I recently bought my own cable modem because I was sick of paying Time Warner Cable $US6 each month to “lease” the ugly black box sitting in my cabinet.
As I outlined in a post earlier this week, buying your own modem can save you a lot of money. Comcast, the largest internet provider in the country, charges a whopping $US10 per month — that’s $US120 per year — just to rent a modem.
The $US90 modem I bought, he ARRIS / Motorola SurfBoard SB6141, which was recommended by The Wirecutter, a product reviews site that I trust, would pay for itself in less than a year if you’re a Comcast subscriber.
It may seem intimidating to buy your own modem — the one you have in your home may have been installed by a technician from your cable company — but it’s ridiculously easy to set up, and I highly recommend buying your own modem.
It only took me about 30 minutes, including the time I had to spend on the phone with Time Warner Cable customer service, to set up the one I bought.
It was almost as simple as just disconnecting my old modem and connecting the new one it its place.
That involved plugging the modem into the wall, connecting the cable from the wall to the modem, and plugging in my wireless router.
That was what the instructions that came with the modem instructed me to do.
But after I did that, I couldn’t get online.
After briefly cursing myself for trying to do this before I went to sleep, and considering plugging my old modem back in so my girlfriend wouldn’t wake up to an internet-less apartment, I called Time Warner Cable.
I prepared myself for a long phone call that involved navigating menus and getting transferred multiple times, and perhaps even a hang up. After all, Time Warner Cable came in dead last in this year’s American Consumer Satisfaction Index, which measures the satisfaction US consumers have with companies.
But I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised — dare I say shocked — by my pleasant experience with the cable company.
After getting myself through a pre-recorded step-by-step troubleshooting guide that instructed me to unplug my modem and router and then plug it in again, which I had already done — companies do everything they can to avoid connecting you with a human, because they have to pay humans — I asked for a representative.
I was connected with a Time Warner Cable representative under a minute later who was able to help me. She knew exactly what to do if someone called who had their own modem and was having trouble setting it up.
It turned out that all I needed to do was give the cable company my modem ID, also called a MAC address — a unique number assigned to each modem — and unplug my modem and wireless router to reset them.
After that, I was online.
The kind woman on the other end of the phone also said that as soon as I return my old modem to the Time Warner Cable customer service center the company will stop charging me the monthly fee.
So that’s my next step — to return my modem. Hopefully I won’t continue to see that “Internet Modem Lease” charge on my bill each month now.
As I wrote earlier this week, that may be easier said than done, as a colleague of mine continued to get charged by Time Warner Cable even after he returned his modem.
I highly recommend that you spend the $US90 to get your own modem. It may seem like a steep one-time cost, but you’ll save money over the long term and it’s ridiculously easy to set up.
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