Many cable internet providers have been initiating or increasing cable modem rental fees recently. In many cases, the fees are now so high that it is almost a “no-brainer” decision to buy your own modem. Unfortunately, many people either won’t notice the fee or don’t even know that bringing your own equipment is an option.
In my case, a family member who had Time Warner cable was now being charged $5.99 a month for basic cable modem rental. $6 a month is $72 a year. A quick look on the TWC compatible modem list showed several models that can be found online at retailers like Amazon.com for under $100. (The model with a built-in WiFi router costs $12 a month while a separate router can be bought for $20!)
I stuck with a familiar name brand and picked the Motorola Surfboard SB6121 for $65.99. (The SB6141 at $80 is the next model up and compatible with the fastest speeds available, though you’ll have to subscribe to one of the most expensive monthly plans.) Both are DOCSIS 3.0 which ensures future compatibility.
The installation process was quite simple:
- Buy the modem. Wait for it to arrive. Remove old modem (unscrew cable cord and unplug power). Install new modem (screw in cable line and plug it power).
- Call your provider or start a Live Chat session online. Time Warner is 1-800-TWC-HELP (1-800-892-4357), or pick the “Buy or Lease your Modem” option when chatting.
- Provide them with the Cable Modem ID (MAC address) found on the back or bottom of your new modem. Wait 30 minutes or less and your high speed internet should be working again.
- Remember to return old modem (this is really the hardest part).
Unless you plan on moving really soon, at $66 for the modem with free shipping you’d break even in less than 11 months. Alternatively, consider it a $66 investment that distributes $6 of tax-free income every month. That’s a 111% annual yield. Good luck finding any stock that will give you that!