Here in rural NW Ohio our options for broadband internet service is quite limited. There’s Frontier, with its you might as well use tin cans and a string DSL service, Dish with its prohibitively expensive satellite internet service, Metalink, a local wireless internet provider, and Time Warner. (my son is a network manager for Metalink) For those who live where Time Warner provides service, they are the only cost-effective option.
Did I say cost-effective? For 15Mbps down/1Mbps up service, it costs $53.08 a month, including modem rental and taxes. When we moved to Ney in 200, there was no modem rental fee. Over time, Time Warner has increased its monthly rate and recently it increased the modem rental fee to $8.00.($12.99 if you have their modem/router/wireless access point) And what have we got for the rate and rental increases? Nothing. I know Time Warner likes to spin the rate and rental increases as costs necessary to maintain and upgrade internet service. But, as far as I know, all the upgrading and increased speeds is happening in large market areas, not here in rural NW Ohio.
We live in an area that was once owned by Adelphia. Time Warner bought them out of bankruptcy in 2006. Since then, Time Warner has invested very little money in improving their service. Since Time Warner is the only cable TV provider in the area, customers are forced to put up with antiquated cable/DVR boxes straight out of the 1990’s. We tried their cable service once. One word, terrible. I went through three boxes in two weeks, none of them would work as advertised. From programming missing, to burned out ports, Time Warner’s cable and DVR service was by far the worst TV service I’ve ever used. (and why we use Dish Network for TV service)
The good news is that Time Warner thinks so little of this area that they plan to sell it off to Charter once their merger with Comcast is concluded. Perhaps, things will improve once Charter services this area.
After Time Warner raised the modem fee from $6.00 to $8.00, I decided to buy my own modem. For their Every Day Low Price 2Mbps, Basic 6Mbps, Standard 15Mbps, Turbo 20Mbps, Extreme 30Mbps, or Ultimate 50Mbps, a Motorola Surfboard 6121 modem can be had for $68.99. For speeds above 50Mbps, a Motorola Surfboard 6141 modem will cost around $89.99. Both of these modems are DOCIS 3.0 and IPv6 ready. (see all available internet packages here)
If you have one of Time Warner’s lame modem/router/wireless access point, you will have to purchase a router/wireless access point to handle your wireless network. You can buy a Linksys WRT54GL Router/Wireless Access Point for $49.99.
Let’s do the math:
If you don’t need a router/wireless access point or you already own one, purchasing the Motorola 6141 modem will pay for itself in less than nine months. If you need the modem and the router/access point, it will pay for itself in about nine months.
Granted, if you rent a modem, Time Warner is responsible for making sure it works. Please keep this in mind if you are computer illiterate or don’t have a geek like me in your family. It might be better for you to keep on paying Time Warner’s rental fee.
If you decide to buy a modem, here’s what you need to do:
- Write down the HFC MAC ID number that is found on the bottom of the modem. This number may also be on the box. If it is, you don’t need to write down the number. The MAC ID number is used to match your modem with Time Warner’s service.
- Disconnect your old modem and hook up the new modem. At the bare minimum, you will have a coaxial cable and a power cable. (make sure you use the power cable that came with the new modem) You may also have a cat 5e cable that connects the router to the modem. If you have a router/wireless access point, disconnect the power, wait, and reconnect it.
- Call Time Warner technical support at 1-800-892-4357. They will need your new MAC ID number. You can also use Time Warner’s online chat customer service. For complete instructions, go to this web page.
- Make sure you can access the internet.
- Return the rented modem to the local Time Warner office. Make sure they take the modem off of your account.
- As you are driving away from the Time Warner office, roll down your car window and stick out your middle finger.
- OK, that last step is optional.