Time Warner Cable Struggles to Defend Modem Fee
Has Hard Time Pretending This Isn't Just a Rate Hike
Time Warner Cable first took heat recently by announcing a new $4 modem rental fee
, then they took heat for being unprepared to support users
looking to swap out their rented modems for customer purchased gear. As an interesting addendum the New York Times
noticed that if you have Time Warner Cable digital voice service you'll still need a second modem from Time Warner even if you bought one for broadband, though you'll pay no fee for it. That means running two modems at once, since no commercially available modems support Time Warner Cable's digital voice service.
amusingly tries to get the operator to explain why one set of users needs to pay a fee while the other doesn't, which would seemingly run contrary to last week's claim that the fee's necessary to cover the cost of repairing and replacing cable modems over time.
The company struggles to bridge the logic because, as we all know, existing prices already more than covered the cost of relatively-inexpensive hardware and this is just a price hike. But since you can't just be honest with your customers about it, the Times
gets a string of nonsense:
Justin Venech, director of public relations at Time Warner Cable, acknowledged the disconnect between the company’s explanation of the fee and the inconsistent billing methods. When asked whether the decision to charge a rental fee for Internet use but not voice service contradicted his previous statement about the reason for the fee, Mr. Venech responded, “It does. But the way we have decided to charge this fee is, we’re charging it for use of the Internet portion of the modem.”
“It’s a business decision,” Mr. Venech added. “It’s a matter of starting to treat this equipment the same way we treat our other equipment.”
But why treat the same equipment differently for voice and Internet customers? Mr. Venech repeated that the company’s business decision was to charge for using the modem for the Internet, not voice.
In other words, Venech couldn't really justify the disconnect, but gave a half-hearted attempt by claiming the company is billing differently for different modems "to treat this equipment the same way we treat our other equipment." Make sense? Time Warner Cable probably just wishes they'd been charging this fee all along (like AT&T U-Verse or Comcast) so they didn't have to suddenly justify a rate hike on already expensive service using total nonsense.
It pays for the internet portion Seeing the fee was $2.50 to $4, the $1.50 should cover the cost of providing the internet service for the month, and the rest is pure profit
Now I don't think a $4 fee is unreasonable, just how TWC handled it. If they were smart, they would have offered the modem online on their website (no price jack), and then charge $2.50 per month in maintenance so in essence they are still making their price increase, while taking a leased asset off the books. If it breaks, charge the customer $20 to return it. They know cable modems are not a high failure item.
In addition, they could have come up w/ a website to enter the CPE MAC in to reprovision so it's done in seconds.
These are all very reasonable things to do (and customer centric) but this is exactly as a monopolist behaves.
To add insult, that same modem if you have voice still sits in your house sucking down electricity on your dime, because they are too stubborn to be customer friendly.
When people port out voice and then cable (I forgot thats not happening), then they scratch their heads and ask why.
In any case, I would stick it to TWC and get your own VOIP. When I got FIOS it was cheaper to do 3 play vs 2 play so I went with it (mistake). In the last two years the fees on the phone portion have ballooned to over $6/mo MORE than when I signed up. Now I use voip.ms for my office, and in any case it's just as good and I only pay $4/month average. I probably don't use the house line for more than 300min in a month, so that would cost me $4 for voip.ms ALL IN with 911.
In any case if you don't do VOIP with your telco, you can easily switch providers on a dime without having to port your phone #. If you are keen, port to mobile, then to google voice and then you can do whatever you want from there (ring mobiles, any landline, softphone).
| |antdudeA Ninja AntPremium,VIPReviews:
·Time Warner Cable
Re: It pays for the internet portion
said by NoTWCfee :For me, it is worse. No DSL and FIOS in my Verizon areas. TWC is the only waytto go!
... I'm so fed up with TWC and Telco being the only real internet options. I wish I could start my own ISP but that is only dream unless I win the lottery.
North Tonawanda, NY
·Verizon Online DSL
The modem rental fee. This fee is silly. Many folks I know stick with providers for years, which more than pays for the modems or cheap, buggy gateways. Plenty of users with SB5101s still or those horrible RCA modems that are years old. The modems are also still circulated throughout the area despite being old and run until they break for good.
Adelphia back when they owned this area used to allow folks to purchase their own Cable modem, which many folks oped for the Motorola SURFBoard. Time Warner permits this to happen too, but if you get their voice service and there is a customer owned modem, they come in, split off the two modems and put in a Voice/Data combo modem. What I find stupid is, when they do this they not only ruin your signal levels, with some lines in the area running in marginal spec as a result, but if you choose to run just ONE modem, you know, the free one they gave you for voice service and opt to sell or retire your personal modem, you would get smacked with a $2.50 fee each month for just having a good gesture of taking a modem off of the network. That price is getting hiked now apparently.
Yet, Verizon for FiOS gives out routers if you say it's broken. The router is yours after a year or two. For DSL? Say your service disconnects and you have another modem on the way, no fee. Apparently the cost of the gear isn't a problem for them!
I won't include Frontier into the discussion though. They're on the same level as Time Warner if you get suckered into their fees for their modem rental which is a few dollars more for the same, cheap and buggy gateways.
Glen Head, NY
Re: Maybe it'll keep Best Buy in business
said by IowaCowboy:Me too. When I first signed up for Optimum Online back in 2001, you had to buy your modem. There was no rental choice. Even though I have upgraded from the original purchased SB4100 to SB5100 through Cablevision, I continue to own the modem per their policies. As long as I can document the original ownership and serial number swaps (which I can), it is mine. I probably should sell it and get a freebe but I suspect at some point Cablevision will consider charging for modems too so I might as well keep it. It works!
I have always owned my own modem as long as I've had broadband.
I support the right to keep and arm bears.
Forest Hills, NY
Simple... I can understand not expecting customers to buy their own voice modems. They are virtually unavailable at retail.
TWC should have known this and used it as an opportunity for bundling - they should have waived the modem fee for any data customers that are also voice customers.
Making the customer use their own data modem in addition to the TWC modem is really stupid - extra CMTS resources are tied up, another device must be tracked in their billing systems, the device may or may not be supported for firmware updates, not to mention forcing the customer to pay for extra power.
Re: Simple... The entire purpose of the "approved list" is full support, which means tested firmware updates.
Before bitching about how much power they use, how about measuring it. You lose more pocket change per year than it takes to run one. If you're that damned worried about it, watch an hour less TV per month.
Can't explain that Prices go up, but service stays the same. You can't explain that!