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Press Struggles to Justify Cable Modem Fees
Fox News Just Happy Their New Modem is 'Zippy'
by Karl Bode 07:29AM Friday Oct 12 2012
Both Bright House Communications and Time Warner Cable recently decided to implement new modem rental fees; $2 a month for Bright House customers and $4 for Time Warner Cable customers. Time Warner Cable has not only struggled to deal with customer complaints, they've struggled to justify what is essentially a price hike on already expensive service. Impressively, normally unskeptical news outlets have been very critical of the fee (see The Street, NY Times) though some are still digging deep to defend the price hike. After correctly pointing out what a farce the price hike has been, John Quain at Fox News tries to see a bright side to the whole affair:
quote:
In the end, you’ll get better performance out of a new modem you purchase than from hanging onto the old model. I replaced an ancient RCA model with a zippy $150 Motorola SURFboard SBG6580 modem and wireless router. In anecdotal tests, I immediately saw performance improve by roughly 30 percent. And if you've got an older Wi-Fi router, the SBG6580 should also improve wireless connections around the house.
Quain fails to note that some ISPs, like Frontier Communications, have started charging users a $7 "modem support an warranty fee" whether you own or rent your modem. That's a model that could expand as carriers in uncompetitive markets look to raise rates however and whenever they can. Quain goes on to insist this could all secretly be a good thing because it may lead to cable operators to someday let users buy their own cable boxes:
quote:
Now the question is, if Time Warner and others now see potential benefits to having customers buy their own cable modems, could they begin to offer the same option when it comes to set-top boxes and DVRs? One can only hope.
That's not happening, isn't really even related, and it's a sad state of affairs when you have to dig that deep to find something positive to write about a price hike.

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elefante72

join:2010-12-03
East Amherst, NY

Consider the original cable modem

TWC would have kept that modem around until the day it died, whereas if you buy the modem the consumer makes the decision when to replace and on what terms. Personally if they started charging this $4, I would roll into the store and demand the latest and greatest D3 modem, because if you are "paying" you should have the latest tech.

Theoretically if you are now paying "wireline maintenance" for a "box" TWC should be more aggressive in replacement programs and that simply will not happen. After all these are (guessing) leased with a depot program for no more than $30-$40.

In the end this is simply a rate hike but justified for some capex lease that TWC has to undergo, but in the end it's pure profit, unless you have phone service then it's free.

If TWC were smart (apparently they are not), they would upsell wireless versions or separate routers and then offer a geek squad (like signature home) for maintaining people's wireless access points. You could easily charge another $5-$10 incremental on this.

But then I see that getting your own modem provisioned is utterly painful, would you want them maintaining your wireless infrastructure?

So then they wonder why they are simply a pipe and not a true service provider.

My FIOS comes w/ a no-charge wireless access point that VZ has made some pretty nice software to manage it (I don't use it because I use native Ethernet), but that shows that it can be done.

It's amazing just how monopoly-type companies lack in thought leadership and innovation. They didn't even come up with a good story to try to justify the rate hike. If there were more competition they would be forced to innovate and upsell to make margin, at benefit to the consumer. Instead, pay me $150 and you get what we had 10 years ago when it was $70.
rocafellanrd

join:2009-05-04
kudos:1

Re: Consider the original cable modem

"And if you've got an older Wi-Fi router, the SBG6580 should also improve wireless connections around the house."

John Quain at Fox News doesn't know what the hell he is talking about. I really hate "fact destroyers" like this fool. The modem is going to magically provide better "wifi broadcasting" for your old separate piece of equipment router ?!

Thinkdiff
Premium,MVM
join:2001-08-07
Bronx, NY
kudos:11

Re: Consider the original cable modem

I think it's obvious he's talking about 802.11b/g vs 802.11n without getting into specifics for non-tech oriented readers. I don't see how that sentence implies a combined unit will have better WiFi connections than separate equipment.
--
University of Southern California - Fight On!

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

Own cable boxes

quote:
may lead to cable operators to someday let users buy their own cable boxes
They already can. It's called a Tivo with a cable card. Or one of several cable-card tuners for a HTPC.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Own cable boxes

said by cdru:

quote:
may lead to cable operators to someday let users buy their own cable boxes
They already can. It's called a Tivo with a cable card. Or one of several cable-card tuners for a HTPC.

