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Comcast and Time Warner Cable hike modem fees as much as 33%

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Comcast and Time Warner Cable have just raised fees for renting a modem so high that it now makes sense to buy your own. Even if it’s a headache installing it.

The cable companies just hiked the monthly rates they charge customers for leasing their modems — a somewhat hidden charge that most people don’t even think about.

The price hikes are significant: Time Warner Cable’s fee is leaping from $5.99 to $8, and Comcast’s fee is jumping from $8 to $10.

That’s a surprise 25% to 33% price surge. In the case of Time Warner Cable, this is the second fee increase in just over a year. Some Comcast Xfinity customers weren’t notified until mid-December that prices would be raised on Jan. 1.

Time Warner Cable noted that the fee pays for “guaranteed full support and maintenance.” Comcast did not return calls for comment.

Why buying makes sense now

People typically rent a modem for three reasons: Self-installation is a confusing chore. You might buy a modem that’s not compatible. And most importantly, they’re expensive.

But the game has changed. Consider the yearly fees: Time Warner Cable’s rental fee is now $96. Comcast’s rental is now $120.

If you buy a Motorola SB6121 modem, it’ll pay for itself in less than a year. If you buy the faster Motorola SBG6580 (modems don’t have sexy or memorable names), it’ll pay for itself in just over a year.

Be warned: Buying your own modem requires homework. Not all modems are compatible with Time Warner Cable and Comcast homes.

If you’re a Time Warner Cable customer, you can look up whether a modem is compatible with its network on the company’s website. Comcast customers can do the same on that company’s website. You’ll need to know a little about your current plan to figure it out.

And as Gizmodo noticed, be extra careful with Time Warner Cable. The company has a long, extensive list of dozens of approved devices that are older and therefore less expensive — but only if you’re renting. If you’re buying, you can only pick from a handful of modems.

Comcast and Time Warner Cable are seeking federal approval for their proposed $45 billion merger.

10 comments

  • Joe

    We got rid of Comcast years ago. If you think the high fees are bad, try dealing with the most arrogant excuse for customer service in the country.

  • Pamik Green

    ALL Cable companies SUCK! They have us over a barrel and can rape the consumer anytime they want. You can’t explain it away saying it costs more to transmit stations, etc. It’s just the piggies in the exec suites that need more money for their retirement packages.

    • Frederick Altland

      People need to complain to the FCC. Complain to the FCC Chair Tom Wheeler and all the other commissioners. The more people complain more more can be done. Also people need to start reading their bills and challenge the charges on their bills.

  • Jim

    Google ” Amazon fire stick”.
    All the cable companies do suck as Pamik said.
    Ordered the stick yesterday on Amazon, they are sold out til February 2nd

  • king ruddy Jikubad2

    Commentators should either stop commenting or change their monickers ! Well,I will tell the people why. If you follow the comments it is like taking a roller coaster ride. I know you were warned about generic drug prices on the rise by the greedy. I know you are aware everything went Outrageous High when the backbone was annihilated. Looks to me street drugs are getting cheaper than some heart medicines.People are getting away with pre planned crimes all the time.The flu shot did not work for me a bit!There is not near enough jobs for all these people here!ALL these liars acting professional!WOULD EVERYONE PLEASE STOP!!!!

    • OneMan'sOpinion

      Hey Ruddy buddy,
      Try typing your comments in the box about the story or comments that are written above it.You’ll waste a lot less of your time that way. But of course, that’s just one man’s opinion, eh?

  • Frederick Altland

    Comcast just loves to rip it’s customers off. They did the same to me changing my bill stating “The changes you have requested will be made. Watch your bill for cramming. Stream Pix was free then they started to charge $4.99 for it. They sent me my current cable modem that has a wireless gateway something I didn’t ask for. Also watch your bill for the little fee that ad up. Broadcast TV fee, Regional sports fee, and the landlord fee are just some of the extra fees they use to pad the bill. The Broadcast TV fee which I just found out about it used to defer costs comcast for retransmission consent fees. These are the fees that broacasters charge to carry their signal. If the FCC allows comcast to merge with Time Warner we will all be doomed. It will be like the AT&T of the 80’s. The AT&T of the 80’s controled home (landline) phone service. You couldn’t even afford local phonee service. This was without long distance service.

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