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Earthlink Customers Benefit from Time Warner Cable Maxx Broadband Upgrades

Phillip Dampier October 13, 2014 Broadband Speed, Consumer News, Data Caps, Earthlink, Editorial & Site News 6 Comments

earthlink_logoEarthlink customers in New York, Los Angeles and Austin are receiving letters from Time Warner Cable advising them they qualify for the same speeds Time Warner Cable broadband customers are receiving as part of the TWC Maxx upgrade program.

Standard Earthlink customers in these cities will get speed upgrades from 15/1Mbps to 50/5Mbps at no extra charge. Turbo speed customers will see speeds rise from 20/2Mbps to 100/10Mbps, also at no additional cost.

twcmaxStop the Cap! reader Iris was immediately suspicious about the tone of Time Warner’s letter, which has the potential of confusing customers that own their own cable modems. The letter suggests customer-owned equipment might not be compatible with the speed upgrades. Customers are given a phone number to verify their eligibility, and some who have contacted Time Warner Cable report back they have been given a brief sales pitch to ditch their own modem in favor of one from Time Warner Cable, which costs $5.99 a month forever.

Time Warner could have simply enclosed its list of approved modems, which would answer customer concerns without having to make a phone call. But that wouldn’t give the company a chance to score extra revenue convincing customers to toss their old equipment in the trash while paying an unnecessary monthly modem fee for the rest of their lives.

For the record, your old modem probably will continue to work even if it isn’t capable of delivering the fastest speeds. If 50/5Mbps is fast enough for current Earthlink Turbo customers, they might want to consider downgrading service until they can budget to buy a new modem capable of taking full advantage of the faster 100/10Mbps speeds now on offer.

For your convenience, here is the latest Time Warner Cable Approved Modem List for TWC Maxx upgrade areas:

approved modems


Currently there are 6 comments on this Article:

  1. AustinTX says:

    This free upgrade started in Austin back in early June or so. We got our complimentary upgrade Oct 2, 2014.

    We have an SB5101 DOCSIS 2 modem which we also own. When it was first swapped in, they forgot to cap it. We got 32Mbps consistently until the cap was applied Oct 2, 2013. (So Oct 2 seems to be a magic date for our neighborhood.) I had the impression that we got a bump up from 15 to 16Mbps when “Speedboost” was cancelled, but I can’t pinpoint it on my graph now.

    Our “free upgrade” only bumped us up to 21Mbps. So, it is my suspicion that we’re still capped, in an effort to get us to go back to renting, or at the least to upgrade to DOCSIS 3. I repeat, our DOCSIS 2 modem is capable of 32-38Mbps on our existing, recently upgraded coax cable.

    We enjoyed our bump up in speed for a week or so, until our cable came unscrewed from the distribution box up on the pole. They wouldn’t come out to fix it for another week. I had to rig up a DD-WRT router as a wifi client and grab a signal from the TWC AP a block away (3Mbps down, 5Mbps up!). Once re-connected by the service-call tech, we were only getting 9Mbps. The tech said he had done all he could, and he had to get to his next appointment (he wasn’t late). He kept saying that the modem would work faster after it had warmed up for 24 hours. Oh yes, we debated this, and he continued to stonewall, until I told him to leave. As he left, he spoke on his speakerphone to his dispatcher and said he “wanted to add some notes to this S.O.B.’s file”. He did not abbreviate SOB. Someone in “local mgt.” has supposedly been informed, and might supposedly call us back.

    I channeled my anger at TWC by pulling some new cables under the house and establishing a data closet for our Google Gigabit Fiber upgrade soon. 🙂

    • The issue for most modems isn’t capped speed as much as the number of bonded channels they will support under DOCSIS 3. If you are still using a DOCSIS 2 modem, your speeds will definitely be lower because your modem cannot handle the number of bonded channels TWC now uses for broadband service. These days, DOCSIS 2 modems force you into a smaller number of bonded channels, now likely load balanced, which means you are subject to speed limitations caused by congestion and whatever configuration they are using to even speeds out between multiple channels.

      The technician who told you your modem will work better after it “warms up” is out of his mind. Maybe if you slipped a sweater over it you’d get gigabit speeds. 🙂

      If you are a Standard customer, your speed should now be 50/5Mbps, so it’s really time for a new modem. If you are on a budget, the Motorola 6121 will give you more even performance, but it cannot support the fastest speeds either. I use a Motorola 6141 which can handle all but TWC’s top speed tiers in Maxx markets. It’s generally affordable and is extremely reliable. I’ve never had a single problem with it.

      I recommend hunting for a new or refurb modem on eBay, which is where I found mine. Avoid the Chinese sellers. You never know what will show up.

      Who knows when Google Fiber will actually throw the switch down there in your neighborhood, but obviously Austin is getting a helluva lot more than we are up in Rochester, where it’s just dandy choosing between 50/5Mbps service from Time Warner or 3.1Mbps DSL from Frontier. It’s like the dark ages, but at least neither is capped.

      • Roy says:

        Phillip, posts on STC and DSLReports from earlier this year listed the Motorola 6141 as compatible with the 200/20 tier (the old compatibility list is in your post from May 8), but the new list says it’s not compatible. That post also said that TWC in Queens was using 8-channel bonding for the 200/20 tier, hence its compatibility with the 6141. Is TWC really requiring 16-channel bonding for 200/20 now, or is this an attempt to push more people toward modem leasing?

  2. AustinTX says:

    Phillip, what you’re saying makes sense -IF- TWC has re-allocated bonded channels that used to be used by DOCSIS 2 modems and reserved them for only DOCSIS 3 modems. If this is the case, then there is nothing wrong with my modem, TWC has still artificially limited the top speed of my modem, reduced from what it performed 1 year ago. My modem’s admin web page only lists channel 2 in use. I don’t know if some channels are incompatible with DOCSIS 2 modems, but we know TWC has added a lot more channels overall. I’m not spending a ding dang dime on any more modems since we’re getting Gigabit Fiber and saying sayanora to the crime-warner.

  3. AustinTX says:

    Kudos to TWC today; I just got off the phone with the most wonderful company representative I could have ever imagined. Laura had already studied my complaint letter, account notes, listened to recorded calls and said that action was already in motion about the tech we had trouble with. She was eager to hear my side of the story and ask me how they could improve their process. All the right things.

    She said that TWC is indeed capping DOCSIS 2 modems to a lower speed than they are capable of, for the time being. It is a company policy, not a technical limitation. There is another round of “free speed upgrades” being considered, and this may benefit DOCSIS 2 owners, though most customers have upgraded to DOCSIS 3 and the focus will be on them going forward.

    I do NOT make a practice of writing sappy compliments about corporations, but today TWC exceeded even what one of my former employers would have done in a similar situation.

  4. MJ Lee says:

    This is strange. I did get a letter from Time Warner saying my apartment was qualified for Time Warner Cable Maxx, but when I applied for it, I got an email saying:

    “Your online TWC Maxx order has been cancelled because Earthlink High Speed Online is not compatible with Twc Maxx service.”

    When I called TWC and Earthlink they seem to believe that canceling my Earthlink account and fully switching to TW is my only option.

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