Comcast's $1.2b/year modem-rental scam picks your pocket, then exposes you to hackers, stalkers and identity thieves

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Comcast’s standard combination modem-router-WAP has the annoying property that, even if you disable your own wifi and arrange with Comcast to disable the xfinity wifi, the radio is still on and using up a wifi channel. It interfered with the signal from my own good WAP. That’s what finally motivated me to turn in the Comcast box, buy my own gear, and save the $10/month.


Yep. I rented mine for awhile… initially work paid for it all so it wasn’t my problem and when that stopped it was $3/month which for the ease of it b0rk3d here we will just swap that out for you wasn’t a problem. When it hit $7 a month I was okay I could buy a new modem every year and still save money the wife researched our choices and we got our own.
As far as getting the charge to stop that wasn’t an issue and it was dead easy to get set up, well at least once my old man eyes read the MAC address properly to the Comcast tech. I took their modem to their drop off site the next day and that was that.


Unfortunately, buying your own modem does not make you more secure. The cable companies have made it so that firmware update cannot be installed by the customer; only the cable provider can update the firmware. Of course if you request a firmware update for a modem you own they will tell you they only provide updates for the modems that they support, i.e. the ones they rent to customers.

I recently upgraded my Surboard modem as it was old and fell off Comcast’s approved list. In the time that I had it, I did update the firmware myself without Comcast being involved. I now have an ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 and it got me a 30% bump in speed over the already big bump the previous modem got me. Buying you own modem for Comcast service is a no brainer.


I have the same modem. There are not any firmware updates available for that model; at least not any that customers can download. In fact, there are no firmware updates for any of their models.

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My prior (I don’t recall the model) was Motorola branded and I believe I had to do some deep googling to find the firmware update on a users’ forum in 2016.


I’ve always bought my own modem in the past and since I work in tech, I’m very comfortable configuring and deploying hardware.

My issue, though, is that I couldn’t find a modem for purchase that also supported their VoIP service, so I’m stuck with their modem. I have turned off as much functionality as I can and just bridge to my own wireless router (but as somebody else observed, the wifi signal seems to keep coming back no matter what you do)

Couldn’t find one? This is the one I got (Arris from Amazon) and it works great. No wifi via the modem - I use my own Netgear R7000 running DD-WRT firmware.

Also keep in mind that some cable companies (I’m glaring at you, Cox!) will push updates to all connected modems, regardless if you own it or are renting it. (i.e., you might upgrade the firmware on it, but they’ll cheerfully downgrade it right back, because the newer firmware is ‘not approved’ on their network. (hence the list of approved models)

You’d think that any old DOCSIS compliant modem would work, but not with their management system…

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Thanks for that - when I first signed up 2 years ago, none of their approved models were actually available anywhere online. That is useful info and I have saved the listing - I think it would pay for itself in 12 months (and I could control better what it does and doesn’t do.

Is you experience generally quite good with that model?

I got my own modem, though it is fairly difficult to do. But then comes the real challenge. There is only one person in All of Comcast that knows how to provision your modem. So you have to keep calling customer service again and again until you get lucky and hit that one person.

The modem I got is on their “approved” list (as are many others) so it just works. I purposely chose one that did not have wifi capability. It is easy to do as this link walks you through it:

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