Time Warner Cable is expanding plans to start charging users a $3.95 modem rental fee. Users in our forums
in the New York market say they've been getting cards in their bills notifying the new charge will start showing up on their bills starting October 15. Time Warner Cable has always had a very fractured structure, so it remains unclear how quickly this fee will spread to all regions.
While the company isn't saying which regions will see the fee, I've seen estimates suggesting that 1.6 million subscribers are already paying the fee, and that Time Warner Cable could net an additional $300-$500 million annually from the new charge. The company has noted that numerous other cable operators now charge a similar fee.
As is the case with so many "below the line" fees and charges, jacking up existing model rental fees is now a fashionable way for ISPs to raise rates without looking like they're raising rates -- or advertising a higher rate.
Frontier Communications recently started charging everyone a $7 "modem support and warranty fee"
whether you own your modem or not. Popular independent ISPs haven't been exempt; Sonic.net started charging their users a $6.95 modem rental fee back in July
. Charter did something slightly different; they recently stopped supporting customer owned modems completely
and rolled their modem fee into subscribers' monthly bills.