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Update #2: Time Warner Cable Will Begin Charging Virtually All Customers $3.95 Cable Modem Rental Fee

Phillip Dampier October 2, 2012 Consumer News, Data Caps, Editorial & Site News, TWC (see Charter) 92 Comments

Most Time Warner Cable broadband customers across the country will soon pay a $3.95 a month cable-modem lease fee in an effort by the cable operator to boost revenue by as much as $300 million annually.

New York City-area customers will be the first to see the modem rental charge, and customers began receiving postcards this week informing them of the new fee, which begins Oct. 15.

“It’s an outrage considering how much Time Warner Cable is already charging for broadband service,” says Stop the Cap! reader B.J., who received notification in yesterday’s mail. “My Ubee cable modem is four years old and they want to charge almost $50 a year for something that costs $40 retail brand new? Not a chance. I am calling Verizon. Goodbye Time Warner.”

A Time Warner Cable spokesperson said the company is busily printing notification cards that will arrive in customer mailboxes across the country in the next two months.

“Customers have the choice to purchase a modem from a third-party retailer to avoid paying the $3.95 per month,” according to the cable company.

Last year, Time Warner began gradually rolling out a $2.50 modem rental fee for new customers, but exempted current ones. Now the cable operator has increased the rental fee and intends to impose it on everyone except Starter Internet, Connected Learning, SignatureHome and certain IntelligentHome customers.

The cable operator may get resistance from customers, but Wall Street analysts state other cable operators, including Comcast, already charge up to $7 a month for modem leases.

Many customers will elect to buy their own cable modem, but the cable company has severely limited its approved device list in many areas to just a single manufacturer: Motorola Mobility, despite still leasing out often less-costly models from seven other manufacturers.

“It’s convenient how they will lease out inexpensive Ubee cable modems made in China but they won’t let you buy one,” says B.J. “There is nothing wrong with Motorola modems, but it reduces customer choice.”

Time Warner Cable (and Stop the Cap!) recommends all customers who plan to buy modems choose a DOCSIS 3 model for future compatibility. The company has switched out cable modems for customers at least twice over the decade plus history of cable broadband service. If history holds, the estimated useful life for a DOCSIS 2 cable modem will probably be five years or less before future standards make them obsolete. DOCSIS 2 modems are not capable of supporting the fastest broadband speeds, while DOCSIS 3 modems often cost just a little more.

Time Warner Cable’s Approved Modem List in the Northeastern U.S. And Our Reviews (all prices approximate, from Amazon.com — consult Time Warner Cable’s website for specific modems approved in your area):


Recommended Motorola SurfBoard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem ($100): The SB6141 is now on the approved list for most TWC service areas and has gotten excellent reviews. It is an upgrade from the 6121, now off the list of approved devices. The 6121 could only support four-channel bonding for upstream and downstream, while the 6141 supports up to eight downstream channels and four upstream channels increasing data rates to over 300Mbps for received data and over 100Mbps when sending data. The only downside is that it is harder to find in stock for purchase.

Motorola SURFboard Gateway SBG6580 DOCSIS 3.0 Wireless Cable Modem ($117): The 6580 includes built-in gigabit Ethernet and a Wireless-N router, so it theoretically could replace your home router. My personal experience with cable modem-router combinations has been less than glowing, however. Consider this only if you do not already have a Wireless-N router. This model gets overall good, but not excellent reviews.

DOCSIS 2 – Consider a DOCSIS 3 modem to guarantee future compatibility.

Motorola Surfboard SB5101 Cable Modem ($50): This workhorse DOCSIS 2 cable modem has been around since 2003 and is popular with cable companies and customers, with a proven track record of performance. But it is not DOCSIS 3-capable, which means its useful life may be shortened as cable broadband standards continue to evolve.

Motorola Surfboard SB5101U Cable Modem ($53): Functionally equivalent to the 5101, the 5101U was introduced in tandem with Motorola’s cheaper 5101N model that omitted the USB port and driver CD. Choose the 5101 or 5101U based on which model is currently selling at the lowest price.

Not recommended Motorola SURFboard Gateway SBG901 DOCSIS 2.0 Wireless Cable Modem ($84): Overpriced and mixed reviews plague this aging Motorola DOCSIS 2 modem with built-in wireless G support. You would do better buying a Wireless N router yourself, or consider the SBG6580 if you absolutely need built-in Wi-Fi.

Updated 4:54pm ET: Readers report the SB6141 now has the best chance of being on TWC’s list of approved equipment, so we’re deleting the 6121 and replacing it with the 6141. If you happened to place an order for the 6121, make sure you verify whether it is on your area’s approved list. If not, cancel the order.

