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Northeastern Time Warner Cable Internet Customers Will Pay $3.95/Month Modem Fee Nov. 1

Phillip Dampier October 16, 2012 Consumer News, Data Caps 31 Comments

All Time Warner Cable broadband customers in upstate New York, New England, Pennsylvania, and the Carolinas will begin paying $3.95 a month to rent the cable modem required to make your $54.99/month Time Warner Cable Internet service work.

The cable company confirmed the charge will apply to all customers in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Binghamton, and beyond effective Nov. 1, joining New York City already paying the modem rental fee as of this week. The fee is gradually being introduced in all Time Warner Cable service areas nationwide.

Signature Home customers and those participating in the company’s trial of discounted Internet for the disadvantaged are exempted.

The new fee represents a 7% rate increase for Internet service, unless customers pay for their own modem.

Time Warner Cable mailed notification postcards to all affected areas this week, so they should begin arriving in mailboxes as soon as today. Southern states including Texas may see the new modem fee in their area as early as December.

“It is strictly a fee for customers who choose to lease their Internet modem from us,” Joli Plucknette-Farmen, the communications manager for Time Warner Cable’s western New York division told the Buffalo News. “As we continue to deploy more and more cable modems, many of these modems need servicing or replacing, get damaged and some are not returned. The monthly lease charge will allow us to service or replace the equipment, provide a better user experience and further enhance our Internet services.”

Stop the Cap! notes Time Warner Cable already assesses a fee ranging from $24-150 for unreturned or damaged cable modem equipment, however.

Phone subscribers who do not have Internet service will escape the fee as long as they avoid signing up for broadband.

Many of the models on the company’s approved modem list are now out of stock at the handful of retailers selling them. Other sellers, particularly on eBay and Amazon Marketplace, have doubled prices to as much as $200 on some popular DOCSIS 3 modems to capitalize on the cable operator’s new fees.

APPROVED MODEMS FOR PURCHASE

Turbo, Extreme and Ultimate Service Plans

Vendor Model
Motorola SBG6580
Motorola SB6141

Lite, Basic and Standard Service Plans

Vendor Model
Motorola SB5101
Motorola SB5101U
Motorola SBG901
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Eric Young
Eric Young
8 years ago

I had a surprisingly decent enough experience last night activating my new modem (SB6141). Gotta give credit where credit is due, I suppose .. Step one: called NYC tier-3-tech support. Lady picks up, says she can’t find me in the system, I tell her i’m from upstate / rochester, she says “oh, that’s why!” and transfers me to rochester support (presumably tier 3). I didn’t have rochester’s tier-3 phone number which is why I called the one for NYC, instead. Dude from upstate, NY tech support had me up and running in 20 minutes. Basically just gave him MAC address… Read more »

Eric Young
Eric Young
8 years ago
Reply to  Eric Young

just returned my old modem yesterday to a local time warner cable office in Rochester, NY (sbg6580, motorola device).

already disappeared online (from the internet devices / equipment section) … only showing my current ‘customer-owned’ modem, sb6141.

overall the transition went pretty smoothly for me so far; must say i’m surprised by this, lol! won’t have to pay twc a cent for the ‘rental fee’ ! woot

David Stumme
David Stumme
8 years ago

If I’m on Standard now, does it make sense to invest in the DOCSIS 3 modem, on the assumption that TW might upgrade the speeds eventually on the lower tiers?

jr
jr
8 years ago

Glenn Britt made $16.4 million last year. He feels your pain

Shane
Shane
8 years ago

I still can’t believe they can get away with not allowing you to use the same make/model of modem they are now ‘renting’.

Dave
Dave
8 years ago

So, if I have standard TWC Roadrunner service I can’t use the SB6141? That sucks, I grabbed one up from Amazon thinking it would help future proof my investment but now it seems its only usable for higher tier packages.

Markfm
Markfm
8 years ago

You should be fine. The DOCSIS 2 modems for standard or lite service are the minimum threshold, but the higher-capability DOCSIS 3 SB6141 should be no issue to get TWC to provision, just that you may not see a big speed increase (if any); TWC can throttle them to only provide the BW you are paying for, though it may well be more consistent BW. SB6141 has excellent reviews, is a latest-generation product.

Martin
Martin
8 years ago

The modem rental fee has arrived in Los Angeles, California!

On my bill it says…

“Beginning with your next bill, an internet modem lease fee will be applied to Time Warner Cable provided internet modems at the rate of $3.95 per month. If you would like to use your own modem, visit twc.com/approveddevices for a list of approved modems.”

Navil
Navil
8 years ago

My bill for Rochester (10/20-11/19) has no such language on it.

If it starts on my next bill, they sure as hell should be telling me on this one.

Markfm
Markfm
8 years ago
Reply to  Navil

Supposedly it is coming out on postcards.

Anyone have thoughts on the other new twc bit, assigning new account numbers so those of us doing auto pay have to Go through the joys of setting up the new numbers for payment?

Charles Dennett
Charles Dennett
8 years ago
Reply to  Markfm

Yes, I got caught in the changed account number trap. The bill I received in September had a note that said the account number was changing. It did not supply the new account number but said to call a specific number to get the account number if I paid the bill after Sept 21. I never saw the note. The bill amount was the same as always so I did not read every page. I paid my bill on line as usual. It went into a black hole. First call to TWC and they said call your bank. It must… Read more »

Martin
Martin
8 years ago
Reply to  Navil

I never received a postcard.

