Happy New Year! Your Comcast cable modem will soon cost $10 a month to rent, up from the previous $8 fee.
Last week, GeekWire columnist Frank Catalano said he was notified that the rate hike was going into effect in the New Year, and another customer posted on Reddit yesterday, noting the 25 percent increase which was disclosed on page 7 of his last statement.
Comcast customers, including residents of Washington State, are slated to pay more for the modem starting Jan. 1. But the good news is, if you are opposed to paying more for the modem, there is something you can do about it: Buy your own.
If you do the math, it makes economic sense: A basic modem on Amazon.com costs $70, so as long as you plan on staying with Comcast, you’ll break even after seven months.
If that process sounds a little daunting, TechCrunch describes a pretty painless setup:
Step 1: Plug it in.
Step 2: Call Comcast, say “I bought my own modem,” read them the serial numbers on the back of the modem. Done.
There seems to be two exceptions to this that will make it a little more complicated.
For one, the modem mentioned above won’t work for people who use Comcast’s phone service, and if you’re using one of Comcast’s combo boxes, which is both a modem and a router, the cost will be higher and setup will be a bit more complicated. But for tech-savvy folks, it is probably still manageable.
Other rate hikes will also take place this year, so it’s generally worth taking a glance at your last bill to see how things are changing. (In addition to seeing the modem fee increase, I was also notified of other oddball items, such as a $1 “regional sports fee.”)
Another rate hike coming in July to be aware of has to do with “retransmission” fees, which Comcast and other cable operators pay to carry the signals of broadcast stations (which they are required to do). In July, Comcast started charging a Broadcast TV Fee of $1.50 for the first time. That fee will increase in July 2015 to $3.25 a month in Washington State.
In a statement, Comcast spokesman Steve Kipp, said customer bills will increase on average by 3.4 percent nationwide. “We periodically need to adjust prices due to increases we incur in programming, business costs and new technology,” he said.