Exactly four years ago I wrote an extensive article for our newsletter about switching from Comcast TV and Internet service to AT&T’s U-verse. At the time it was a good deal and U-verse was certainly more reliable than Comcast. We had U-verse for two years until the introductory priced contract expired and the rates rose. U-verse service was okay, but not great and streaming Netflix was annoyingly interrupted multiple times for buffering. Both my wife and I have part-time consultancies which require us to have good, consistent internet connections and U-verse just didn’t quite do it for us. So two years ago when a Comcast sales person came around and tried to get us back to Comcast with a deal that was equal to U-verse TV but with much better Internet speeds, we bit and made the switch. That contract ended this month and as we should have expected, our bill rose dramatically. We complained to Comcast and told them we had to get the bill back down to a manageable level, and certainly there must be some other bundle that would do the job for less. To make a long story short, we wound up with a basic TV, phone, and internet package, and upgraded the TV and internet portions to mid-tier levels and still wound up with a price well below the bill we had after our previous contract had expired.
One of the things that always irked me with our previous arrangement was all the extra fees, equipment rentals, and taxes that were added on to the price they quoted. This was true for both AT&T as well as Comcast. In 2014 when we had the Comcast service installed the technician said that we had to rent their modem because theirs was the only one that could also simultaneously handle the phone service. Retail high speed modems were not capable of this. However quietly in mid-2015, Comcast began to loosen up their policy and several telephony modems were approved for retail purchase and use on their network. A complete list of modems (both with telephony and without) is available online.
This month while following a screed on Macintouch about Comcast Business Internet, one writer made reference to the list cited above and mentioned that he bought a modem at Dontleaseyourmodem.com. The online list above had a link to Amazon for the telephony modem I had, an Arris TG862G, but Amazon wanted $177.99 for it while dontleaseyourmodem had the “same” modem for $97.97 with a $2 coupon. Since the latter had good reviews, I went with them. The were very prompt, and I had the modem in 3 days from ordering. The modem didn’t look quite the same as my rented modem which had a vertical shape and big round white indicator lights, but was more of a horizontal shape. Yet it was clearly labeled as a TG872G and had all the same connectors.
The modem came with instructions that cautioned me to first try the automated activation process, and if that failed repeatedly only then try the manual method by calling Comcast. They warned that if the technician said they wanted to transfer your call, hang up and try again. The problem is that not all Comcast technicians understand that company policy has evolved to allow customer owned telephony modems and some will give you grief about attaching an unauthorized or “stolen” device to their network. Fortunately, I had no such problem and was able to activate the modem through their automated system. It didn’t go exactly like described in the instructions, but it was easy enough.
My new modem has been operating flawlessly for the past several days and I believe it was well worth the investment. Rental charges were $10.00 per month so it will pay for itself in less than a year. The only caveat, of course, is that if anything goes wrong with it, it is up to me to replace or fix it as opposed to calling Comcast and getting a new on from them with no additional charges.
Once I was satisfied that all the modem’s function were operating normally, I took the old one back to the Xfinity store. The only problem with that was waiting the 45 minutes to speak with an agent. The agent asked very little when I said I was returning the modem but not to disconnect the service. She asked whether I purchased my own modem, and I said yes. She smiled, scanned a few barcodes off the modem, handed me a receipt, and I was done. Ten dollars off my monthly Xfinity bill from now until forever maybe small given the overall cost, but it adds up.