A recent study suggests that the average American with Internet service $139 a year to lease a router. That is 40% more than the cost to purchase a router that would suit their needs.
The good news is the most internet service providers include a modem in their base service charge. They do not, however, include a router, which just about every modern home needs. Based on the top 10 internet providers in the nation, the average cost of renting a router is $11.58 a month. That comes out to $138.96 a year. A mid-range router found at any local electronics store will cost you about $100. You could even splurge on a high-end router that costs 2.5 times that and still make your money back by the end of year two.
Fees Trending Up
Router rentals are an excellent source of profit for the cable companies. They recognize this and have worked diligently to maximize it. Some efforts you can respect, such as partnerships with router manufacturers that allow them to save on bulk purchases. But despite their ability to save more, your fees continue to go up, and this is somewhat of a boiling frog syndrome. Comcast, for instance, has managed to increase their rental fees from $8 to $14 in a span of five years. Individual increases were only about $1 and so customers did not balk much, but here they are paying a lot more in the end.
Paying for a Router You Do Not Use
Some cable companies were charging the rental fee regardless of whether a customer was actually using the equipment. Frontier is a great example of this because it was the actions of that company that actually motivated Congress to pass a law recently preventing this predatory behavior. There are still some anti-consumer issues, however. If Frontier sends you a router, for instance, the onus is on you to return it before they are legally required to stop charging you for its use.
Cable Modem Shenanigans
You can own your own router, and there is not much your ISP can do about. Cable modems are a different story. As mentioned earlier, most ISPs do not charge you for your modem yet, but some do. You can purchase your own modem too, but what some companies are doing is charging an additional fee whenever they have to come out to a home that is not using an ISP-provided cable modem.
The Bottom Line
Purchasing your own router and modem can seem like a big hassle to the average consumer, but it is a hassle well worth it. Some people worry about what will happen when the router fails, but consider that you could purchase a new mid-range router each year and still come ahead. The truth is that you will not have to purchase a new router each year and could even keep a backup on hand and profit.
Managing a home network that involves a router, modem and a dozen or so devices is not difficult. It does not require extraordinary skills or a great deal of experience. Take that power away from your ISP. Purchase your own router and modem. Learn how to install, configure and maintain them. Enjoy your savings, and stand guard for your ISP’s next attempt to squeeze more money out of you.