Home » Broadband Speed »Comcast/Xfinity »Consumer News »Data Caps » Currently Reading:

Comcast Invites Customers to Upgrade to New $10 Modem Fee, Or Else Watch Your Speed Degrade

Phillip Dampier October 20, 2014 Broadband Speed, Comcast/Xfinity, Consumer News, Data Caps 13 Comments

Some Comcast customers with older cable modems are receiving letters from the cable company warning they will need an upgraded modem to “get the most out of your XFINITY Internet service.”

comcast upgrade

Customers are asked to “properly dispose” of old equipment while contemplating either buying a new modem or leasing one from Comcast. Sticking with cable company-provided leased equipment is the choice of more than 90 percent of cable Internet subscribers, despite the fact cable operators charge hefty rental fees. In parts of the Pacific Northwest, Comcast has introduced its newest price for rented cable modems: $10 a month, which amounts to $120 a year — more than the cost of buying a modem outright.

Comcast’s letter may be premature for customers with DOCSIS 2 equipment subscribed to speeds under 38Mbps (the top-rated speed for DOCSIS 2 equipment). Although DOCSIS 2 is not fast enough for Comcast’s 50Mbps Blast Internet plan, it’s more than adequate for the 25Mbps Performance Internet plan and other lower speed plans.

Customers in Illinois are also getting the letter, arriving as the company boosts speeds. Most are being sent to customers using cable modems more than 3-4 years old. Customers can find a new compatible modem on Comcast’s Approved Device List. We strongly recommend customers buy a modem and avoid renting one from Comcast. Monthly modem rental fees, now $8 and likely to increase to $10 across the country in the future, are a major earner for Comcast, bringing in $275-300 million quarterly.

Currently there are 13 comments on this Article:

  1. AustinTX says:

    Yep, this isn’t about “your old modem isn’t capable of the wonderful new speeds we’re providing to your service tier”, it’s about “we know your customer-owned modem is capable of up to 38Mbps, but we’re deliberately capping it below that until you rent one of our modems so that we get our customer equipment paid off by YOU and considerable profit after that! – Thank You For ‘Chooooosing’ Comcast!”

    It’s what TWC is doing to me this moment even after recently raising the Standard tier to “up to 50Mbps”. I get just 21Mbps now, though my modem used to provide us 32Mbps regularly, and even 38 a couple of times, because they forgot to cap it for our first several months. The TWC rep told me point-blank that it was just a company policy and she didn’t know the reasoning for it. She was a higher-tier rep that was responding to my complaint of our service tech cussing me out, and I think she would be better informed than most reps, yet she hadn’t known about the policy before it came up in our call. She also said there were plans to raise the tier speeds again sometime, so they *might* uncap the old DOCSIS 2 modems at that time (yeah, probably not though).

    If the “rent” was just a couple bucks a month, I wouldn’t object so much. But at $7-10/mo, you could buy a brand new modem every year. Folks are now required to “rent” the old modems they already had for “free” for many years already!

    No Google Gigabit Fiber coming to your neighborhood? Buy a DOCSIS 3 modem so at least your ISP isn’t profiting from it. You’ll save money shortly, by not having to rent year after year. Sucks to pay retail, when Comcast/TWC/etc. are surely paying wholesale.

  2. Sean says:

    I believe that there are issues intermixing DOSCIS 2/3 modems on a node. It’s been about 5 years since I’ve worked with a CMTS so I am by no means an expert but I believe It’s similar (although by no means the same) as mixing wireless standards on your home router. That one wireless b/g laptop might be dragging down that fancy new laptop of yours. Another way to think about it is a highway. Cable has an advantage of having several lanes (6 MHz channels) to drive on. Just because you are on a 5 lane highway doesn’t mean the person on the scooter going 45MPH in the right line isn’t causing congestion.

    I’ve only really had to buy two modems over the last 14 years. That’s a much longer lifespan than just about anything else between me and the internet. I recently moved to Korea and have an ethernet jack on my wall that goes to a switch in my building that is connected by fiber to the rest of the network. I much prefer this setup, but I doubt you will see that in America anywhere except for maybe a large apartment building.

