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Time Warner Cable Raising Modem Rental Fee (Again): $5.99/Month Starting Next Month

Phillip Dampier July 29, 2013 Consumer News, Data Caps, Editorial & Site News, TWC (see Charter) 19 Comments

Time Warner Cable is increasing the cost of renting your cable modem. In the third increase in ten months, using the company-provided cable modem will now cost subscribers $5.99 a month. But the costs don’t stop there. Last week, Time Warner announced it was raising the price of its broadband service an average of $3 a month. Taken together, the cost of standalone 15/1Mbps broadband with a leased modem will now cost $61 a month.

modem fee

SB6141 is a DOCSIS 3 modem

SB6141 is a DOCSIS 3 modem

Time Warner introduced its $3.95 monthly modem rental fee last fall. In June, the company announced it was raising the price of the modem rental to $4.99 a month for new customers,  and has now decided customers can afford to pay more — $6 a month for equipment that costs the cable company, on average, less than $50 per unit according to Wall Street analysts.

CEO Glenn Britt remarked earlier this year that customers accepted the modem rental fee with few complaints. Britt foreshadowed the modem rental fee increase saying the company had significant room to boost prices, noting Comcast charges $7 a month for its modem.

Customers can escape modem rental fees altogether by purchasing their own equipment. At Time Warner’s new prices, most customers will recoup the cost of the equipment within one year. Unfortunately, as news of the modem rental fee increase made its way to retailers and eBay resellers, prices have soared for equipment on Time Warner Cable’s approved modem list.

The popular Motorola SB6141, which sold for $78 two weeks ago, has now shot up to $99.99 in anticipation of a new wave of buyers. Prices on Newegg have also increased from $78 to $99.99 as of this morning. Best Buy has also boosted prices to $99.99. Amazon still lists this white version of the SB6141 this afternoon for $87, but is expected to quickly sell out.

Based on the last two waves of price increases, if thinking about buying your own modem the time to buy is right now because major retailers are likely to temporarily sell out and eBay resellers will begin a wave of price increases in response to demand.

Stop the Cap! top rates the Motorola SB6141 among the modems on the approved list. It is DOCSIS 3 capable, which means it will support faster Internet speeds. But also be aware that if you upgrade to a DOCSIS 3 modem, Time Warner’s Speedboost technology, which delivers a few seconds of additional speed at the start of a download, will no longer work. Speedboost is gradually being phased out by most cable operators so we still think buying a DOCSIS 3 modem makes the most sense over the long term.

Currently there are 19 comments on this Article:

  1. BobInPeoria says:

    So, TWC admits that their Modem Rental Fee increase really has nothing to do with the cost of modems.

    It’s just a racket to shift increased costs to a different line item on the customer’s bill, rather than increase the monthly broadband fee on the bill.

    • They did that increase too, Bob.

      Britt openly and repeatedly admitted its really just a rate hike in disguise. Since at least 95 percent of TWC customers rent their own modems no matter the cost, they can simply book that revenue and live happily ever after.

      The cost of buying and maintaining cable modems is really not more than a itty bitty blip on their balance sheet. If the company notices most people buying their own, they’ll probably flip the modem back to “free” and boost the price of the service to build the fee into the cost of service for our “convenience.”

  2. Milan in Austin says:

    I’ve ordered a Motorola SB6141 from New Egg for 89.00 last night. I’ve also ordered an OOMA VOIP device for $120 and plan to drop my TWC digital phone service as well. I hope to return my TWC Modem by the end of next week. I’m seriously considering dropping my TWC digital cable too.

    TWC is exploiting their user base by raising equipment and service rates on a frequent basis.

    I’ve had enough! I can download all of my favorite TV shows without much effort. I’ll just have to live without being able to watch my favorite shows “live”.

    However, the fact that my cable bill will drop from the current promotional rate of $130 to around $60 is very appealing.

    Next year, I am going to switch to Google Fiber and several all ties with Slimey Worm Cable! Good riddance!!

