Today a majority of American households have cable television and broadband Internet service. Regardless of which Service Provider is connecting your home to the Internet, one piece of hardware is always required...the DSL or cable modem. What most people don't know is that you can buy your own and eliminate the "lease fee" your provider charges for the one they "gave" you. This fee alone accounts for as much as 20% of your bill. Read on below the break to learn how you can make the switch.
What is a DSL/Cable Modem?
A DSL or cable modem provides a data connection between your home and the service provider. The data connection is used to manage the television channels and Internet speed to which your account has access. It also enables you to purchase on-demand movies and pay-per-view events. Using the information the service provider sends to the modem, the hardware within it converts the encrypted signal coming from the service provider into signals that televisions, computers, and mobile devices can use. During this process it only converts the data for the channels to which your account has access. The rest are left encrypted, and thus unviewable to your devices. In the case of your Internet access, the modem receives data from your service provider "throttling" or restricting the speed at which you can communicate with the Internet based on the level of service for your account.
Why it Makes Financial Sense
When the installer for your provider came to your home to setup service, one of the things they did was install a DSL or cable modem. This is a standard practice and it's something which is included with any installation or setup. What they won't tell you is that they charge a monthly fee to "lease" that modem to you. Nor will they inform you that you have the option to buy your own modem and thus get the "modem lease fee" deducted from your bills.
These fees, accounting for as much as 20% of your monthly bill, add up quickly. Like everything else in the world, those fees are increased over time. Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Comcast both increased the fees they charge customers for DSL/cable modems on January 1st. In the case of Time Warner, the fees increased from $5.99 to $8.00 per month. Comcast's fees increased from $8.00 to whopping $10.00 per month.
So with TWC you are paying $96 a year and with Comcast it's $120 per year. Compare that to purchasing a DSL or cable modem from a local electronics store. A Motorola SB6121 cable modem currently costs $69.99 at BestBuy. It compatible with TWC's service and will pay for itself in less than a year! From that point on you'll be saving a nice chunk of cash.
We all look for ways to reduce expenses around our households that won't impact our lifestyles. Buying your own DSL or cable modem is a great way to accomplish that goal. Take a moment and think about how long you've had cable tv or Internet service. How much money would you have saved over that time if you'd owned your cable modem instead of paying your service provider for their's? What better use could you have put that money towards?
How to Make The Switch
It may come as a surprise to you that the process of replacing the leased modem from your service provider with one you own is relatively easy. In a few steps, you'll be on your way to saving money like a pro.
Step 1 Contact your service provider or go to their website to get a list of modems which they have verified to be compatible with their service. Some providers also list modem compatibility by the level or speed of Internet service provided.
Congratulations! You've made the switch.
Other Reasons You May Want to Get Your Own Modem
Security / Privacy
Most providers today are marketing the fact that they will provide you with a WiFi network for your home as an added bonus. While this sounds great at first glance, what it's really doing is compromising the security and privacy of your home network. Why? Because your service provider is held accountable for any content which travels across equipment it owns. Under the terms of your service agreement with them, you grant them access to any and all equipment they own within your household. In the case of a WiFi DSL or cable modem, it extends to your home WiFi network as well.
When you buy your own cable modem and maintain a separate network router, their liability and access stop at your modem. The security and privacy of the information on your local area and WiFi networks are protected.