Cable modem lease fee outrages Time Warner Cable customers - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Cable modem lease fee outrages Time Warner Cable customers

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ALBANY, N.Y. - A new fee is causing an uproar with Time Warner Cable customers, not just in the Capital Region, but across the state.

The $3.95 charge is being added to every bill as a rental fee for the modem.

There has been such an out-cry against the new fee that a Rensselaer County Legislator is asking for the state Public Service Commission to investigate.

Reaction to the Time Warner Cable charge is everywhere and it's also the subject of two class action lawsuits.

One Time Warner customer tells NEWS10 it's not the dollar amount that bothers him, but the principle behind it.

"When I saw the 3.95 a month, I said, not again," says Dan Whalen of Delmar.

Whalen says with children in college and grade school, not having access to the internet is not an option. "It's not a luxury item anymore, it's a necessity," he says.

Whalen expressed frustration with having to pay an extra fee for a piece of equipment that has been in his home for years.

In a statement, a communications manager for Time Warner Cable says, "As we continue to deploy more and more cable modems, many of these modems need servicing or replacing, get damaged and some are not returned. The monthly lease charge will allow us to service or replace the equipment, provide a better user experience and further enhance our Internet services."

But Rensselaer County Legislator Mike Stammel says the fee is unnecessary, and is calling on the state Public Service Commission to investigate.

"These boxes have been in people's homes for years, now all of a sudden it substantiates a fee for sitting on their TV?" asks Stammel. "That's kind of ludicrous in my opinion."

Time Warner Cable emphasizes that customers do have a choice; they can continue to lease the modem provided by them or purchase their own from a third-party retailer and won't be charged the fee.

A list of approved modems can be found here.

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