    • I have a review unit of Ooma but never got around to doing much with it. Ooma is top rated by Consumer Reports. I suggest you opt for the premium service trial and transfer your home number using that, which is free with premium service.

      You are lucky to have Google as a forthcoming option. Most of our readers don’t.

  3. Milan in Austin says:

    Philip, Thank you for the tip on signing up for the Ooma Premium trial to port my number for free. On average, I use my landline for less than 2 hours per week, so I should be just fine with Ooma’s service.

    In regards to Google Fiber, I hope that Google will service apartment complexes in Austin.
    If they don’t, I’ll be SOL until I get around to buying a home, which as a government employee in Austin is becoming increasingly out of reach.

    Most UT students in Austin live in apartment complexes, so I am hoping that Google will waive the $300 per unit installation fee that they are currently charging landlords in Kansas City. I’m sure that college students are one of Google’s primary demographics.

    • Oops, just discovered a change in their policies. Ooma requires you to commit to a year of their premium service to get free porting. IMHO, it may still be worth it if you want a lot of extra features. It’s around $100 a year. Porting is now just shy of $40 so it might be worth it to you for at least the first year. Here is what you get with Premium:

      Free calling to Canada

      Instant Second Line™

      Three-way conferencing

      Backup Number: If your Internet goes down, calls are forwarded to another phone number of your choosing.

      Caller Name: See the name of callers, even if they’re not in your address book.

      Call Screening: If you don’t recognize the caller-ID, just listen to their message through the speaker. Pick up the phone at anytime to intercept the call and talk to the caller.

      Do not disturb

      Personal blacklist: Stop unwanted callers by blocking numbers or sending them directly to voicemail.

      Community blacklist: Automatically block annoying telemarketers and solicitors by tapping into our nationwide database of thousands of known spammers.

      Anonymous call blocking

      Call forwarding

      Multi-Ring: Ensure you never miss a call by configuring your Ooma system to simultaneously ring your mobile phone and home phone.

      Free Mobile Minutes: Ooma Premier customers using the Ooma Mobile iPhone app receive 250 minutes of U.S. calling for free every month.

      Voicemail alerts: Keep up to date with new message notifications that can be sent to any email address or SMS-capable mobile phone.

      Voicemail-to-email forwarding (audio): Enjoy the ultimate convenience of having your voicemail messages forwarded to your email as an audio file. Now you can listen to messages anywhere you can check email.

      Send to voicemail: Transfer a call to voicemail by pressing the “Send to Voicemail” button at any time.

      Private Device: Set aside one or more of your phones as a dedicated line that will only ring when a particular phone number is dialed. Give anyone in the house their own telephone, set up a dedicated fax line, or separate your home phone and work phone.

      Private Voicemail: With Ooma Premier, make any Ooma device a private extension with a password-protected voicemail account. You can also set up personal greetings, customize privacy settings, and control your voicemail notification or forwarding.

      Personal Number: With Ooma Premier, choose a second number anywhere in the US. Decide whether you want your number to ring and leave voicemail on all phones or just your personal Ooma device. You can choose up to nine numbers (additional monthly fee applies).

      Google Voice Extensions: Experience Google Voice on your Ooma system. We’ve simplified and enhanced the experience, so now you can access Google Voice’s Voicemail, Call Presentation, Listen In, and Caller-ID features–all with the press of a button.

    • Scott says:

      Not only college students live in apartment complexes here in Austin. I’m 45-years-old and half the people I know live in apartment or condo complexes, as do I. If Google Fiber doesn’t service these places, their fiber network will be completely useless to many of those who need it the most.

  4. Milan in Austin says:

    Thank you for the clarification, Phillip! I may give the premium service a try. For $60 more than the standard porting fee, it seems worth it.