    I am no fan of cable companies and their craziness but at least their first suggestion was to go buy your own from a retailer.

  3. James R Curry says:

    Hey, Phillip –

    While not related to Comcast directly —

    I rent my modem from TWC, and while I’d rather buy one outright, there’s one big factor that’s stopping me:

    I’ve had a number of service problems over the years, often intermittent problems, and Time Warner’s first response (even with leased equipment) has been to blame the modem.

    In fact, in one case, I went through two replacement modems before Time Warner were even willing to consider there might be a problem on the line. The technician who finally rectified the issue told me “Oh, yeah, a lot of your neighbours have been complaining, too”. This made me see red as the CSRs had all assured me “No, it’s only you”.

    Can you imagine the hoops I would have had to have jumped through, had I owned my own equipment? I feel I would have had to have had a second modem just to prove the line was the problem.

    So I end up eating their predatory prices just to avoid a more extreme version of their appalling customer service.

    Suggestions, here?

    • AustinTX says:

      James, my suggestion would be to switch to TWC rental modems, and fry 2-3 of them over the course of several weeks by running 24v AC into the coax connector. That should make you even for 2 modems THEY fried! A friend of mine has a similar problem with voltage too high on his coax. I have a nice thrift store modem right here that he could use to save a lot of money, but he’s afraid to take it knowing it’ll only last a few months. I’m not sure if those coax “surge suppressors” built into some power strips and UPS would help… they’re probably not proper voltage regulators, and they may just degrade the signal.

      TWC’s little game of “modem keep away” goes too far. They SHOULD come out to at least test the cable even though they know you own your modem. I guess they don’t like being in the position of providing their customers with evidence of their own technical problems. It would be newsworthy if it came out that they have fine control over voltages coming down from the pole, too. They DO know where they have high voltages and clusters of problems – Both CST agents and on-site techs have said it’s routine procedure to check it now.

      Hey, I should offer my services to my neighbors, performing a cheap pre-test of the line to see if their voltage is too high. Armed with this knowledge, they may get a service call instead of excuses. 😉

  4. Ginny says:

    Frank Sinatra is dead.

  5. Write about this says:

    I went out and bought a new doc sis 3 compatible modem…now they are still trying to charge me the 10 dollar fee and my account is showing two modems, both the one I bought and the older rented one, which is ridiculous since I spent 20 minutes on the phone with them setting up the new one, they are well aware that the rented modem is no longer hooked up, when I called and chatted online , they told me I needed to return the modem I already disposed of. The letter and representatives told me they couldn’t take the $10 charge off my bill as I didn’t return the modem. Thank you for posting this article as I will be using the image of the letter (I had thrown it out being as i was assured multiple times by different representatives that disposing of the old doc sis 2 modem in an environmentally safe manner was fine) to get the bogus charge off my bill. I can’t imagine how many people they are charging rental fees to who aren’t even using/renting their older slower modems. You should do an article on this. If you search the Internet you’ll find that they’ve been doing this crap for years now.

  6. Dorothy says:

    My numerous letters from Comcast about the upgraded modem did not inlcude – the ordering by telephone would be charged fees. I logged in to my Comcast account and a pop-up said the modem would be shipped. I had questions, I called customer service- what a joke- Comcast offers no true customer service. Some lady in India – no speak English could not assist me at all as she did not know English.
    I returned the modem – along with the bill with the charges for shipping – sent a check for the monthly bill, less the shipping charges. Rec’d at Comcast 15 May 2015. Comcast has refused to cash the check and apply it to my account! Sent directly to CEO Brian Roberts. Followed up with a letter rec’d 2 June 2015, requesting my check be cashed. No acknowledgement!
    Sent an e-mail to key customer service folks – got a form e-mail response. Some person named Shawn Henry – 2 e-mails, I left 2 voice messages, he/she never bother calling. On 17 Jun 2015 I get an unsealed letter from Shawn Henry – nothing more than a print of out the form e-mail, stating various attempts to contact me have been unsuccessful! Total lie.
    I rec’d a Comcast bill for 2 months, and of course a late fee as Roberts’ office is refusing to cash my check. Sent another check to Roberts for the new fees less the the late that Comcast caused!
    It’s way past time for a class action suit against Comcast – millions of their customers have been ripped off on the upgraded modem scam.

