My Time Warner Cable Modem: The Final Chapter

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - If you're a Time Warner Cable ( TWC) customer - and you've decided to buy your own cable modem instead of paying the company's new $3.95 a month rental fee - you have until this coming Monday to complete the deal and return your old modem.

I decided to get a new modem. The one I had been using was 6-to-7 years old. Technology must have improved in that time. My new, Time Warner-approved, Mototola Mobility SB6141 proves I was right. It's actually faster than the old RCA-Thompson device they had provided for free. Here are the gruelling details of getting it up and running.

But, I still had to physically return the modem to Time Warner. My first attempt, on Saturday, was met with a line out the door of their Customer Service center at Broadway and West 96th Street. I was told the wait was more than an hour.

So, I went back on Monday. The line was shorter. I would only have to wait 57 minutes in a room which can best be described as a brightly-lit, 50/50 mix of a state Motor Vehicle office and the bar from the first Star Wars movie. I had better things to do.

I determined that the office opens at 8 am and decided to try that. This morning, I arrived early (8:08 AM) and the wait was only 9 minutes. Happily, an agent called my number within five.

A pleasant young lady, she scanned the old modem's label, printed out a receipt, offered me a discount if I switched to Time Warner's VoIP phone service and gave me a shiny new remote control to replace the one that was being held together by a rubber band. I was in and out within ten minutes. A pleasant surprise.

In summation, from the time I received my warning post card it took me nine days - and nearly a dozen hours out of my life - to obtain a new modem, have it turned on, return the old one and get a receipt. Was it worth it? If the new Motorola modem is as trouble-free as the last one, it will pay for itself (and my time/effort) way before I'll need to worry about going through this again.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.

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