Update #2 10:00am ET 10/17/12: After publishing, Time Warner Cable overhauled their entire website. We have updated the link for the current approved list. None of the models have changed as far as I can see. I have also deleted the model 6121 entirely from the story — it is not on any approved list I’ve seen. As of today, the gouging continues on eBay with the 6141, still selling for up to $200. Amazon.com sellers have also jacked up the price to take advantage of current demand, though not as much.

Do NOT pay eBay sellers $200 for the 6141, which normally sells for $99. It only encourages the bottom-feeding speculators. If you want the 6141, I recommend you wait until prices drop to between $99-125. Do not pay more.

Some readers are finding used/refurbished cable modems that work perfectly fine on Craigslist and eBay. There is generally nothing wrong with these, unless they happen to be stolen or unreturned modems that really belong to Time Warner Cable, which will in turn not activate them. Be careful.

Currently there are 92 comments on this Article:

  1. wtf twc says:

    this is such a scam. to charge $4 a month for a used modem you used to get for free. $4/year is more like it. most people will be to confused or unfamiliar to get a modem. it’s such an ATM fee kinda game.

    • wtf twc says:

      I was able to score a ‘6141 on ‘zon but it was the last new one from a vendor so not sure how that fares for the rest of the world. it came in 2 days, even though invoice said it would take over a week.

      what’s odd is tw just sent that little postcard so easy to miss –with 2 weeks’ notice– and no info on what to do once you get the modem, including about returning the old one.

      i’d tried to call tw sales even to see if i could just buy the old box already in my house (ya think?) but going thru all the voice jail prompts to get to sales just led to a dropped call (!). really. sent an email too. only got a dispatch auto response.

      anyway i hope they answer the phone tomorrow so i can get the modem running asap. i guess i can just drop off the old one at their local office.

      • twcbait says:

        Got ’6141. Waited more then 2.5 hours (!) on phone to reach to tech support level 3 to connect it. Such a shame. Regular agent was not able to connect it. TWC monopoly. Cannot get FIOS in my area. Operator finally confirmed they will not charge me as I have my own modem now. They did not request to return the their old modem.

        • I would not presume that keeping the modem because they did not request its return will keep you from being billed. If their modem is on TWC’s equipment list on your account, you will probably be charged.

          You can drop it off at any TWC store.

        • wtf twc says:

          got thru over a week ago (when i last posted here) and they gave me a ticket number after taking mac #, said someone would be calling me back to provision the modem. but nobody has and calling again gets me nowhere (voice jail). any suggestions? the 15th was yesterday…

        • Scott says:

          I experienced the same issue with the poor customer service. The paying customer waits forever in a phone queue and then learns that the first customer service rep cannot help you. Next, you get handed off to another queue for Level 3. When they finally answered the phone, you provide the MAC address and Serial number of the modem to learn it takes 1-3 business days to activate your new modem. Of course, I asked the question – “how do you know when my new cable modem is activated?” Answer – “the TWC modem stops working and you lose your Internet connectivity.” Another finely tuned experience of corporate bureaucracy.

    • Spencer says:

      Just to add insult to injury. There is a North Carolina tax of 27 cents on the new charge. There was no tax on a NC bill before the rental charge. Consumer sure get it stuck to them nowadays!

  2. Andrew says:

    Went to twc.com/approveddevices

    Not seeing SB6121 on the approved list. The two for my area are:

    Motorola SBG6580
    Motorola SB6141

    I have a SB6120 on hand but will they not even attempt to configure it if it is not approved?

    • Yes, we have been getting reports about the different approved equipment lists. I have replaced the 6121 with the 6141 on the recommendation list. Anyone who placed an order for the 6121 that does not see it on their area’s list should cancel that order a.s.a.p. Cable companies offer different models in different regions, which is why it is important to visit the TWC website to verify what works in your area before ordering.

      If the 6120 is already authorized for service, they probably will keep it authorized. If not, they probably will not.

      Back when they first started this fee, the authorized equipment list was much larger. Now most of these choices are gone.

