Smart Reasons to Save, Use and Invest Money

How I Saved $1190 By Purchasing A Cable Modem

Back in year 1999, I decided to buy internet access through my local city internet service provider.  Back then Time Warner’s RoadRunner service cost around $50 per month, so I instead I opted to go with my local city ISP who with the annual pre-payment brought the cost for ISP service down from $18 to $13 a month.

But my savings came from a calculated decision to buy a Motorola SURFboard cable modem instead of renting one from my local ISP (Internet Service Provider).


Motorola SURFboard
Motorola SURFboard


Since I have a technology background, I couldn’t for the life of me understand why my ISP sales representative wanted to rent me a cable modem instead that me just going out and purchasing and connecting it myself…

When the ISP wiring technician came out to run my cable, he thought that I was crazy.  I’ve never seen such a bizarre look from a serviceman before.  Even after I told him that I work with computer and networking technology where I work, he still tried to convince me that I should rent the cable modem instead of me buying my own.  Actually it got to a point where I started getting a bit offended, especially when I told him that when my house was built, I went in and wired it with computer networking cable with a small cabling closet down in the basement that my dad and I installed it (very cheaply too). Actually, I got funny looks from him when I told him I wanted my ISP cable wire to run into the basement where my small (more like an enclosed shelf), cabling closet existed.

Based on the response from the ISP technician, I’m sure that the majority of people in my small city started renting cable modem from them.  Obviously, I didn’t cave and told the wiring technician that I would go out and purchase my own cable modem and install it.  After deducting $115 from the savings, it turns out that I saved over $1190 over the past eleven years.  I feel very vindicated!

If you are currently renting your cable modem from your ISP, you might want to consider going out and purchasing one yourself.  My cable modem finally died this week, and I went out and bought a newer Motorola SURFboard (model SB6120).  Last year, I told my neighbors about my experience and they have since went out and bought their own cable modems too.

If you have a friend that’s good with computers and networking, consider getting him or her to help you.  Offer to take them out of lunch, I’m sure you’ll find that the money you spend on lunch is worth it over the long run.  Oh, that reminds me, make sure you plug your cable modem and router into a decent power strip that has a surge protector!  If you have a friend that’s a techie, they can help you with that too.

Well, I hope my story has help you or someone you know save money!  It took me about a year to recoup the cost, but it was all savings after that point!

Good luck if you decided to take the plunge.  If you do make the purchase, leave me a comment below, it would make my day!



25 Responses to How I Saved $1190 By Purchasing A Cable Modem

    • It’s funny, I had to do the calculation a few times because I couldn’t believe what my ISP wanted to charge me to rent a cable modem from them. Once I realized that I wasn’t missing benefits from my ISP, I jumped on it.

  1. We did something similar a few years back, but it wasn’t with buying our own modem. We needed an additional internet hookup for a second computer for our kids. If the cable company added a line, it would have been $200 for the installation charge, plus an extra $25/mo for the extra line.

    On the advice of a friend we bought a wireless router for $60. That was five years ago, so we’ve saved $1640! ($25/mo x 12 mos. x 5 years +$200 installation – $60 for the modem).

    Best of all, since we’ve subsequently gotten a few laptops, we now have the wireless function to connect those.

    Adding our own modem–if we decide to do it–will bring our internet connection costs down to coffee money!

    • Yep, good move!

      Since I come from a technology background, while my house was being built, I wired it with Cat5e cabling (computer network cabling). So I have 1 router and 1 switch for plenty of connected nodes!

      The thing is you just pay for the connection, not how many nodes are connected!

      Congratulations on consulting a techie friend, that a very clever way to save a lot of money!!!

      Kudos to you 🙂

    • It’s funny you mention going against conventional wisdom. The reaction I got from the cable company made me start t second guess myself about the purchase.

      But once I crunched the numbers, I couldn’t really pass it up.

      While the money isn’t a lot today (per year), it was back then when we had a lot less money!

  2. What about advances in the technology? I just signed up for 50mps – and am getting a new modem shipped to me (although I have had the current one for 4 years) would your older modem have handled that?

    • No, but my $13/month city ISP really don’t provide throughput much better than 1mbps. Lately they have upgraded the system so that they allow us to get 2 mbps. Even at these speeds, my old cable modem could do 11mbps, so I had plenty of wiggle room.

      I’m pretty sure it will be a lon gtime before my ISP offers 50mbps speeds.

      That said I’m kind of interested in MIFI devices…

  3. Now that is a quality tip! Thanks for the heads up. I have ATT Uverse though. I am almost sure they are going to try and tell me it is impossible since they run their cable and internet off of it….maybe I should just dump them altogether

    • Yeah, the problem an ISP that uses cable is that at certain times access slows because of pipe saturation. Mostly around 4 or 5 pm when all the kids get out of school…

  4. I always purchased my own modem. It’s much cheaper in the long run. It seems the newer modems do not last very long though. My last one kept degrading until I canceled the service.