  5. BenJF3 says:

    I’m doing the same thing. I picked up my own SB6141 a while ago because I kept losing the connection with what TWC was providing. Now, I’m going to drop cable and port my phone number to Ooma Premium. Time Warner had me looking for an out because of their awful DVR software and lousy Whole Home. They are now losing a Sig Home customer because I’m finding no value in the product for the price I pay. It should be noted that Sig Home subs are exempted from the modem fee and that’s not why I’m dropping services. I will be stuck getting raped for their Internet because there is no competition here. I wish we had FiOS or better still Google Fiber. Heck, if Greenlight could build out their service areas that would be awesome too!

  6. Richard says:

    I’ve got my own modem as well. I’ve got the Model: CMD31T. Should I switch to the SB 6121? Or is the Netgear good enough?

  7. IrisJo says:

    I’m SICK of Time Warner Cable!!!!

    It’s such a shame we don’t have any healthy competition in this arena! These cable/internet companies are all in bed together … plotting at every turn to screw the consumers!

    Enough is ENOUGH!

    I would also like to get model information for a good internet/Wifi modem to replace this modem I plan to no longer lease. Hope some fellow TWC users can post that information.

  8. Milan in Austin says:

    IrisJo, you need to pick up the Motorola SB6141 modem from NewEgg for $89.00 shipped.


  9. Racerbob says:

    The 6141 is still $59.95 plus about $10 shipping here…


  10. IrisJo says:

    Hi, Milan in Austin! I live in Dallas!!!!

    Milan, I would like to thank you and Racerbob for sharing links to where we can purchase a compatible modem.

    Good luck to everyone on your quest to find an internet / cable / phone provider who puts the needs of the customer first!

    Do you think we can sue them like this lady sued Equifax? She won over $16 million in damages because they put erroneous information in her credit report. Even though I think that settlement was a bit excessive, I bet she got their attention and they will be a bit more careful about putting any and everything on a person’s credit report or failing to comply with the laws when a person disputes the validity of that information.

    You can talk all day long but until you hit them where it hurts (in the pocket) they will continue to do whatever they wish at your expense.

  11. fhall1 says:

    I held out from getting my own modem when the fee was $3.99 since I also have TWC phone service and didn’t want two power sucking devices (my own modem plus the TWC modem just to use the built-in phone adapter), but now at $5.99 (and probably $6.99 soon) I ordered a SB6141 from Newegg and a splitter and two RG-6 cables from Monoprice and will be getting that fee off my bill next month.

  12. motorola870 says:

    Looks like TWC did a hidden speed increase at least on the extreme and ultimate tiers 🙂 Extreme is now at 35/5.9 provisioning at least on my modem and I am not getting 34Mbps down/5.5Mbps up compared to 31Mbps down / 4.9-5Mbps up. Also the provisioning was before 32 something down and 5.2 up and now it is 35,4 down and 5.9 up 🙂 Seems TWC snuck in a small speed increase for the $2 🙂

    So it looks like this not confirmed (yet)
    35 down/5.9 up Extreme
    60 down /5.9 up Ultimate

    although the 5.5 up was done during peak hours so I could possibly get 5.7-5.8 up during the day 🙂


  13. Milan in Austin says:

    Thanks to the advice from Phillip and my fellow STC readers, I have set up my SB6141 modem and Ooma VOIP device. I am planning to cancel my TWC Phone and TV service early Saturday morning and return all of their equipment. I expect Crime Warner Cable to offer me several insanely good deals (I’ve been a customer in good standing, since January of 2006), when I call to disconnect. Are there any code words I could use to get TWCs CSRs to cut the crap and cancel my non-broadband services? I’m fearful that I won’t be able to resist one of their digital cable/DVR offers. It will be an adjustment to live without cable TV for the first time in a decade. However, I need to show Crime Warner Cable that I am tired of being fleeced on a monthly basis. Any guidance would be appreciated. Thank You!

  14. David says:

    It is a price increase. TWC and every other cable provider gets these modem in bulk orders from Motorola and others.

    I use my own modem with TWC that is not on the approved list.. a Motorola SB6180.. which is literally the same as the SBG6580 minus the wireless; and minor updates to the firmware. It generally works without any problems. I only paid about $40 or so on Amazon.com for it, which is noticeably cheaper then the SB6141.

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