      Vendor Model DOCSIS 3.0

      ARRIS TM402G N
      ARRIS TM402P N
      ARRIS TM502A N
      ARRIS TM502G N
      ARRIS TM508A N
      ARRIS TM512A N
      ARRIS TM602G N
      ARRIS TM604G N
      ARRIS TM608G N
      Cisco DPC2100 N
      Motorola SB5101 N
      Motorola SB5101N N
      Motorola SB5101U N
      Motorola SB6141 Y
      Motorola SBG6580 Y
      Motorola SBG900 N
      Motorola SBG901 N
      Motorola SBG940 N
      Motorola SBG941 N
      Motorola SBV5121 N
      Motorola SBV5222 N
      Motorola SBV5322 N
      Netgear CGD24G-100NAS N
      SA DPC2100r1/2 N
      SA DPC2203 N
      SA DPC2203C2 N
      SA DPX2203 N
      SMC 8014CPR N
      SMC 8014WG N
      SMC 8014WG-SI N
      Thomson DCM425 N
      Thomson DCW725 N
      Thomson DWG855 N
      Ubee (formerly Ambit) DDC2700 N
      Ubee (formerly Ambit) DDW2600 N
      Ubee (formerly Ambit) U10C018 N
      Ubee (formerly Ambit) U10C019 N
      Ubee (formerly Ambit) U10C020 N
      Ubee (formerly Ambit) U10C022 N
      ZyXEL 974H N
      ZyXEL 974HW N

    • Andrew W. says:

      I purchased a Motorola SB6120 in March 2012. I have yet to use it since TWC has stated they only support the SB6121. The products have the SAME firmware, but the 6121 has a MOCA line filter.

      Could I purchase an add-on MOCA filter and finally use my modem? I spent $90 on the modem have spent $100 on modem rentals since. This has been the most frustrating tech resolution I’ve ever had.

  3. HMI says:

    If TWC has already announced the 3.0 standard for NYC, I can’t for the life of me figure what sense it makes to buy a 2.0 modem—at the moment the only ones on the approved list. What happens if I buy the Motorola SurfBoard SB6141 and try to install it? Will I get told that it is incompatible and can’t be connected to the TWC network?

    • The 6141 is on the NYC list as far as I can tell. If it is, it can be provisioned by calling TWC when you get it.

      I strongly recommend people only consider buying DOCSIS 3 models. DOCSIS 2 will leave you unable to upgrade much further than Turbo speeds.

  4. Richard says:

    AFIK, None of the approved modems support phone service.
    What are triple play customers supposed to do?

    • Smith6612 says:

      Do what Time Warner does in this area. Put two cable modems on one tap and completely destroy your signal running two modems. They apparently don’t charge for the modem if it’s just phone service on one of theirs, but if you request to use their modem for Internet you get whacked.

      They do have DOCSIS 3.0 EMTAs out there that could be customer owned with a user-owned battery too (something Time Warner does not include, so good luck calling with the power out unless you find a way to power the modem). They probably need to work out that system, though.

      • Here in Rochester, I have one Ubee DOCSIS 3 cable modem and one telephone service cable modem sitting side by side. They both work okay, and the reason for this is was TWC did not support a D3 modem for their phone service back in 2011 when I signed up.

        I do not know if this remains the case and have not broached the issue with TWC locally as of yet. I already ordered a 6141 modem for myself because, frankly, the Ubee router-modem combo is complete overkill (I have mine in bridge mode with Wi-Fi disabled), and I have no interest trying to scramble for one of these as TWC rolls this fee out across the country. There will be price gouging and shortages for the tiny number of approved D3 modems on their list.

  5. HMI says:

    As of this morning, the TWC NYC approved list includes the SB 6141. Now, all I have to do is buy one and get it hooked up in the next 11 days.

    • Kibo says:


      I’ve been using the iPad viewing app for several months. My RCA modem was exchanged for an ARRIS DOCSIS 3.0 modem at “approximately” the same time the app started with all
      this… related? (I didn’t really correlate the two events. But “Upgrade Now” would seem
      to be an in-app thing.)

      Since sometime last week or so, when I call up the app I’m getting this:

      “Application expired. To continue using TWCable TV for iOS, you must upgrade to the
      current version.”

      Then there’s a button: “Upgrade Now”

      Clicking that returns:

      “We apologize, but we are unable to fulfill your request at this time. Please try again

      I have tried again later 25 times over the past week.

      What happened to that app?!

      (TWC NYC – ARRIS Modem set as bridge – D-Link router)

    • I love how much notice they give customers for a modem that is not easy to find. I ordered my 6141 from eBay for just shy of $100. It’s already on the way. No sales tax or shipping.

      • Andrew says:

        I haven’t received a notice yet…. so I’m wondering if I should bother ordering a modem..

        • This will be rolling out gradually over the next two months. I figure the bottom feeder third party Amazon people and eBay resellers will jack up prices as they learn millions of new customers will be shopping their storefronts looking to buy.

      • Monelle Ricihmond says:

        I hope you don’t have your phone service through Time Warner, because this modem does not have a phone cord…it’s just for the internet.

  6. digitlman says:

    No fu**** way I am paying this. I have an old Motorola that may work. Else, I will buy my own. No more money to TWC for me.