My bill (Los Angeles,CA) with the internet modem lease fee notice covers the period of 10/15 to 11/14.

Since I have now been notified, the next bill 11/15 to 12/14 will include the $3.95 modem fee.

Markfm
Markfm
8 years ago
Reply to  Martin

Postcards, notes included in some bills. We should know not to expect consistency.

JR
JR
8 years ago

I’ve been reading all the articles and comments about the new monthly charge for cable modems, and I have been thinking if I should just go ahead and get my own or not. What I have decided is that even though I don’t like the new charge, I won’t get my own modem. The reason for this is because I don’t want TWC to have one more excuse when troubleshooting problems with my Internet connection, or with my TV cable connection for that matter. I can see it already, I call to report a problem, and I get an answer… Read more »

Markfm
Markfm
8 years ago

I ended up going with a $24 refurb 5101U, ordered today. DOCSIS 2 is fine for my capabilities now, and reasonable near term. On TWC troubleshooting, the modem is on a TWC supplied splitter relative to the TV cable connection, so I don’t sweat finger-pointing in that area. On an honest modem fail such is life, I get a new one, but modems are really quite reliable beasts. Always check online reviews of modems before picking one, see if it has multiple negative reviews. Buying isn’t for everyone, leasing is a valid option, just that both paying for a lease… Read more »

Dave
Dave
8 years ago

Oh, okay. Thank you for the feedback, guys. I appreciate it. I just got confused by the above chart, my bad. I’m glad I grabbed a SB6141 before the price gouging gets even worse.

Jason
Jason
8 years ago

The Time Warner chart says 2 of the modems don’t support IPv6, which is a little confusing as if you follow the links to the Motorola site 1 of these is said to support it. It hardly seems appropriate to recommend any modem that only supports IPv4, as the transition away from it has begun. Perhaps they will just tell people to buy another modem next year. I also wouldn’t be surpised if next year they change their minds and decide to charge a fee for the home phone modem – and tell customers that they have to buy a… Read more »

Dave
Dave
8 years ago

Just got my SB6141 working this morning. I spent an hour on the phone with Tier 3 tech support yesterday and they couldn’t get it working. It just wouldn’t connect to the internet, despite having a solid upstream and downstream link. They had a tech come out to my house this morning and he had to call into his best tech on the phone. Turns out the guy I spoke with didn’t take my last modem off the computer and so it was still showing that one. Setting up this new modem stumped even this tech for a little while,… Read more »

Pita
Pita
8 years ago

I just activated my new purchased modem last night. the hold time was pretty miserable but once I supplied the MAC and TW updated it I was up and running in about 20 seconds. I did NOT purchase a modem on TWC’s “approved” list. I bought a Cisco DOCSIS 3.0 and verified with Cisco & TW that as long as I meet required specs it would not be an issue. Everyone has their preferred brands and I’ve had miserable experiences with Motorola modems in past and nobody tells me what equipment I need to buy. Do your homework and if… Read more »

Markfm
Markfm
8 years ago

You’re lucky Pita, I wasn’t amused when I was told by local tech that they refused to even issue a provisioning ticket request internally if it wasn’t on the approved list. Nothing like (in)consistency in approach by TW staff…

Markfm
Markfm
8 years ago

Crud, I had an error in MACID, a “B” was an “8”. Called TWC early Monday to start the provisioning on my new 5101U. Late yesterday (Tuesday) our Internet went away, the old 42xx modem had gone offline and I saw the 5101U online. Tried connecting and got a “Welcome to TWC RoadRunner” Web page, instructed to call them to complete the setup. After 1-1/2 hours on the phone, a tech finally did a check of my modem’s IP address (since it was indeed talking to TWC infrastructure, just not connected to the ‘Net), found the error in MACID. Promised… Read more »

Oscar@SA
8 years ago

Fee is showing up in San Antonio… I have a 7 year old modem

jordan
jordan
8 years ago

They are charging me for a Modem which is about 4 years old now.
A-Holes ! Tomorrow I should talk to some of the Legal Activists and am going to just buy my own Modem.
I am not going to allow these guys to suck a drop out of me !
F#ck You Slime Warner !!!
I live in Portland, Maine.

Amanda
Amanda
7 years ago

I also have this on my bill. Funny, really, considering the modem I have with TW is the one I’ve had for six years–an SBV4200–a very old modem. I never knew what that meant until just now I found out it’s so old it’s a DOCSIS 1.0 unit, which is probably why my recent upgrade to Turbo has resulted in no download speed increase (and I was not once told by TW that upgrading would not actually make my DL faster due to an ancient unit). Only my upload sped up. I guess in a way it’s a silver lining… Read more »

Peter
Peter
7 years ago

Hi Phil,

I have standard (not Turbo) internet service w/TWC, and a Motorola SB4200 modem that was given to me many years ago, and worked perfectly for me at the time.

If I ask TWC to provision it for me, do you think they will do it for me, & will it work, since it is DOCSIS 1.1?

I would rather not “lease”, nor buy a newer one just yet, since I was given this unit for free.

Thanks.

-Peter

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