  7. Judy says:

    I didn’t order the new modem yet and suddenly I could not connect to any websites. Strange, I checked Firefox no connection, I checked Explorer, no connection, I rebooted my wireless router, still can’t connect to anything. I finally reset the modem and everything works again. Although it’s been extremely sloooooow. Really sloooooow.

    I explained all of this to my husband and he says, “Comcast is doing it on purpose”. I agree.

    It’s a scam so they can get their $10 per month extra that I don’t have to pay now for the old modem. I ordered the new modem because if I rent and it breaks, they will replace it. I bought 2 Tivos and learned my lesson on that. It’s cheaper to rent in the long run.

    There should be a class action lawsuit though. Comcast intentionally causing a disconnect to the internet while you are still paying for it and intentionally slowing everything down is consumer fraud.

    You pay triple damages in New Jersey for consumer fraud.

  8. AJ says:

    We used to have adelphia Comcast took over we were grandfathered in at 135.00 a month for cable TV and internet all the HBO”s show time all the channels and then somebody at Comcast don’t know who flipped a switch and said we have no past history with you your new bill is now 235.00 a month we were having problems with all the western satilite channels I unhooked all the cable boxes and the modem that was 7 years old and gave them all to the technician when he showed up bye bye Comcast only to have Comcast call my wife and say they can fix our billing problem while I had direct tv on the other phone now every year the try and raise my bill over 200.00 now they say my 2 year old modem is outdated because I bought it funny they never called when I rented and had a 7 year old modem from them I dislike Comcast so much they are idiots our service line in the ground was put in by adelphia in 1985 our line are so outdated we can’t get on demand or exfinety,telephone or any of their extra crap unfortunately they are the only cable provider in our area the cable companies are running a monopoly so they don’t have to compete with pricing. Comcast sucks customer service,their cable,and their internet all suck

Search This Site:


Recent Comments:

  • Mark: Is anyone else getting faster speeds now with ELP? I noticed this about two weeks ago. I am getting around 22 up / 2 down. I live in Ohio....
  • Marian Kay Reaver: Cinemax was part of My Contract. I am Not happy about it just disappearing, nor is HITZ a Comparable Alternative. Quite Disgusted By the Situation. A...
  • Stacy Wagner: You can add cinemax to your Hulu subscription for $10 which is $2 cheaper than xfinitys add on rate and even if it cost more I would pay it just as a ...
  • Stacy Wagner: This is absolute nonsense. Things like this make it worth the time and effort to figure out which streaming sites I'll need in order to finally cancel...
  • Debbie Lippitt: To bad about Verison as I have lived 2 places now where Verison is the only one that can get you service. All the others fail. I have also been liter...
  • Andy: Well that's cause you're in New York State. Those much higher than average taxes you New Yorkers pay is being used to fund high dollar legal suits aga...
  • Paul Houle: Elliot Management recently wrote an Urkase against the management of AT&T and I don't blame them. AT&T prices DirectTV as if it was a premium...
  • Dyl: (Small type) You must lease their new xFi gateways to receive a Flex box....
  • Roy: As of September 2019, my legacy EDLP in NYC is still $14.99 (no fees no taxes, my own modem/router). This is even after an in-home service call last m...
  • LG: 300Mbps with no bandwidth cap for $50 / month? I'll believe that when I see it. Likely $50 only if you have some grotesque TV package....
  • Phillip Dampier: The problem with all of these kinds of schemes is that they usually irritate legal subscribers, while pirates and password sharing alternatives flouri...
  • Doug: I would imagine they'd tie a MAC Address to a username/password, for starters. They'd also only allow a fixed amount of MAC addresses to be tied to a...

Your Account: