How To Save Money On Your Monthly Cable Internet Bill

By: William Sikkens
Host, User Friendly 2.0  Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

In 2020 High Speed Internet is as necessary as power and water.  In most parts of the country we have a few options for Internet access including Cable.

If you use cable Internet, for example from companies like Comcast, Charter, Bright House, Cox, and others, you will have an Internet gateway.  This device allows the coax cable to connect to your Internet equipment.  In some cases these gateways provide WiFi, voice phone lines, and other features.  They tend to be a very reliable way to access the Internet.

Most cable companies rent you this device, and it is a cost on top of your Internet access charges.  In the case of Comcast Xfinity it’s $14/month.

Did you know that you can buy your equipment?  In my case I was able to purchase a reconditioned cable gateway (cable modem) through Amazon for $44.  It will take 3 months to equal the cost of the rental.  After that I will save $14/month or $168/year.  This more than pays for buying my equipment outright.


As with most things tech there are advantages and disadvantages  to owning your own cable gateway aka a cable modem.   The biggest advantage is cost savings.  Depending on how  your cable plan is structured this can be considerable over the long run.   The life expectancy of a cable modem is 24-36 months.

The biggest disadvantage is that like most technology there are upgrades and changes.  If you rent a modem you can usually swap it out for a better model when one is available.  If there is a problem, like a breakdown, with the equipment the cable company will take care of a replacement or repair.

You also will  be responsible to make sure you buy a cable modem that has the features you need.  For example, if your voice telephone service is provided by your cable company, you will need a device that supports telephone and cable.   You will also want to make sure that the device you buy is compatible with your cable company’s network.

When you purchase a cable gateway (cable modem), the product will usually list what networks it’s compatible with.  A popular model is the Arris Surfboard available for $147.00 from Amazon.  This device works with Cox, Spectrum, and Xfinity.

I don’t need digital voice service and run my WiFi through a Linksys Velop system so I was able to buy a very basic modem.  This device, a Netgear CM500, also works with most of the major providers.  It has a maximum line speed of 680Mbps which more than handles my 600Mbps connection.  The installation took about 20 minutes and it has worked well since then.  With Spectrum the setup was automatic with the included instructions.  Some other providers may require you to call them to complete the setup.

Make sure you document your cable company account number, login, and password before disconnecting your rented equipment.  You will need it to switch out your device.   Also once you have the new device installed make sure you remember to return the old one to the cable company ASAP to prevent further incurring rental fees.  A lot of providers will allow you to drop it off at places like The UPS Store for no additional cost.   When you drop off your rented equipment, make sure you save the receipt.  It may become necessary to prove you returned your existing equipment.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been an on-air technology expert since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.  Article edited by Gretchen Winkler, who along with Jeremy Winkler are the co-hosts of User Friendly 2.0 here on The Answer Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

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Got a technology question or comment for Bill? Follow him on Twitter @sikkensw