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Some Recent Changes to Comcast Cablemodem billing

An article by Plainsboro.COM owner Kennedy Lemke
November, 2001

 

Hi, everyone: this little web page isn't really an article as much as it is just a sort of a way for me to complain about rising internet service prices from Comcast of Central New Jersey. Here's the scoop of what's been happening recently:

I've been a Comcast cablemodem customer since about August of 1997. For the past four years, each year around August I have been charged annually for cablemodem service on my credit card. Cost has been about $400 (fairly reasonable). On one of my previous $400 charges I noted that they broke the cost down into: $300 for the service and $100 for cablemodem rental.

In the summer of 2001, I was having tremendous connectivity problems. At that time, I purchased my own cablemodem from CompUSA for about $200 (thinking there might be a problem with the one I was "renting" from Comcast) and also had a technician come to my house. The technician replaced splitters inside and outside my house and re-terminated all of the external cables. If you want more information about my new cablemodem and the work that the technician did, see this summary about this process here.

Buying my own cablemodem I thought would accomplish several things:

  • I'd no longer have to pay the annual "cablemodem rental fee" so my annual service charge would be a total of $300.
  • I'd have more control over my connection; that is, if I own the modem I can do whatever I want with it like replace it if it breaks and so forth.
  • I'd have better reliability. This has indeed turned out to be true, although I'm not certain if my increase in reliability is more from replacing the cablemodem or the technician's work in replacing my splitters and re-terminating the cables.

I noticed in September that my credit card hadn't been charged during August or September with the usual annual charge for cablemodem service that I'd been seeing the past four years. Instead, my October, 2001 monthly cable bill included a charge of $32.95 in addition to my regular cableTV service, bringing my total bill to $87.51 (yikes!).

This surprised me for a couple reasons:

  • This is the first time in 4+ years that I'd ever been billed monthly for cablemodem service. I didn't receive any notice either via email or that I recall notifying me about this change.
  • Paying $32.95 monthly would make my annual bill be $395.00 instead of the expected $300.00 I thought I'd be paying annually without renting a cablemodem from Comcast.

I called Comcast to ask about this. They told me several things:

  • They no longer do annual billing: billing for internet service is only done monthly now, and is folded in with your CableTV bill (if you have one)
  • The price would be increasing starting in November, 2001 from $32.95 to $39.95 per month
  • If I were still renting a cablemodem from them, I'd have to pay an *additional* $5.00 per month (but there indeed was no separate charge for cablemodem rental).

ARRRGGGGHHHHHH!

So now I'll be paying $480.00 per year (billed monthly) for cablemodem service on top of the ~$600.00 per year (billed monthly) that I already pay for CableTV service. YIKES.

So now Comcast has their hand in my wallet for around $1,100.00 per year. HOLY CRAP! The phone company (Verizon) takes less than $400.00 from me each year and I have TWO phone lines! I'm very bummed about this additional outrageous amount of money, of course.

BUT, before I get too ticked off about this, let's compare this $40.00 monthly bill to other potential services:

  • Dedicated phone line + ISP: if I compare this to the cost of a dedicated telephone line plus some lame dial-in internet provider like AOL or someone, I'd be looking at about $22.00 (for ISP) + $10.00 (for additional phone line) for a total of $32.00 a month.
  • DSL: I couldn't find information about current charges, and DSL is not available to me from Verizon anyway, but last time I checked, DSL service was about $50.00 per month for bandwidth of 640Kb download/64Kb upload. This is about half of Comcast's download/upload bandwidth.

So even now, in November of 2001, cablemodem service from Comcast in Central New Jersey is still the best bet in terms of price/performance. I'm still bummed about what I'm shelling out for this broadband service, but realize it's still one of the better deals out there. Even so, I encourage all Comcast @Home customers to please remain vigilant by insisting on extremely reliable connectivity via Comcast as well!