded my service and purchased a new DOCSIS 3.0 modem. They should last way longer than a year or two.
I paid a little extra and bought DOCSIS 3.0 as well.
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Old 11-03-2012, 02:42 PM   #6
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Comcast is a monopoly in CA and it sucks. They dictate prices as they wish and there is no competition to be found. Why nobody screams "socialism" about Comcast?!
Not so sure about "socialism", but I do scream "we need more competition"! But I don't scream too loud, as I just don't have cable. DW wants it, but I told her it would be bad for my blood pressure. I can really get worked up dealing with utility-like companies.

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Old 11-03-2012, 03:38 PM   #7
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Comcast is a monopoly in CA and it sucks. They dictate prices as they wish and there is no competition to be found. Why nobody screams "socialism" about Comcast?!
Hum, I live in CA and use AT&T U-verse.
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Old 11-03-2012, 03:40 PM   #8
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I orginally had one from the cable company. Got it free over 10 years ago with the original signup agreement. After a management change they started to want a $5 lease fee + a maintence fee per month. I got one off ebay for $20 and took theirs back.
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Old 11-03-2012, 03:56 PM   #9
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Not so sure about "socialism", but I do scream "we need more competition"! But I don't scream too loud, as I just don't have cable. DW wants it, but I told her it would be bad for my blood pressure. I can really get worked up dealing with utility-like companies.

-ERD50
Yeah, sort of the opposite, a monopoly. But, an unwieldy bureaucracy nonetheless...
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:15 PM   #10
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If you go this route, make sure you turn your Comcast modem in to your local Comcast office and get a receipt and follow up to make sure it's taken off your monthly invoice in a timely fashion
Thanks for the reminder. I had turned in my modem to Comcast last month, and see your post reminded me to check my new bill. Sure enough, the 7.00 charge was still on the bill. I just got off the phone with them and will be receiving a credit.
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:32 PM   #11
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Website for comcast modems

DOCSIS Devices

Use the "end of Life" option to see which modems Comcast recommends and which ones they consider to be ineligible for use. Even if you have an older 2.0 or earlier Docsis version, you can use the older modems, but they don't tell you that. I have a DOCSIS 2.0 which is good enough for my use... it's on the end of life list, Had to insist to use it when I moved. I suppose gamers would be better off with a 3.0.
BTW, if you buy a modem, and turn in your rental, be SURE you get a receipt. You'll need it to for proof, when your billing doesn't change. Also, if you have any other equipment, be absolutely sure to get a receipt. After a move I received a "generic" bill for all possible equipment $410.00... and it took three months and a lawyer letter to get it resolved.

In our area, modems are available at resale stores for from $2 to $10. (DOCSIS 2.0). YMMV

My experience with Comcast has been very bad... Have to be strong and stick to your guns in any dispute...IMO much, much incompetence... If in a discussion with a rep, and anything seems wrong, immediately ask to escalate the call. The rep is not allowed to deviate from the "script", so more discussion usually goes nowhere, except to raise blood pressure. If supervisor discussions go badly, always ask for employee ID number.

Google "comcast sucks" and find 1.9 million results.

One more thing... the current "on time" guarantee... $20 credit for late service. Our service here is bad, so I've collected twice already, this year. Unfortunately, no options at all, except satellite.

My opinion only.
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:36 PM   #12
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I've tried to make this suggestion to my kids, save a few bucks per month, but I don't think they want any possible hassles.

Can't say I blame them too much, they are very busy with their lives at this stage, mucking around and setting up a modem or router for a few bucks isn't high on their list.

Me, I like the challenge, and have the time, so it's almost a no-brainer (well, I don't have cable, but on similar things.

-ERD50
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Old 11-03-2012, 08:04 PM   #13
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I've had bad luck with wireless routers, which die after 2 years or so, but my cable modem has lasted about 5 years. The DOCSIS level is only for greater bandwidth; a DOCSIS 2.0 modem is more than sufficient for streaming movies.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOCSIS

I dropped cable and went to DSL recently. The 7MBPS is plenty for streaming on 2 computers or playing a game on one and streaming on the other.
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:31 PM   #14
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Hum, I live in CA and use AT&T U-verse.

Do you run 25 mbps?
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Old 11-03-2012, 09:36 PM   #15
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Yeah, sort of the opposite, a monopoly. But, an unwieldy bureaucracy nonetheless...
Not much different to. No choice, single player, 'socialism' for Comcast as they are allowed (by the local, state governments I guess) rip-off all around them.
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:02 PM   #16
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Brings back memories of the old days with Ma Bell. I remember after that monopoly divested, my mom still had a rental phone for about a year until one day one of her son's said..."What the heck? Still renting? When now you can buy a phone for next to nothing!"
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:06 PM   #17
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Do you run 25 mbps?
18 mbps.
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:11 PM   #18
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18 mbps.
Really? And how much does it cost?
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:13 PM   #19
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Really? And how much does it cost?
$53 a month (bundled).
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:17 PM   #20
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$53 a month (bundled).
Well, my Comcast runs ~24 Mbps and it's shame not to have ATT U-verse available in San Francisco and I am nostalgic for $15 per month rates...
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