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Time Warner Raising Modem Fees Again; Blocks CBS

By - Source: Reuters | B 18 comments

Oh yay. On Monday Time Warner Cable announced that it is raising the monthly fees to rent modems from the company to $5.99 a month. This will be the second time the broadband provider has raised its rates in the last eight months, as the company increased its modem fee to $3.95 back in November 2012.

Currently Time Warner Cable has roughly 12 million customers, thus the increase is expected to generate an additional $150 million in revenue this year alone. Customers who purchase the higher-end packages reportedly won't be affected by the change.

A Time Warner representative said on Monday that the monthly fee was raised due to the "cost associated with providing a modem". However customers not wanting to rent modems from the company can purchase their own solution that is compatible with Time Warner's broadband network. A list of compatible modems can be found here.

The representative said that the company is now notifying customers of the new modem rental rate. While many subscribers could lash out over the raised rate, ISI analyst Vijay Jayant points out that Comcast and Cox already charge modem fees between $7 and $8 per month. Time Warner customers, it seems, are still getting a discount.

Time Warner typically doesn't mention that customers can supply their own modems when they sign up for broadband service. Naturally the company makes more money from rentals, plus is has better control over the connection and the modem itself.

As an example, many modems come equipped with a Wi-Fi router that can only be turned on by Time Warner – customers do not have access to the modem's settings. To activate this feature, customers must call technical support for a technician to come out and log in, or to unlock the feature remotely. Typically the router aspect isn't activated when customers already have their own hardware.

In addition to raising its modem rates, Time Warner is currently facing increased fees of its own thanks to CBS. Unable to reach an agreement with the media giant, Time Warner pulled the plug on CBS "in some but not all areas" after midnight on Tuesday.

For weeks both companies have fought over increased fees collected by CBS, and the negotiations were expected to conclude on Monday. "There's progress being made and hopefully we don't go dark," said CBS CEO Leslie Moonves at an event in Los Angeles Monday night. "We still believe our content is worth a lot of money."

But both parties didn't come to an agreement, and Time Warner began to halt service in New York and Los Angeles which included CBS-owned Showtime, The Movie Channel, Flix and Smithsonian just after midnight. However at the request of CBS, Time Warner halted the blackout and agreed to extend negotiations until August 2 at 5pm EST.

Had the blackout continued, Dallas would have gone dark as well -- CBS affiliate stations owned by other companies would not have been affected. The actual contract between CBS and Time Warner expired in June, and the two sides already extended the deadline twice before Monday.

"We offered to pay reasonable increases, but CBS's demands are out of line and unfair," Time Warner said in a statement. "They want Time Warner Cable to pay more than others pay for the same programming."

Display 18 Comments.
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Top Comments
  • 12 Hide
    teddymines , July 31, 2013 9:53 AM
    Turned in their modem and bought my own shortly after the first "cable modem rental fee" went into effect. Got faster speeds and haven't had to reboot my CM once a week since.
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    jlockheart , July 31, 2013 9:37 AM
    I'm a TW customer with phone/internet/tv. When they first charging fees in November, I looked at their approved modems and none of them have the required port to handle both internet and phone. When I called and told them I wanted to buy my own router to avoid the monthly charges, what would I do for phone service. I was told that I would have to use BOTH modems and the one they supplied would only handle phone service. They would stop charging me a monthly modem rental fee however. So what exactly is this monthly fee if I still have their equipment?

    Ironically the device they supplied me is not on their approved list....
  • 12 Hide
    teddymines , July 31, 2013 9:53 AM
    Turned in their modem and bought my own shortly after the first "cable modem rental fee" went into effect. Got faster speeds and haven't had to reboot my CM once a week since.
  • 4 Hide
    headscratcher , July 31, 2013 10:02 AM
    If they had an ESPN delete package, they could probably save their subscribers a lot of money.
  • 3 Hide
    aoneone , July 31, 2013 10:39 AM
    That's why you ALWAYS buy your own modem~ ^_^
  • 0 Hide
    memadmax , July 31, 2013 10:43 AM
    The thing about the "only time warner can turn on the wireless" is Bull.
    I am a TWC customer and I can do anything I want with my modem, except own it, of course.
  • 7 Hide
    Immaculate , July 31, 2013 11:36 AM
    Google fiber is 100x times faster and it costs less (excluding home phone). Everyone has a cell phone now anyways. Google Fiber also offers free internet for 6 years for an initial hook up fee of $300. That 6 year internet is the same speed as TWC. If Google will allow you to have Gigabit internet for less money. Shouldn't TWC cost like $13 a month for their "fiber rich network runnin' up to a 100mbps!"
  • 5 Hide
    dkant1n , July 31, 2013 12:25 PM
    I used to work as a TW rep and in all the situations they tell you what to say, offering the customer the posibility to buy his own modem is not included in any training course, text or prepared answer that they "teach". That means that the very own reps often don't know those things, only the curious ones.
  • 5 Hide
    tslot05qsljgo9ed , July 31, 2013 12:38 PM
    Last November I went and purchased a used Motorola SB5101 from eBay for $15 total. Now that the rental rate is going to $5.99 a month it just makes my purchase even better.