  7. DK says:

    This is amusing. I get a new modem each time the cable guys come over to fix my packet loss /ingress scan issues. So, now that I will have to pay, I will now call them for a new modem weekly as they have yet to solve my 68-98% packet loss problems. Also, demand they keep my retention plan reduced pricing in full force on top of my credit requests for not having service 24/7.

  8. DK says:

    Also, I see TW using the customer supplied modems as an excuse not to troubleshoot. They will tell you to get modem support from the manufacture and it becomes a game of ping pong.

    • mike says:

      My (their) modem started failing back in July and I have contacted them steadily since then. Each time they would pretend they did something on their end remotely and try to sell me their Turbo package. Eventually I caved and bought the package because they seem to ignore my suggestion that their modem was bad (level 3 support), but the new modem was still dropping so I brought their modem (same one I’ve had like 10 years) in for exchange and problem solved. Nice support ehh?

  9. John says:

    What I want to know is since everyone is almost depending on the internet. When is the govenment going to start its own service. The hell with paying these prices. Vote for Gov. Internet.

  10. Sam says:

    Plz sign this petition as this would stop TWC for being outrageous in charging exorbitant amount. Bring in some competition.


  11. DT says:

    Well Andrew, there appears to 2 sides to this “story”. According to my TW, there’s to be NO
    added charge for modems -but- an additional charge for new customers only. There’s no
    plans, nor any discussion of charging for modems in the immediate future.

    There is tho, a increase coming up for the STB.
    Was told in the neighborhood of $1.20 [increase].

    • You most likely talked to a customer service representative who would have no idea about the forthcoming charge because they have not received a memo about it in your area yet. As we reported, this is starting in New York City and will gradually roll out across the entire Time Warner footprint by the end of the year.

      Here is the direct quote from the folks living high off the hog on 1% Mountain:

      “Internet customers across our footprint will begin to see the fee over the next two months,” TWC spokesman Justin Venech said. “Customers have the choice to purchase a modem from a third-party retailer to avoid paying the $3.95 per month.”

      The phrase that pays is “across our footprint.” That means everyone, everywhere with TWC.

      Wall Street is already drooling because this means an extra $300 million in free money for TWC without lifting a finger to improve service.

  12. Kate says:

    Ugh, I ordered the 6121 right after reading this, before the update about it no longer being compatible… amazon wants $8 for return shipping; is it worth trying anyway to get this hooked up when it arrives tomorrow or should I just send it right back and order the 6141 instead? So annoying.

  13. Brent says:

    For what it’s worth, the often-mentioned EarthLink currently does not have any plans to charge these modem rental fees:

    Me: Hi, my EarthLink account uses Time Warner as an ISP. They’ve started to announce new modem rental fees. Has there been any indication that these modem rental fees would also affect EarthLink customers?

    EarthLink : Let em check and assist you with your issue.

    EarthLink : I see that you have EarthLink Cable service through TimeWarner. So, being an EarthLink Cable account holder, you will not be charged anything for the modem.

    EarthLink : EarthLink is aware of the article published about Time Warner Cable charging for monthly Cable Modem Rental. However, EarthLink customers will not be charged this additional fee.

    Of course there’s no guarantee that they won’t adjust their rates in the future, but if EarthLink is available using your existing ISP and you can live with the 10/1 or 15/1 speeds then this is certainly an attractive alternative for the time being.

    • Markfm says:

      Got the same info from Earthlink, TWC lease fee won’t apply to us. Now to see if TWC tries to charge it… 🙂

    • In my past experience, EarthLink will end up with a modem rental fee as soon as TWC insists on it. EarthLink usually does not have a clue about these things until they get “the memo” from TWC.

    • We knew it couldn’t last forever. Starting this month Time Warner Cable of NYC is charging Earthlink Internet customers a $5.99 modem lease fee. The way to avoid it is to buy your own modem.

  14. Markfm says:

    Sure, but I’ll take even a month or so grace period to get modem supply straightened out. I whoopsed on the 6121, got one through Newegg, so am out on restocking and return postage.fees. Bad side is that TWC rep, online chat, had told me about the 612X as being okay; when I then got it the local techie said heck no, either the new 6121 or older 6120 were non-starters. It is not okay for the reps to give bad information, costing time/$. I’ve been raising cain with TWC CS on this — bad information, pitifully poor set of choices, gouging already occurring.

    • Bill says:

      I’m located in Southern California and I just chatted with a Time Warner tech rep. He told me the Motorola SB6141 modem is compatible and backwards compatible. He said the SB6121 is not compatible, but the SB6120 is and that it will work fine on the Standard plan as well as the upgraded plans. It’s a DOCSIS 3 modem and it is not shown on TWC’s approved modem list.

  15. Markfm says:

    I’m central NY, last night the tech rep told me no way on the 6120 (or 6121). They are being real sticklers. I’m in a dialog with them on another modem that is on the twc supplied list but not on the list approved for people to buy.

