Time Warner Cable to begin charging $4/month modem rental fee for Road Runner

FoxCitiesTV's picture
Green Bay
I'm surprised it hasn't come sooner, as I've been hearing about this coming for a long time.  But it appears that Time Warner Cable will soon be charging all Road Runner customers a fee for the priviledge of "leasing" their modem -- something they've been essentially doing for free since forever.

I'm not sure if people have been receiving postcards in the mail like the irate New York market TWC customers have been (who are actually suing over the fee), but the following appeared on my last statement in the mice-type section no one usually reads:
Beginning with your next bill, an Internet Modem Lease Fee will be applied to Time Warner Cable provided internet modems at the rate of $3.95 per month. If you would like to use your own modem, visit twc.com/approveddevices for a list of approved modems.
When you visit that link, you'll see a list of "approved devices" one can purchase and install themselves to avoid the impending cash grab rate hike.  If you are on a Turbo, Extreme or Ultimate plan -- or if you think you may in future and want to future-proof yourself -- you'll have to foot a heftier pricetag for a DOCSIS 3.0 specified modem.  All others will likely be fine with a DOCSIS 2.0 modem.  

The king daddy of DOCSIS 2.0 modems, and one Time Warner is most likely going to charge you nearly $47 a year to rent, is the Motorola SURFboard SB5101U.  This is currently the TWC-issued model I have and it's been rock-steady for me for years.  Currently you can find them new on Amazon for about $49, though if you act fast before all the other TWC customers get wise, you can find used and refurbished models for as low as $25.

Of course, there are many who will rightly cry foul and look to switch providers.  AT&T U-Verse is the main alternate player in this area, and equivalent plans are pretty much the same unless you can get a deal that, very likely, is only going to last a few months to a year tops anyways.  Personally, Time Warner is the only option for me that isn't DSL, and I've never considered DSL a viable option for my needs.  I don't have pay TV, so we're a heavily streaming video-based family.  Ironically for me, AT&T U-Verse considers my house an island in my neighborhood, the only one that shows as ineligible by address.

UPDATE:  I haven't activated my own self-purchased modem yet, but I'm also hearing a rumor that TWC will also charge you to activate one (not sure if it's one-time or monthly).  If you have insight, leave a comment below or email mark@foxcitiestv.com!

What are you doing in light of this new rate hike convenience fee?

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Posted November 14, 2012 9:09am in
wihogfan's picture

Hadn't seen this about the

Hadn't seen this about the modem charge yet, but I did get a letter last week stating that TWC was switching a few more channels from analog to digital in December and in order to keep receiving those channels without a cable box I'd need to order a digital adapter.
Per the letter, digital adapters needed to be ordered via their website and the 1st would be free and additional adapters would cost 99 cents if ordered prior to the change.
My experience was that I was able to order 2 adapters for free, but was not given the option to order additional adapters (I wanted 4 total).
Researching it a bit on the web, these adapters have to be activated by TWC, so generic adapters won't work and according to some people where TWC has switched all of their channels to digital, TWC starts charging 99 cents per month per adapter after initial the roll out period.
I'm going to have to seriously consider switching to satellite for TV. Don't have another option where I live for internet. As far as the modem goes though- yes, I'll definitely buy my own rather than pay to rent one for $4 a month.

wihogfan's picture

And I just ordered a used

And I just ordered a used Motorola SURFboard SB5101U off of Amazon- total cost was $31 w/shipping. Thanks for the heads up.

FoxCitiesTV's picture

I found an SB5101U on the

I found an SB5101U on the shelf at Goodwill a few years ago (modem only, no cables or power cord) for $1.99. Might have to find a universal a/c adapter and see if it works. (Just watch, it'll be one that was reported stolen or on an account with an unpaid balance...)

TvBoy's picture

With my AT&T internet, I had

With my AT&T internet, I had to buy a modem from Wal-Mart. $50.

bhengh's picture

I just ordered a new SB5101U

I just ordered a new SB5101U from Amazon for my in-laws. (I have AT&T DSL.) When it arrives and we get it activated, I'll try to remember to post back here and let you know if they charged an activation fee.

FoxCitiesTV's picture

Still haven't gotten my

Still haven't gotten my Goodwill SB5101U hooked up yet, as I'm still looking for a (preferably cheap) power adapter for it. Bought one at Menards, but realized it's underpowered. The SB5101U requires an adapter with a minimum of 750mA and the one I bought is 500mA (which apparently isn't good).

I did notice that my bill went up this month with the inclusion of the lease fee. I'm definitely thinking of bumping up to the $49.99 Turbo + Basic TV bundle if only for the speed boost. 2 Mbps is pretty useless, and with us having a MagicJack phone for emergency use, it would probably make it more reliable too.

FoxCitiesTV's picture

Connected my Goodwill SB5101U

Connected my Goodwill SB5101U hooked up yesterday, and it is now all activated and working perfectly. Just had to call the TWC office with the MAC address listed on the bottom and they got it activated in just a few minutes. Will be dropping off the old one today to get it off my bill going forward.

Best $1.99 impulse purchase I ever made at Goodwill. I've just been sitting on it for several years without the need to use it until now.


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In light of Time Warner's new "modem lease fee" for Road Runner, will you buy your own modem?:

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