Balancing Act

Time Warner Cable begins charging for leased cable modems

Ever since we've subscribed to Time Warner Cable's (TWC) broadband service, our cable modem was provided by TWC at no charge. As of November 2012, TWC has decided to quietly assess an equipment lease fee of $3.95 a month. That's $47.40 a year and who knows if the monthly lease will increase in subsequent years. $47.40 can get you a decent meal or over a full tank of gas (speaking on behalf of Prius owners). The good news is you can buy your own cable modem and use it with your TWC broadband subscription. All you need to do is verify that the modem you will be replacing your TWC-leased equipment with is authorized by TWC for use with their network. You can do this by clicking on the following link:

http://www.timewarnercable.com/en/residential-home/support/topics/internet/buy-your-modem.html

I recommend buying a used or refurbished compatible cable modem off of eBay or Craigslist, where the starting price begins at $10.00 and ranges up to $30.00 (depending on the model of your preference). In my case, I was fortunate enough to be able to buy a refurbished modem for $16. In essence, the modem will pay for itself in about 4 months.

Once you've acquired your own modem, you'll need to contact a TWC agent and inform them about the equipment swap. To keep things simple, I just used their online support via online chat to complete this step. You'll need to provide them with your new modem's MAC (media access control) address to activate it. After all is said and done, just return your leased equipment to the local TWC store, modem and cable. If you are planning to stay with TWC for a long time, I recommend that you invest in your own modem to save on leasing costs in the long run. Assuming the monthly lease cost remains constant at $3.95 a month and you're staying with TWC for 5 years, the cost of leasing would amount to $237.00.

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