Not the same because Tivo requires a subscription

cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

Re: Own cable boxes

said by 88615298:

Not the same because Tivo requires a subscription

I'll admit that it's not completely an apples-to-apples comparison. But if/when cable boxes are ever allowed to be purchased, do you think those guides are going to update out of thin air? The cost for that service is going to either be tied into the initial price, or an add on subscription. Nothing is ever free...

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Own cable boxes

said by cdru:

said by 88615298:

Not the same because Tivo requires a subscription

I'll admit that it's not completely an apples-to-apples comparison. But if/when cable boxes are ever allowed to be purchased, do you think those guides are going to update out of thin air? The cost for that service is going to either be tied into the initial price, or an add on subscription. Nothing is ever free...

cable modems needs firmware updates. When you have dozens of different modems on your system that causes nothing but issues.
jimmyzshack

join:2010-01-19
Covington, LA

Re: Own cable boxes

That is the whole reason for standards. your reason is what companies use to create MONOPOLIES.
ke4pym
Premium
join:2004-07-24
Charlotte, NC
Reviews:
·Northland Cable ..
·Time Warner Cable
·ooma
·VOIPO
·Verizon Broadban..
Actually,

Wasn't there an article on here in the 2009 time frame talking about how the FCC was mandating cable co's allow people to bring their own boxes (not HTPC's/Tivo type things)?

Some rule had expired in 2009 or right in that area? So, why aren't we able to buy boxes?

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Own cable boxes

said by ke4pym:

Actually,

Wasn't there an article on here in the 2009 time frame talking about how the FCC was mandating cable co's allow people to bring their own boxes (not HTPC's/Tivo type things)?

Some rule had expired in 2009 or right in that area? So, why aren't we able to buy boxes?

Ask the retailers why they don't sell them. Anyways if you could one at Wal-Mart it be $500. I'll just pay the $5 a month to my cable company.
Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL

Re: Own cable boxes

try more like $150-$200 can for HD box or $5 rent to own (36mo) vs $8-$10 end less rent in the usa.

Sd boxes $50 can or less or $3.95 mo vs $5-$8 end less rent in the usa..

HDDRV $348 can or $10 rent to own (36mo) vs $14-$16 end less rent in the usa.

Gateway & Total Home Portal

$498.00 can or $14 rent to own (36mo) vs $25 end less rent for
Gateway & 2 Total Home Portals (wow cable price) a few other US cable systems have same hardware at differnt prices.

But hear is the real rip off.

added Total Home Portals $178.00 can or $5 rent to own (36mo) or $15 end less rent (wow cable)

$15 mo for a box that costs less then $200??

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Own cable boxes

said by Joe12345678:

try more like $150-$200 can for HD box or $5 rent to own (36mo) vs $8-$10 end less rent in the usa.

Actually Charter charges $5 for ALL their boxes.

Sd boxes $50

Bullshit what are you basing these numbers on other than wishful thinking? A low end Roku cost $50 and it doesn't have ANY kind of a tuner in it.

HDDRV $348 can or $10 rent to own (36mo) vs $14-$16 end less rent in the usa.

As stated Charter charges $5 a month for HD-DVRs.
kevinds
Premium
join:2003-05-01
Calgary, AB
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Shaw

Re: Own cable boxes

Bullshit what are you basing these numbers on other than wishful thinking? A low end Roku cost $50 and it doesn't have ANY kind of a tuner in it.

»shaw.ca/Television/Equipment/
SD Only $48
HDPVR $348

@BF69
I'm happy with my 1TB/month cap
--
Yes, I am not employed and looking for IT work. Have passport, will travel.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Own cable boxes

said by kevinds:

Bullshit what are you basing these numbers on other than wishful thinking? A low end Roku cost $50 and it doesn't have ANY kind of a tuner in it.

»shaw.ca/Television/Equipment/
SD Only $48
HDPVR $348

@BF69
I'm happy with my 1TB/month cap

Awesome now show me some AMERICAN pricing since that's what we are talking about. No one cares about Canada.
kevinds
Premium
join:2003-05-01
Calgary, AB
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Shaw

Re: Own cable boxes

It is hard enough trying to find a cable provider that allows you to buy them... There is no pricing available for products not for sale, but that does not change the price of the products, any company will not sell something at a loss.

