Comcast insists on sending a free replacement modem

First the Dear Customer letter,

Our records indicate that the cable modem which you currently use for you Comcast hi speed internet service may not be able to recieve the full range of speeds available.

Soo…sounds good to me, they are pleased to form they will send a new one for free. But I laughed out loud wondering what their idea might be when they say access to “full range of speeds” Do they want to slow me down or speed me up? :dubious:

I let the letter sit for a week, while I browsed netflix streaming and other wii channels.

I’m not experiencing buffering delays or twitches in our service, it makes me wonder about my modem. If it aint broke why fix it? Or does comcast want to “fix” this customer?

I don’t know, but I had a problem last year. They sent out some service people who had to replace the modem. It was a faster one, and my old computer couldn’t handle the speed. They had to include a special dongle and load some drivers to make it work. It took them a couple of hours.

The funny thing is I got a new computer a couple of weeks later.

Sure sounds suspicious to me. Are you SURE it’s from Comcast? I’ve never known Comcast to offer anything for free without some benefit to them, and your internet speed ain’t it. Like you said, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

Comcast already knows what “speed” you’re paying for, and if your current modem is capable of that, then they won’t waste equipment for speeds that you’re not paying for. If you own your modem, they don’t care. If you’re renting their modem, then there’s no need for a replacement. And certainly no reason to give you a “free” one to end the rental revenue.

“Microsoft” was calling people awhile back, explaining how they’d discovered that their computers were having problems, even though the owners may have been unaware of any, and could be resolved by downloading a program that gave remote access to “Microsoft” technicians to correct the problems. Of course, it wasn’t really Microsoft, and some people really did download the program.

If you think the letter might really be from Comcast, it’s easy enough to call them for verification and ask WHY it’s so important.

(I STILL haven’t gotten a straight answer from my bank why they offer FREE Online Bill Pay. Their stock answer that the bank truly does care about my security and customer convenience is the trashiest bullcrap I’ve ever heard. They do nothing for free that doesn’t pay off somewhere else.)

They switched our modem out recently. I think it helps them communicate with the device for whatever reason.

They recently offered us a new wireless router (over the phone during a service call, not via mail) but we would have had to start paying a monthly rental fee so we declined the offer since we already own ours.

It’s been a decade since I worked in banking, so take this with a grain of salt. Back then online bill pay was new, and the bank was in favor of it because it cost them less, on average, to process payments electronically than to do a paper check. Even if it’s only a tiny difference per customer, it won’t take long for the bank to see their expenses go down, and thus their profits go up. I’m sure they’d like to force EVERYONE to do everything electronically.

If the modem is ridiculously old, they very well might be willing to upgrade it. When I first started with Time Warner Cable, I was getting 768 down, over the years, without calling and asking for a speed increase or receiving any major price hikes, it’s now at 12Mbps. I assume my first modem wouldn’t have been able to support that. But over the years modems break and you bring them in to be replaced. If the OP is still using a 10 year old modem, that could be what triggered the letter. It’s entirely possible they need him to upgrade his modem to get him faster internet. If his modem maxes out at 768, but their typical cheapest tier is 12Mpbs (for example) they’d rather he was at the faster speed. The reason being that if he’s running at 768 sooner or later he’s going realize how much slower his internet is then everyone elses and start shopping around for another ISP. Comcast could just be being proactive in trying to get him a new modem.
Of course this is just conjecture.

Missed the edit window. I wanted to add this:

My bank were certainly willing to pay its employees to persuade people to do online bill pay. I can recall a quarter in which my bonus was a few hundred dollars more than the other FSRs (financial sales representatives – the people at desks opening accounts & servicing loans) because, though I’d done no more loans & lines of credit than average else, I was the only one who’d done any online banking & bill pay setups with new accounts.

I work for one of the big cable companies (won’t tell you which one, tho it rhymes with Kime Borner Mable).

We replaced a few modems some months ago that were not capable of handling the new DOCSIS 3.0 standard, so it doesn’t sound suspicious to me…

Maybe you just have an old modem and they are upgrading everyone to DOCSIS 3.

I agree. About the conjecture part. Comcast has never just been proactive. If the customer isn’t complaining, then there is no problem. Even if the customer did complain, usually they complain to the service they already have. It’s possible that Comcast may offer to replace it for free, but I doubt it. Their first step would be to recommend the customer buy a new, faster modem. The second step would be to offer the customer a rental of a newer modem. (Maybe vice versa.) But a company doesn’t just offer free equipment without a tangible benefit to itself. This is any company that wants to stay in business, not just Comcast. It would be hell just explaining such a program to the shareholders.

Hell, I couldn’t get Comcast to replace the 30 year old cracked coaxial cable in my apartment that was slowing down my internet because their tests showed speed was up to spec (even though MY tests showed that I was barely getting dialup speed at 28K).