    • This is my experience as well. The eastern divisions are being stubborn about only activating modems on their approved list. Other divisions may not be. To be safe, buy what is on their list.

  16. twcsux says:

    so if i have phone service I can buy a modem but i will have two devices running side by side and they will not charge me a lease fee for my modem/phone device? this is stupid.

    • As far as I know.

      I was finally able to get TWC to activate my 6141 last night. Prepare for at least 20 minutes in hold times (it was what happened everytime I called).

      I was told there is no charge for my “phone modem” that TWC provided.

      • twcsux says:

        thanks for info. that is crazy though because TWC will not actually see any benefits from users who buy a modem but keep the old device for phone service. They dont get it back and dont get a lease fee but they force me to buy a new modem. They should really just waive teh fee for phone service users. I would drop teh phine service for vonage or another competitor if they didnt take like a month to switch my phone number over. I wish I could get cable modem service from anyone else in Brooklyn. /sigh.

        • No Obama says:

          I was wondering if the Binghamton area will see this and what should we do before this happens?
          I will call them and immediately cancel my $70 month tv services and then buy my own modem. Therefore, they either lose the $48 dollars per year or $800 per year. I think all customers should call them up and bombard them.

  17. Faruk says:

    Hi everyone,
    I use TWC’s Standart plan. I also plan to buy a modem to not to pay lease fee. According to TWC DOCSIS 2.0 is just fine for my connection but I heard that DOCSIS 2.0 is an old technology and it’s better to have a DOCSIS 3.0.
    We are sharing the internet with my roommate and we’re not planning to go any faster than Standart plan. In this case, should I go with the DOCSIS 2.0 modem as I use right now or buying a DOCSIS modem provides us with better internet quality. Sometimes internet gets really slow, especially we both use it at the same time. Do you think it has anything to do with DOCSIS thing?
    And the final question is, TWC suggests only 5 modems for retail purchase but so many for leasing. Can I purchase a modem from “TWC leased modem” list and use it?

    • Scott says:

      You have to purchase one from their approved list for “purchase”, they will not allow or provision a purchase modem from the list that they provide. The whole point for TW is making it difficult and hard for you to do this yourself so you’ll just rent one of theirs forever.

      The issues you have with speed likely has little to do with your modem being DOCSIS 2.0. The problem is with how cable internet is provided in neighborhoods, your area shares all the bandwdith, so when everybody gets home and starts using their cable internet your advertised speeds of say 10Mbit, suddenly drop to 5Mbit as there is less to go around… then once you and your roommate try to use the same line to surf the ‘net or watch video each of you have to split whats left of that 5Mbit.

      DOCSIS 3.0 ensures that you don’t have to buy another new modem when TW upgrades their network to support the new speeds. When TW does upgrade their system to support DOCSIS 3.0 that means your line will be capable of higher speeds but only if TW upgrades your current plan for free to a higher Mbit/s or you pay to upgrade to a higher Mbit/s such as 50Mbit/s. It may also alleviate some of the congestion if your area is oversold, which is quite possible when you say your modem speed gets slow.

      I’d recommend you purchase the Motorola SurfBoard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem listed in the article.

  18. Oleg says:

    Hi Everyone

    So trying to change a modem that I bought creates a funny issue . If you have data and voice from TWC they tell you keep our modem and we wont charge you. I bought a modem from the list that caries data and voice and they tell me they cant provision it. So I think I should be able to keep the modem at no charge since they cant provision it. If you agree with me please file a complaint with FCC.


  19. Kevin says:

    The link to Time-Warner’s approved modem list redirects you to their main page, but no list. What gives?

    • TWC just changed their entire website. Mark’s link for central NY seems to be the same exact list we’ve reported on before, but now it’s buried on their support pages. That website address he posts below seems to be identical across the country. I’ve plugged in several different zip codes and it always brings up the same list.

      Addition: I have now updated the original article with the newest links.

  20. Markfm says:

    Here’s the current TWC link on approved modems, at least for central NY: https://www.timewarnercable.com/en/residential-home/support/topics/internet/buy-or-lease-your-modem.html

  21. Steven says:

    I purchased a SB5101 off ebay used for $15 bucks. Activated no problem on 10/18/2012. Just make sure its a SB5101 not SB5101U or SB5101N.

    • Markfm says:

      The 5101U is also TWC approved as a DOCSIS 2 modem, and from what I have read the only difference between the base 5101 and the 5101U is that the U doesn’t have the Disconnect button, otherwise they are the same. Have you found any different information?

      (Both get very consistent, high, ratings, by users up on Amazon)

      • bill says:

        The 5101U has a “USB Out” port as well as an “Ethernet out” port (the “U” stands for “USB”).