    And as other posters have stated I too had my download speeds increase by 33%.
  • 2 Hide
    ipwn3r456 , July 31, 2013 12:45 PM
    Seriously Time Warner? I think I am goona buy my own modem... seriously. Are you guys are just money hungry like any other ISPs?
  • 0 Hide
    AndrewMD , July 31, 2013 4:52 PM
    Actually I am more annoyed at the number of people complaining about the rate increase. If you really was concerned about saving money you would have purchased a modem in the beginning not after they raise the price by $1 to $2 messily dollars. For the ones that are looking at how much revenue they are going to generate from the increase that is to run the company and pay people their salaries.

  • 1 Hide
    Bean007 , July 31, 2013 5:53 PM
    Why would you even rent a mode from your isp? I bought my Motorola Surfboard and it paid for itself many times over vs renting.
  • 1 Hide
    24oz , July 31, 2013 6:59 PM
    I have Time Warner internet in California I got the notice of the increase and just bought a MOTOROLA SB6141.I didn't know you could use your own modem till i did some searching.the modem the rent me is crap and will be going back to them this week.
  • 0 Hide
    shin0bi272 , July 31, 2013 10:20 PM
    @jlockheart you could also get vonage and while its not optimal for a solution, once you buy the vonage hardware its cheaper per month than twc. Then you can buy a plain modem and I think it still connects to your house hold phones but dont quote me on that. I do remember seeing one of their ads that said you can use your mobile phone too... Im guessing thats over wifi while youre at home but Id look into it if I were you.

    And as my response to the article itself... Ive been fighting with them the past few months myself because they are running an ad here about how if you sign up for service or come back from another service now they'll give you a 300 dollar gift card. Meanwhile they jacked up my rates from 121/mo (hdtv basic package, standard internet, and dvr) to 135/mo. So they are handing out free money to new people then sticking it to their current customers. If there was a way to watch live tv through some website so that I could flip through a bunch of shows Id dump their tv service in a heartbeat. Netflix and hulu just arent the same though they are tempting... especially since I can pipe anything on my pc to my tv via a vga cable (god I love my tv).
  • 0 Hide
    jadedmonkey28 , July 31, 2013 10:37 PM
    "We offered to pay reasonable increases, but CBS's demands are out of line and unfair," Time Warner said in a statement. "They want Time Warner Cable to pay more than others pay for the same programming."

    ROFLMAO Cable company treated like one of it's own customers who often pay more then the person next door for the same content. Their response of crying like a Biach about unfair pricing. And of course raise rates on there own customers, what a load of ship. Seriously, I wish I had TW so I could call in and tell them to go F themselves. They will pay in the end, I'm guessing CBS wanted another 150 million or so.
  • 0 Hide
    win7guru , August 1, 2013 4:44 AM
    After TWC lost their lawsuit for making mandatory rentals I got myself a DOCSIS 3 Motorola Modem and my speeds have been above the advertised speeds. Best part is there is not a monthly fee.
  • 0 Hide
    win7guru , August 1, 2013 5:16 AM
    After TWC lost their lawsuit for making mandatory rentals I got myself a DOCSIS 3 Motorola Modem and my speeds have been above the advertised speeds. Best part is there is not a monthly fee.
  • 0 Hide
    McgheeL , August 1, 2013 6:51 AM
    Here is what I do with the TV thing. I did the Netflix thing and have watched many seasons of shows and watched many that I had watched before like ds9 and have been plenty entertained for 9+ months. My thought is that I will just buy the blue ray disks of the shows that i'm missing by not having cable and aren't on Netflix. Justified and a few others come to mind. I've saved like 500 bucks and buying a few disks is nowhere near that price. And I've gotten used to commercials again and pushing mute.

    LM
  • 0 Hide
    Rosanjin , August 1, 2013 9:21 AM
    @Bean007 - Unfortunately, not all services give you the option of buying your own equipment. I'm a Uverse subscriber, and IPTV connection setups like theirs authenticate ONLY through their equipment. Not terribly pleased about it.

    Looking forward to Google Fiber next year. ^ ^

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