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[DSL] Dropping Modem rental

Hi All, I have been offered a Netgear Modem and WayJac has kindly offered to guide in making it work.

I am on a new (April) one year contract, but can I cancel the modem rental and turn it in? Or, am I stuck with it as part of the contract?



Searching for a new Frontier
Burlington, WV
Check with Frontier, but it is my opinion that if you were previously using their equipment you are stuck with the rental fee.


Thanks Hank, it is worse than that. The $6.99/month is mandatory even if you don't use their modem. They have renamed the charge to "Hotspot" and say it is to also cover tech support.

I am wondering how I need tech support if I don't even have their modem here.

It sucks, but it probably earned some hot-shot young MBA a fat Christmas bonus.



Rochester, NY
I started a similar thread a few years ago. A few people here claimed they were able to have the modem rental fee removed from their monthly statement; I was never able to do so (and that was aside from any technical problems associated with using my own modem).

With Frontier, I guess what you have to do is assume that you will have to pay all of the cheesy (or should I say sleazy?) fees and surcharges and compare the total cost against alternative ISPs.


Thanks Pat, but out here in the boonies, there is only one supplier other than satellite and that is almost a hundred bucks a month.

When my options are limited to $65 a month or $100 a month, it's not really called "choice."

When I originally signed up with Frontier about five or so years back, using your own modem was an option (actually in their promotional material) and I just assumed that was still going to be the case. Ahhh, the wonders of progress.



Martin, TN
said by DogAteMyDSL:

When I originally signed up with Frontier about five or so years back, using your own modem was an option (actually in their promotional material) and I just assumed that was still going to be the case.

So did you use your own modem at that time? I signed up seven years ago and was given a free modem (without the fee).

To get the fee removed, I think you have to be an older customer who was issued a free modem way back when they weren't charging a rental fee to begin with.

Also, it doesn't hurt if a Customer Service rep makes unauthorized changes to your account without your permission resulting in being charged the fee, which -- in my case, I had never paid in seven years as a customer.

However, if you left Frontier after those five years and came back, you will have to pay the fee no matter what -- even if you buy the same modem yourself.


WTPawn, no I used their modem at the time as there was no rental fee and that's why I went with it. The tech guy I spoke with was in Kingman and he assured me he would help me set up my own modem if I wanted, but since it was free, I didn't bother getting one.

I can't remember when I started using their DSL, (I guess about five years) but had been a dial up customer prior to that since moving here in 2003. About a year after I started with DSL they added $3.99 for modem rental. At that time DSL modems were around $160 so I figured that at 4-bucks a month it was a reasonable deal to stay with their modem as it would take 3-1/2 years to cut-out my own modem.

Now that it is up to 7-bucks and modems are $28, or in my case, free from a friend, it makes sense to use my own, but not if I also have to pay for theirs too.


Stanwood, MI
·Frontier Communi..
reply to DogAteMyDSL
If you succeed in getting it removed let me know.

Some of the operators are not calling it a "modem rental" but "price protection" or "equipment protection" instead.

If this was Florida and I was blowing a modem once a year I guess I'd pay it, but being Mich we don't get much in the way of lighting strikes.


I tried a couple of supervisors up the food chain but still no luck. On the latest bill it is called "Hotspot" but they said that even if I didn't have the modem then the fee remains as it covers tech support and line maintenance. I tried to point out that the line maintenance was covered in the "provide service" agreement and pricing.

Is it me or is 7-bucks a month a lot for mandatory tech support when I am not using any of their equipment?

On that subject we just went around and around. If I don't have their modem, why would I need tech support? They just parroted the party-line - tech support - tech support - tech support . {sigh}



Martin, TN

4 edits
said by DogAteMyDSL:

they said that even if I didn't have the modem then the fee remains as it covers tech support and line maintenance.

The spiel they gave me about why the fee was necessary was basically that when customers call in with line problems, such as slow speed, they can "dial" into the newer modem and fix between "75-90%" of line issues without having to do it "the old fashioned way" by creating support tickets and sending live technicians to your home if you have an out-of-warranty modem. Not sure how true that is, but that's what I was told.

said by DogAteMyDSL:

Is it me or is 7-bucks a month a lot for mandatory tech support when I am not using any of their equipment?

It is a lot of money in the sense that you're basically paying $84/year for something you're not likely to have a lot of technical problems with. I feel for people who are paying $15 extra on top of their phone service if they have a wireless gateway.

It wouldn't be so much of a big deal to most people, I think, if the fee were half ($3.50) of what it is, but that's just me.

If I were the CEO of this company, and I felt that my customers should start paying a rental fee to use new, company-branded modems, I would've sent EVERY single customer one of those new modems with a notice about the fee explaining why the change was happening. I also would've cut the fee in HALF, because $7.00/mo is a little ridiculous.

Sending EVERYONE -- especially older customers, a new modem (instead of a pointless flyer telling them their modems were out-of-warranty) would've made more sense and older customers (on "grandfathered" bundle plans) wouldn't have been so shocked about the $7 increase on their bills every month. Of course, that's if a grandfathered customer wasn't snookered into a newer plan to begin with.

Had they sent everyone a new modem (with a friendly notice explaining the change/charge), they wouldn't have to employ shady upselling practices over the phone, such as automatically upgrading customers' phone/Internet plans to include their fancy modem fee and long-term contracts when they call Customer Service regarding completely SEPARATE issues to begin with, if the bottom line was getting more money out of customers through the fee.

They wouldn't be dealing with aggravated customers now who think the fee isn't fair -- especially when they have an out-of-warranty modem they still works (or they were never charged the fee for several years before the policy change).

But what do I know? I'm just a customer. I'm sure the CEO, Maggie Wilderotter, is enjoying the fat bonuses she's given to herself (and other higher-ups) as a result of such a fee.


Yup, right on the money there. No pun intended, but it seems that's what CEOs do these days. Make big returns for investors by jacking up prices and then give themselves a happy handshake at Christmas.

Not surprising when they are the only one providing the phone service out here on the boonies. Friend in LA gets 6M using his own modem for $19.99/month. But there they have competition from three phone companies and two Cable companies.

To add insult to injury, out here in the boonies, the Feds compensate the phone companies for rural line installations and maintenance.

I was thinking of going cellular as I never use the land line phone, but the digital caps would eat me alive. Only Verizon out here so once again the only game in town.

Ahhh well, just gotta keep paying I guess as I need the DSL.

On the dial into the modem thing, when the tech was here he called the local office to do some changing on the lines configuration *before* he installed the modem. Apparently they can change protocols etc from the office, so not convinced that the dial into the modem is a real reason.

Also this modem came set up by the tech with Remote access turned of and a warning to keep it turned off. I think they just say anything they think sounds good to them. They get paid no matter what.


Oak Harbor, WA
reply to DogAteMyDSL
I tried dropping the modem rental a week ago. I even talked to the supervisor. She basically said it is a required rental.

I believe it is fraudulent to call it a rental, even if they do call it a hotspot or whatever, because they show the price for service without the "hotspot" included. It is ridiculous that they do this. My guess is that they are doing it because they are getting away with it. We all just need to start calling the responsible consumer protection authorities.

I'm going to try contacting my State's Attorney General (Consumer Protection division) about this. I may also bring up the idea of a municipal ISP at my city's next city council meeting. White Space looks like it will be a great fit, and provide service much cheaper than the *sshole CEO's at Frontier.