  22. Steven says:

    Also forgot to mention. The SB5101 is DOCSIS 2.0 but its rated at 30Mbps, and I get 32Mbps with Turbo so it fits my needs.

  23. Brian Reynolds says:

    I am up and runing the SB6121 find without a problem on time warner cable internet. I lied and told them it was model Motorola SB6141. they ran it as if it was the SB6141 and as far as i know i am up and runing fine. they dont know the truth so this model works if you want to lie and say it is what it is not. dont let them bull you.

    • Low Tech says:

      TWC has now REMOVED the SB6121 from the list!

      Class action lawsuits have been filed.

      Wish someone would file one in South Carolina.

  24. Jennifer says:

    I love how I got the notice in the mail this week. The charges start in November, it’s the middle of November. Thanks for the advance warning TWC….. NOT! No surprise. Their Internet sucks in my area. They blame there’s too many people in the area. Well, update your crud! I live in a neighborhood that’s all duplexes. I’ve lived in apartments with more people in a square foot than here and the Internet worked fine there. Oh, and they said that after they blamed our router and we dropped money on a new one (that’s not even hooked up now because they updated to a modem and router in 1). I’m so sick of TWC, but they’re the only ones in this area that offers Internet of course, so they charge a ridiculous amount too.

    • I am still waiting for a notice here in Rochester and we’re two weeks into November.

      Upgrades to DOCSIS 3 technology should have resolved most congestion problems. I suspect a line fault. I’d call them and ask for someone to come out and check the line quality.

  25. Steve Smith says:

    @Philip: I too live in the Rochester area & received the dreaded postcard. Chatted with the TWC rep who recommended the Motorola SB6141, but it’s $125 @ both Amazon & newegg. How about the Netgear CMD31T ($80)?

    P.S. The rep (Julian, as I remember) didn’t seem too sure which modems were on the list and which weren’t. At first, he said the 31T wasn’t on the list, then (after a long pause) said it was. He volunteered the 6141 (I didn’t know enuf…then…to ask abt the 6121), but at first said it was only for the basic services. When I pressed him he said (again after a long pause) that it was approved for all services.

    P.P.S. I recommend filling out the questionnaire after you deal with customer service. I know from my career in marketing (such as it was) that the system automatically rejects any questionnaires that are 100% negative; they just filter it out as “cranks” or “irate customers”. So pretend to be fair, balanced and judicious.

  26. Gerard says:

    SO I just got off the phone with TWC. I called to ask “why do none of your suggested modems on your website support page offer to accomodate my TWC phone service?”


    I was told if I want to keep using my phone with TWC I will HAVE TO continue to use my current TWC modem and pay the fee. Well thanks for sending me the notice of no option.

    Any suggestions out there? Is there a ethernet phone connector i don’t know about to continue using my TWC phone with a purchased modem?

    • Aaron says:

      I was under the impression that you only had to pay the modem rental fee if you were using their modem for internet purposes. I thought I had read elsewhere on Stop The Cap that if you bought your own modem for internet and continued to use TWC’s modem for the phone functions only that you would not have to pay the modem rental fee…Am I mistaken?

      • Gerard says:

        You are correct. After speaking a a second rep yesterday that is true. If and when I buy my own modem for internet will keep the Time Warner Cable too just for phone at no monthly charge. So glad to find this out.

  27. liana says:

    ugh: i called time warner when i got that post card, waited on hold for an hour, and was told that i wouldn’t have to pay the fee because i’d been a customer for awhile. but they are charging me after all, and when i called them today no one had even heard of the policy the guy told me on the phone a couple of months ago. i am really annoyed about this (what is really wrong in my life? i don’t know. who cares.) and want to switch to a different company. any recommendations? i live on the upper west side in new york.

    • Is Verizon FiOS available in your area yet? That would be a good alternative to consider.

      • Mark Regan says:

        I am located in Penfield (off Browncroft Blvd.
        Is Verizon FIOS available in my area?

        • No. You, like me, are stuck in Frontier territory. Verizon manages phone service for the vast majority of New York State, with the greatest exception being the Rochester LATA (area code 585), which is almost entirely old Rochester Telephone territory. Today, that company is Frontier Communications.

          Frontier is working on enhanced DSL for the Rochester market, with speeds up to 40Mbps in some areas, but it is a far cry from Verizon FiOS. No phone company will compete in another phone company’s territory, especially when it relies on landline networks. So no FiOS here, ever.

          The best hope Rochester has for fiber is if local towns and the city elect to build their own public fiber network, Google expands into western New York, or a third party company enters the market.

