Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Stop the Time Warner Cable madness (or at least slow it down)

It came to my attention over the holidays that many, if not all, of my family members were still "renting" their 5-8 year old modems from Time Warner Cable for $6-$8 month despite my previous post on why you should buy your own modem (see my post here from 2012).

However, with news coming out over the holidays that Time Warner was going to hike the rental rates again for these modems to $8 to $10/month everyone seemed to take a renewed interest in buying their own modem.

Here is the analogy I like to use:

Imagine if a garbage collection company like Waste Management said we'll charge you $45/month for collection and they gave you a six year old green Waste Management garbage can to use as part of the service.  However, imagine if after three years of service they decided that they needed to charge you a "rental fee" of $6/month for the garbage can.  Well, you'd probably tell them to keep their garbage can and you'd go to Home Depot and buy your own for $40.

Well, this is basically what Time Warner is doing.  Most people have old, antiquated modems in their homes which would probably be tossed in the recycling bin if returned to Time Warner, but because a modem is more intimidating than a garbage can people won't swap out their modem and they continue to keep giving Time Warner an extra $8 per month.

I returned my "rented" modem before they instituted the first charges of $4/month back in 2012.  I estimate that since that time I've saved around $200 with my $55 router.  Currently only 10% of Time Warner's customers own their own router. That means 90% of you are giving away money to Time Warner every month.  Here's how to end that practice....

1) Visit the Time Warner Cable page and look up your plan & modems that they suggest for your plan.  Unless you live in NYC and have access to 300mbps downloads, most of the widely available units will work.

2) Buy the best router you can afford.  The incredibly well rated Arris Surfboard SB6141 can be had as a refurb for $55 on Ebay.

3) Follow the easy instructions here to activate your new router.

4) Take that extra $8-$10/month that is now sitting in your pocket and shower your friendly neighborhood blogger with lavish gifts and fine wines :)

*** One caveat - Charter Communications, which recently merged with Time Warner, doesn't break out their rental fees for modems.  If Time Warner were to implement this policy (ie, instead of charging $49.99 + $10 for modem rental, if they just charged $59.99) it would throw a wrench in this plan.

One more Time Warner rant - I know most people know to visit www.speedtest.net to ensure they are getting what they are paying for with Time Warner.  Two weeks ago we noticed a deterioration of our internet quality.  We have the Turbo plan (20mbps down/1mbps up) but when I ran the speedtest I was getting 1.5mbps down & 1.1mbps up.  I contacted Time Warner Cable online & within 15 seconds I was restored to 20+mbps down.  There was no explanation of why we had been throttled but it was clear that we weren't getting what we were paying for.

Something to keep an eye on.


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