We New Yorkers who are stuck with unreliable Time Warner Cable got a postcard in the mail yesterday informing us that we will now have to pay $4 per month to rent the cable modem necessary to use its crappy internet. Here's how to buy your own modem and stick it to the man, no matter where you live. Because screw you, Time Warner.
As it turns out, Time Warner's "Greetings From One-Percent Mountain" postcard isn't an irrevocable death sentence. You can buy your own modem as long as it's on the company's pre-approved list of which modems work in your region. Just head over to this portal, punch in your zip code, and Time Warner will give you a list of modems you can buy yourself.
You'll notice that the list of "approved for retail" modems list is much shorter than the "approved for rental list," which means that, as per usual corporate fuckery, Time Warner will rent you an older, outmoded POS, but they won't approve it for use if you bring your own modem to the party.
Here are the five modems approved for purchase in New York:
The top two modems are DOCSIS 3.0 compliant—basically, they're future-proofed against the latest Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification version. Currently, all you need is DOCSIS 2.0, and given the glacial rate at which Time Warner upgrades its infrastructure, don't expect a DOCSIS 2.0 modem to be out of date anytime soon.
In fact, the cheapest modem above, the Motorola SB5101, is rated for up to 30Mbps upstream capacity—way way more than the whopping 5Mbps maximum in New York City. Not to mention that it's infinitely better than the RCA piece of crap some clueless technician installed in your house anyway. So go for it.
If you buy your own modem, it'll likely pay for itself (compared to equivalent rental fees) in less than a year. And you'll likely use it way longer than that; you're going to have Internet forever—no matter how bad Time Warner sucks. Best of all? The money doesn't go to a money-sucking corporate scum brigade.