  28. Eric says:

    I’m confused about the new “charge” people are complaining about. I received my first bill with the new “charge” but it’s actually just a new way of dividing up the old charge. Previously I was paying Time Warner $54.95/month for basic internet service (no cable or phone). Now my bill is $51 + $3.95, same total. They just made the modem fee a sub set of the original fee. So if that’s the case it’s not a new additional fee as others are talking about, just a new way of talking about the old fee. Is it different for others?

    • HB says:

      Yes it is different. I am paying an additional four bucks in total.

    • It is our suspicion those getting credits equal to the cost of the cable modem rental live in areas where proper notification was delayed or absent and that credit will disappear on subsequent bills.

      We are uncertain if customers on “price guarantee” contracts or promotions will ultimately end up facing this fee until those contracts or promotions end. This is still sorting itself out.

  29. Chuck says:


    Do you have any directions that one could follow to install the 6141?

    In particular I mean:

    a) Can you remove the TW modem, install the Motorola modem and have internet?
    b) Do you have to call TW and let them know you removed their modem and then they will flip the switch so the internet will start flowing again?

    Thanks in advance,

  30. Diane says:

    I was in the process of researching modems when I stumbled upon this page. I had it narrowed down to the 6141 and 6121 and talk here has helped a lot. I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good wireless router. Since now I’ll need one of those too. I currently have the twc ubee combo. (I would prefer to switch to fios but I’m on one of those areas that is considered too urban for Verizon. Our suburban areas have it.)

    I’m in the process of canceling cable and keeping internet. I want to get the modem and router in place before I cancel the cable because I read somewhere that twc charges $10 a month for their modem if cable or phone is not packaged with it. Any comments appreciated.

    Also, some amazon reviewers were saying that speeds dropped once they switched from a twc to a purchased modem. Has anyone here found that to be the case?

    • My recommendation:

      If dropping cable, you can switch to Earthlink Standard Service via Time Warner Cable for six months at a price of $29.99 a month. It is a transparent change because the service works over your current cable modem and TW service. Only the price is much less. Earthlink has no modem rental fee, so you can actually avoid dealing with this issue for six months and keep using your current modem.

      After six months, you can switch back to TWC as a “new customer” and get a year of service at whatever promotional price is then available. It is usually $29.99 for the first year. But you will want to buy a modem to avoid the fee at that point. I recommend the 6141, personally.

      I have never been impressed with the Ubee (I had the same modem here) and I shut off the wireless on that and relied on my current wi-fi router. A recent and well done primer on your choices is here: https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2398080,00.asp

      But I would personally probably not pay $150 for a Wi-Fi router. I don’t think I have ever paid more than $60 for ones I have relied on for years. Head on over to Amazon to browse reviews. At this point, having a Wireless N router makes the most sense, because it offers faster speeds. You probably won’t need a lot of the whiz-bang features some of the higher end routers have (I have almost 20 wireless devices, laptops, computers, and other items hooked up to my workhorse Linksys and I have never felt I was lacking anything by choosing something less expensive).

      As for speeds dropping, I have not seen it. I have seen more people comment their speeds actually increased, especially with DOCSIS 3 capable modems, because they are able to take advantage of more data channels, delivering more even performance.

      • Diane says:

        Thanks for the great suggestions. Earthlink doesn’t offer cable or dsl in my area. That’s ok. I ordered the 6141 and Linksys E1200 router.

        I called TWC to ask what they would charge me for internet only. They offered to reduce my bill $50 per month for the next year if I keep cable. Still not worth it IMO. They told me standard internet only would cost $61.00 per month after taxes. When I said I only pay $47 (before taxes) now, they said the increase is because it’s no longer part of a bundle. Which I expected. When I asked how much it would be if I had my own modem/router they said $47.50 after taxes. Glad I knew to ask that question because they sure weren’t offering.

        Once the equipment comes, I’ll get their help in switching it over, get the modem/router fee off the bill, then will cancel the cable portion.

        Thanks Phillip and all for your replies!

  31. Kirk says:

    Duane, I am personally not a fan of the normal consumer routers made by companies like Linksys and D-link. I have a Ubiquiti AirRouter and I love it. They are more business grade, and I think they’re just all around nicer routers. Ubiquiti doesn’t sell to consumers directly, but you can find their stuff on Amazon.




  32. Loons In June! says:

    “I want to get the modem and router in place before I cancel the cable because I read somewhere that twc charges $10 a month for their modem if cable or phone is not packaged with it.”

    There is no EXTRA charge for the modem but the cost of internet may go up dependent on what promotion you were in.


  33. Andy says:

    Screw time warner. If another service was available in my area I’d switch to them in a heartbeat.

