Computer Modem Help

I’m hopeless with technology, but feel like I’m paying Comcast way too much money. My rental fee for the modem is only 3 bucks a month, but if I buy my own modem could I get a different ISP provider? I see companies like NetZero and Earthlink advertising rates of $20 a month, if I bought a modem, would I need to go through Comcast at all?

Forgive me if this is an insanely ignorant question, but I am over 40 so I have an excuse (although I can program my VCR thankyouverymuch).


Depends. Are you talking a traditional dial-up telephone line acoustic modem, or a "cable modem, or a “DSL modem”? BIG difference

The Netzero & Earthlink people are advertising dialup service. In other words, they are ISPs that provide connection to the internet when you connect to them by having your modem dial them over traditional telephone lines at traditional (ie painfully slow) speeds.

If Comcast is your ISP, they’re probably selling you internet access over their cable system, as in “cable TV cable”. If so, they have 100% exclusive control over the signals on that cable and you’re not going to get an internat connection from anybody else regardless of the hardware you might buy from whereever.

I was afraid of that. Oh well, I’ll survive. Thanks!