WAG maybe someone found an “uncapping” exploit for your old modem model so they want to swap it for a new model without the exploit (even if you’re not using, or are even unaware of such an exploit).

I was buying your comment, right up to the part about “Maybe”.
Maybe a pig’s ass isn’t porky, but until someone can demonstrate otherwise, I’ll still have my suspicions.

If the letter happened to state the reason, and this is the fix, then it might be possible, but I’d still believe that a company would target specific households for definite replacement, not just a mailing list of addresses of unrequested offers. And you did say “a few”? “A few” doesn’t sound like a concerted effort to adapt some new standard to the masses.

So, sorry, still not buying.

Comcast put a charge on my bill last month($3.00 i think) for equipment upgrade, or something to that effect. I called and asked about it, they told me if was for a new modem. They claimed my old one can’t handle their new higher speeds. I say I never got a new modem, they told me to go pick one up at their office.

ETA: I never did pick it up, as my internet is as fast as it’s supposed to be.

it’s legit. I had my modem replaced last year after I was having connection problems (turned out it was the big box outside my apt. building, but the tech said my SurfBoard was old and busted and gave me a new one.) Long story short, my connection went offline late last Saturday night, and I was able to find the new modem’s dox on my phone and determined that it was “downloading configuration.”

woke up the next morning to find that my download speeds had doubled. And I’m not talking about the “powerboost” BS, but my sustained download speed went from 750 kB/s to 1.5 MB/s. Yes, 1.5 MegaBytes/s. Or MebiBytes, for those who care…

There are several reasons Comcast could be doing this.

Most likely is that your modem only supports DOCSIS 1.0 which is now being phased out region by region. I’m sure they are giving you a DOCSIS 2.0 modem which supports many features not available in 1.0, some of which will improve your speeds.

It’s also possible that the manufacturer of your modem no longer supports it. The manufacturer may have gone out of business or been purchased by another company. It’s much cheaper and easier to give people new modems than to try and support orphaned equipment.

Doesn’t sound suspicious to me - Comcast has been rolling out DOCSIS 3.0, and perhaps they want everyone upgraded so they can (eventually, long term) move your area over to IPv6 and sell off/repurpose the IPv4 IPs. I assume given that it is a “free” upgrade you probably are paying to rent your modem in the first place (something like a $3/mo charge)


“Maybe” because I don’t know for sure. I don’t work for Comcast.

We did replace a few modems… and by few I mean 3 or 4 hundred (out of, at a guess, 250 thou. or so in the San Diego/Desert Cities region). IIRC, the customers were sent a letter, then a few weeks later we called them. The team I was working on at that time was a kind of catch-all for various projects, and that fell to us. I was given a list of names and account numbers (I got maybe 50 or so) and spent a morning calling customers to fill them in, or leaving messages when no one answered. The idea being that we would avoid having to roll a truck to the customer’s house when an upgrade related to the release of DOCSIS 3.0 had a strong possibility of bricking older modems.

No scam was intended at all, unless you count avoiding a truckroll and some customers being without internet until we got the modem replaced, after the fact, as a scam.

But, as I said, I don’t work for Comcast, so I can’t say for sure what they’re up to… perhaps there is some higher mucky-muck with a Snidely Whiplash mustache cackling in glee as the poor sheeple bring in their modems for replacement.

  1. make them swap out their modems!
  2. ???

Why those particular 3 or 4 hundred modems? I dunno… I does what I’m told. But I can think of several possible reasons.

Do you have to give the old one back?

Bell Sympatico courriered me out a DSL modem when their internet stopped working. They never asked for the old one back. Then the internet started working again, because it wasn’t the modem that was broken, it was just my shitty ISP. :smiley:

So, I brought the old modem over to my mum’s, and now I have High Speed Internet there with a much cheaper ISP, and no box rental!

Megabyte, not mebibyte. Telecommunications, along with disc storage, measures data transfer rates and storage capacities in even millions of bits or bytes, not in powers of two as used by solid-state memory makers. The only reason memory makers use powers of two is because that’s how the memory is built.

And when spelling out the unit name, you don’t put capitals in the middle, or at the beginning either. You only capitalize the fully-spelt-out name of the unit when you’d capitalize any other word, like at the beginning of a sentence.

This goes for metric unit names taken from names of people as well. The symbols may be capitalized, but the full names aren’t. ‘W’, but ‘watt’, ‘megawatt’. ‘Pa’, but ‘pascal’, ‘kilopascal’.

You’re losing ground further and further. IPv6 was developed because someday, in the foreseeable future, IPv4 will not handle all the traffic. But it won’t be this year, or next, or even the next 5 years.

But like I said earlier, call Comcast and ask them. If it’s real, and it’s free, AND it really is Comcast, then what the hell, go ahead. But I’d be suspicious and not just automatically accept the letter at face value. In spite of what people claim about IPv6 vs IPv4.