    They’re refusing to work with me to fix my low speeds because I have a motorola sb6120. Which was the modem they ACTUALLY GAVE OUT with their extreme service (if you were lucky enough to get their quality modem and not the cheap ubee)

    I was forced to go with their crap modem or upgrade on my own (i’m not paying 5 dollars a month for a modem that barely works properly) so I just bought a sb6141…JUST SO THEIR TECH SUPPORT WOULD ACTUALLY HELP ME.

    If it doesn’t fix the issue I’m asking for a credit on my bill or canceling my service and going to dsl.

    If someone from time warner sees this and wants to save my time after I’ve already wasted three hours on the phone with tech support, please email me [email protected]

  34. CP says:

    I bought my own modem. Time Warner reduced my bandwidth since I own my modem. They want $10 more to give me the same bandwidth I had before. Very sleazy company. They’d screw you no matter what

  35. Chris says:

    Hey! I have TWC NYC and don’t want to be charged the monthly lease fee for the cable modem. i purchased a Motorola SB5101UR and it did not have the telephone jack I needed for the telephone/fax connection… Does anyone have a lead on the correct model to buy and one that is higher end, because my fax has a lot of noise and I believe my faxing speed time is effected by this. I currently have on lease from TWC NYC Model Arris TM602A/110

    • If you are buying your own cable modem, you will continue to use the Time Warner-supplied phone modem for your telephone service (even if the modem originally supported both broadband and phone service).

      If you are faxing over a Time Warner Cable phone line, that could have something to do with your problems. Although I find TWC’s phone service generally works okay with faxing, it is not as reliable as a traditional landline from the phone company.

      Switching equipment or cables is probably not going to make a lot of difference. You could try exchanging the Arris modem with TWC and see if it makes any difference (if you hear a lot of crackling on your phone it could also be your phone cables).

      I haven’t worried too much about this because faxing is going the way of the dinosaur and on the rare occasions I run into an incompatible fax machine that just won’t talk to my fax machine, I just use FaxZero, which lets me send a handful of faxes reliably and for free. More info:


    • Scott says:

      Trying to use a analog modem based fax with a digital Voip based phone system isn’t recommended, and isn’t supported by Voip providers. Most the cable companies I’ve seen don’t claim or support fax, security systems, medical devices, modems, etc but they do sometime work ok.

      You might be able to get it to work, but you often have to disable error correction (if your fax supports it) and lower the speed by about half for fax machines to get past errors or bad line quality.

      As Phillip recommended, there are many online fax services to chose from free to paid that’ll let you fax from your computer, and setup a dedicated fax service # if you need to receive faxes.

  36. Alperion says:

    I purchased the motorola sb6121 and I honestly think that it is the cause for why my internet keeps dying. At first I thought it was the signal but after thinking long and hard about what really changed from the time that the internet WAS working properly, I realized that it started when I got my own modem. I’m almost certain that it is the sb6121 that is causing this but I’m quite hesitant about getting another motorola brand. I was considering Zoom 5341J but would like a recommendation. Thanks.

  37. rocOn says:

    I too, as many have gotten tired of TWC’s charges and this is 2014-even worse than ever. Currently having issues with my remote-now that the cable box issue was finally addressed-a remote issue-it always is something with this company..

    But anyways, a quick story I’ll share in how I saved over 50 dollars a month in charges/fees and services.

    I simply called TWC and said that I want to cancel cable. I have the 3 in 1 package deal and was sick of paying for cable that hardly worked and all the fee’s-I just had enough. Told me it would be cancelled in 3 days..

    The very next day, a TWC Rep came to my home and waited till I came home from work-he was sitting outside waiting for me which I thought was creepy and was going to tell him to get the hell off my property when he first said that he could get it where I pay much less if I decided not to cancel.

    So basically, I’m paying 100 dollars for all three-everything that I had, telephone, turbo internet, and with cable, every channel they offered I had-even hbo and cinemax-would cost me 100 with tax. how could I say no? It’s cheaper than my T Mobile monthly bill-so I took it!

    Had a tech come to fix switch my box and worked great till 2 day’s later I had this issue with my remote! Before I’d be pissed but paying what I pay now, it helps me be a lot more patient. lol Just thought I’d share this to those who’re gamblers and want to try doing what I did. Of course, I was also a paying customer who usually paid on time-with exception of a couple time’s being passed due-at any rate-it worked for me, (even though I was serious about cancelling but, you never know..)..

    • rocOn says:

      This website stinks. I tried to edit my post to be much shorter and it wouldn’t update to my ‘new version.’ I don’t know why I come to these stupid sites to waste my time to comment..

  38. Drop me an email at phil (@) stopthecap.com with the text you’d like and I’ll take care of it for you. I’ve just tested the editor and it seems to work okay for me.

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