Sunday, August 8, 2010

BDOZT: Stick it to Comcast!

Welcome to the first entry in Byte Down's On Z Tip, a brand new column section on Byte Down, hell bent on providing with you tips and tricks to surviving the less savory parts of life with the help of technology. The solutions to some of life's most puzzling problems are often right under your nose. We're here to pick up those solutions and beat you in the face with them. We only do it because you love you. You are our special little angel. Just don't tell anyone.

In our first On Z Tip, we're going to show you how to stick it to Comcast cable.

If you've been with Comcast long enough to no longer be eligible for their "new customer" specials, your pocketbook probably feels about as worked as the zipper on Tiger Woods' silly looking golf slacks. The constantly rising rates along with the weird tacked on fees and taxes can really put a strain on your relationship  with happiness. Fear not, beaten step child of commerce! There is something you can do.

With as busy as life can get, people often neglect to actually look at their bills. Yes, it can be a painful thing to do at the end of the month. No one wants to cry. But if you are a Comcast high speed internet customer, your  challenge is to take a look at your bill and examine the line item charges under the high speed internet section. Go ahead, we'll wait.

Looky what we have here!

If you're using a Comcast provide modem, there is a $5 monthly rental charge for a cable modem. Using our third grade multiplication skills (and then our post-high school calculator), we learn that this monthly fee racks up to $60 per calendar year. That's $60 a year for a cable modem that you don't own, that was most likely used by a prior customer, and is probably inferior similar devices on the market. That's $60 that could go somewhere a lot more fun. 

Few people realize that Comcast, unlike some other providers, allows you to use your own compatible cable modem. Of course, Comcast doesn't include this in their advertising. If you are currently rent a cable modem from Comcast, you can simply purchase your own cable modem, call Comcast to activate it, and return the old money sucking box of suck back to the suckers. Easy as pie. You can purchase a great cable modem for $40 to $99. At most, it will take less than two years for the purchase to pay for itself. And you get to chose the quality of the modem, pulling yourself away from the mercy of Comcast. Informed consumers who go this route often find that they are getting speeds and service greater than they did when they were using Comcast's box.

While $60 a year isn't a huge savings, consider how long you have been a Comcast customer and how long you are likely to remain one, if only for their high speed internet.  It's the small victories that make life great, and this one is just too easy. To make it even easier, we'll tell you which boxes to use with your level of service. Aren't we great?

For Comcast customers who subscribe to high speed internet service (under 28 Mbps down):

Motorola Surfboard SB5101 -
Right around $50. User reviews claim higher rate of speed than received with Comcast provided cable modem. It'll pay for itself within 10 months.

Linksys CM100-
Just a few bucks over $50 (shipping included). Highly rated by customers. Will pay for itself within a year. 

For Comcast customers who subscribe to high speed internet with speeds OVER 38 Mpbs (business grade): 

Motorola Surfboard SB6120 (DOCSIS 3.0)-
Currently priced at $100. This will pay for itself in just under two years. Worth it for the massive upgrade over what Comcast offers it's business speed users. Future-ready and highly praised by users.

For users who subscribe to both Comcast high speed internet and Comcast VOIP service, we highly recommend that you search for another VOIP provider. Even when bundled (Comcast Triple Play or Double Play), Comcast's phone service is over $30, well over that of it's competition. Check out the recently updated TopTenREVIEWS for information on VOIP services currently available. Byte Down currently recommends ITP, which has service packages starting at $10 per month.

That's On Z Tip. Chew on it!

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