Drive the 60-100 miles and go to Best Buy.
US and Canadian prices are not that far apart, but US pricing is usually cheaper, and the US cable companies are much bigger, so the quantity discount will be higher.
--
Yes, I am not employed and looking for IT work. Have passport, will travel.
Telco

join:2008-12-19

1 edit
said by 88615298:

No one cares about Canada.

Being from Tennessee, surely you see the irony in this bold statement.

Lots of us care (analyze) what the rest of the world does. Also why we do not live in a bubble (i.e under a rock) and blindly vote Republican.
jimmyzshack

join:2010-01-19
Covington, LA
When you used to buy directv you bought the box. The big reason they changed that is now they charge $200+$7/m etc to let you rent it to make more money.
Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL
oh canada

in canada you can buy the box and some systems even have rent to own.

And no per TV outlet or mirroring BS.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Own cable boxes

said by Joe12345678:

oh canada

in canada you can buy the box and some systems even have rent to own.

And no per TV outlet or mirroring BS.

Yeah Canada where the cable ISPs think 40 GB a month is high cap. yeah real good place to imitate.

DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000

Re: Own cable boxes

said by 88615298:

said by Joe12345678:

oh canada

in canada you can buy the box and some systems even have rent to own.

And no per TV outlet or mirroring BS.

Yeah Canada where the cable ISPs think 40 GB a month is high cap. yeah real good place to imitate.

I'll take a 40GB cap if it gets me Health Care.
stonecolddsl
Linux Junkie

join:2004-01-07
Sarasota, FL

HUH

Comcast charges modem rental fees all the time, and have done so since they were pimping out @home service. Since they are also the largest cableco I guess I am having a hard time understanding the big deal in a 4 dollar fee that most cable isps already charge to there customers.
--
Rob Snyder
»flatratefix.info
Wilsdom

join:2009-08-06

Re: HUH

I believe Comcast's price is lower than TW? Of course being capped it's really not a comparable service, you are lucky they don't also require 1 liter of blood a month, and 2 hours with your sister.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

If cable modems should be free

then logically STBs should also be free. But I don't see any calls for that. Most people get why they need to rent a STB.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Not Understanding

Cable modems aren't terribly expensive and they are (mostly, but not entirely) universal among all cable systems. Why would anyone rent one at all?
--
Romney/Ryan 2012 - Put a couple of mature adults in charge.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Not Understanding

said by pnh102:

Cable modems aren't terribly expensive and they are (mostly, but not entirely) universal among all cable systems. Why would anyone rent one at all?

When Charter was charging $7 a month for them I didn't. I bought mine beause of the $7 fee not out of some desire to have my own modem. Now that Charter gives them out for nothing why would I buy one? If the thing breaks I'm have to buy a new one. With Charter giving them out for free if it breaks I get a brand new one at no cost.
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA

Re: Not Understanding

How often has your cable modem broken? I've never had it happen. Also, I have a spare Charter cable modem that I have no need for taking up space and it actually works on TWC and Comcast too as I used it when I couldn't find my other cable modem.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Not Understanding

said by jjeffeory:

How often has your cable modem broken?

Our first one went kaput after 6 years. Anyways as I said if Charter is leasing them for free what do I care about owning one?

Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Quain's typical 1% reaction

"i spent more but i got more" i'm happy for you - rich guy...

how about the rest of us who can't afford $150 and don't really
need or care about 30% more of anything - except more costs!

i spent $28 on a reconditioned docsis2 - so i could still eat this Month.

•••

Packeteers
Premium
join:2005-06-18
Forest Hills, NY
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

Re: Quain's typical 1% reaction

the sad news for TWCable longer terms is that budget conscious users like me who bought docsis2 modems - the likelihood we will later upgrade to a higher priced docsis3 speed service is slim to none, now that we have to provide our own modems to avoid excessive fees. my first year with TWCable is up Feb'2013 and I actually wanted to give docsis3 >30/5 service a try... not any more.
Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink

Owning a big savings over renting!

