Time Warner Can Byte Me

Here’s an excerpt from the email I got from Time Warner this week:

We want to inform you of upcoming changes to your Internet service price beginning with your next bill. The Internet Modem Lease will be $5.99.

What? It used to be that the cable giant provided a modem for free, but less than a year ago they started charging $3.99 per month. Now, inexplicably, they’ve added two bucks more. Very nice.

Time Warner already nickel and dimes you death on everything, so this is no surprise, but you don’t have to take it lying down: buy your own modem and tell them where they can put theirs.

There’s a list of acceptable models on their website; after a bit of shopping, I found that while a modem isn’t cheap, it will pay for itself in under a year. The Netgear CMD31T seems to be about the best bargain at $79.99, but you can also find used refurbished modems cheaper, or for a real bargain, buy one on eBay.

Maybe you think this is no big deal, but it’s a symptom of the ongoing arrogance of an industry that thinks it’s the only game in town.

But if you ask me, big cable companies should be worried. They are in the same position as newspapers were ten years ago: rapidly nearing the edge of a cliff that they seem not to notice. Some will change direction and others will plunge to the bottom.

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