My broadband service was originally through Adelphia. When they sent out a letter in July 2002 that they going to begin charging $5.00 a month to rent the modem, I bought one. In the last ten years I saved over $700.00 including the purchase price of the modem. When I moved here I took advantage of a free DOCSIS 2.0 modem offer by signing up for Comcast broadband, through Circuit City, here in Central Florida.

Flibbetigibb

@lmco.com

Weird take on that article, Karl

I don't get it. The Fox article slams on TWC for instituting the fee, smacks around their crappy service, and gives good advice to the reader: buy your own modem instead of paying a rental fee. What's with the Bolshie rage?

The article isn't about Frontier or other ISPs, just TWC in New York. Okay, fine, charging a rental fee for people who own their own modems is BS, but that's not what the article was about. You might as well have griped that he didn't also address DSL modems... and you'd be just as off-topic.

dennismurphy
Put me on hold? I'll put YOU on hold
Premium
join:2002-11-19
Parsippany, NJ
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Cablevision

I'm not currently their customer, but this is yet another reason I put Cablevision in a different league than the 'other' cableco's.

It's a fantastic thing to have actual choice - Cablevision and FiOS are both available here ... Wish it were like that everywhere!

plencnerb
Premium
join:2000-09-25
Carpentersville, IL
kudos:3

Outside of the rental price, why purchase your own?

Is paying $3.95 a month really that big of a deal? And yes, its $3.95 not $4.00 (for proof, see the screen shot above). That is direct from my girlfriends bill (She lives in Oak Creek, WI).

Also listed in that same section (and I think unreported by the media) is the fact that (at least in her market), is the cost to rent the STB is also going up from $8.95 to $10.00 for each STB that you have.

The question I have asked on here many times is this: What Benefit do you have for owning your own modem? Things that come to mind I have listed below.

Do you control the firmware updates do it?

Can you do anything different with a store bought Cable Modem that you cannot do with one that you lease from the Cable Company?

What is the process to replace it if it goes bad?

What happens if you need a new one, or want to upgrade?

The 1st two I believe have an answer of No. Even if you own your own modem, you cannot apply firmware updates, even if you feel it will make things better. I also feel that you cannot do anything to the configuration of a modem, regardless if you rent it, or purchase it. All you can do is look at the static web pages that show you signal strength and other information. For the last two, I see it involving you going back to the place you bought it, and if under warranty, replacing it for free. But, what if its not or you did not get the warranty? Then you have to purchase another one. Want to upgrade? Again, back to the store to get a new one, and spend more money. With a rented one, you just call them up (or go down to the local office), swap out, activate, and done. No additional cost by the end user.

While I'm all for choice, I just don't see the big deal to purchase the modem.

To me, if the ISP is charging a reasonable fee each month to rent the modem, it gives me peace of mind knowing that if anything needs to be fixed, replaced, configured, or upgraded, it falls on the ISP's shoulders, and not something I need to worry about.

--Brian
--
============================
--Brian Plencner

E-Mail: CoasterBrian72Cancer@gmail.com
Note: Kill Cancer to Reply via e-mail
kem09030

join:2004-11-29
Rushville, IL

Re: Outside of the rental price, why purchase your own?

The way it was when I had suddenlink was they would take care of the configuration and updating firmware. I had a bad update get sent to my modem from the system once or twice. All it took for them was to click a few buttons on the computer to send a fresh update to the modem. No truck roll or anything else. From talking with the techs it seems that modems don't go bad that often. I did get to talk with them when they accidentally disconnected the wrong line. I had my modem for about three years and recouped my costs and then some. That is why most people buy a modem to save in the long term.

There isn't much of a reason to upgrade every few months or even years as cable systems don't change technologies that often. D2 to D3 was a big change but a lot of D2 modems are still going happily. My D2 surfboard is still handed out by SuddenLink for those on the lower tiers (in my area 10/1). A D3 modem should get one along for a long time.

ARGONAUT
Have a nice day.
Premium
join:2006-01-24
New Albany, IN
kudos:1

what?

Fox News is not news.

Bill Neilson
Premium
join:2009-07-08
Arlington, VA

Re: what?

Took the words out of my mouth