How to lower your phone + internet cost from $80 per month to $50 per month: buy your own cable modem and kick Comcast to the curb

By | November 16, 2009

Comcast was charging me $95 per month for internet and phone service.  That was too much.

I got them to lower it to $75 per month, but I had to pay extra for all non-local and long-distance calls.  That was still too much.

They raised the equipment charge for my cable modem from $3 to $5 per month.  That pissed me off, so I bought my own cable modem.

Not only that, but I decided it was time to send Comcast a message for being so slimy, so I switched to Vonage for phone service for $25 per month.  You would think that would have lowered my total cost, except that when I canceled my Comcast phone service, I was no longer eligible for the special “bundle” rate on internet service, so they jacked up my internet service to $60 per month.

That pissed me off even more, so when I called today to swap out Comcast’s cable modem for my own, I also told them to downgrade me to their $40 per month internet service.

Believe it or not, what you get for that ridiculously high price is a 1mbps internet connection.  Yes, you read that right, one megabit.

Fortunately, Comcast isn’t the only game in town.  RCN will sell me a 1.5mbps connection, 50% faster than Comcast’s, for $25 per month, i.e., 37% less.  That’s not even a promotional rate.  Or, if I feel like spending $5 more per month, I can get a 10mbps connection, i.e., ten times as fast as Comcast for 25% less.  And although that is a promotional rate, unlike Comcast, RCN will let me sign up for any new promotion that becomes available after my 12-month contract is up.  Heck, even Verizon charges only $20 per month, half of what Comcast charges, for a 1mbps DSL line!

I haven’t switched to RCN yet, but I’ll probably be doing it some day soon when I’m in just the right mood.

Below is the letter I just sent the CEO of Comcast explaining how they managed to lose an $80 per month revenue stream over a lousy $2 per month.

P.S. If you decide Vonage is right for you too, email me and I’ll send you a referral, and we’ll both get a free month of service!

November 16, 2009

Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO
Comcast Corporation

Dear Mr. Roberts,

I’m writing to tell you how, through its shady business practices and “Gotcha Capitalism”, Comcast has halved its income stream from my family, from $80 to $40 per month, and why there’s a good chance you’ll also be losing that $40.

It all started when my promotional rate of around $75 for internet and phone service expired and my bill went up $20.  I was not about to pay Comcast $45 for phone service I could get from Vonage for $25, so I called up and asked what Comcast would do to keep me as a customer.  The only option, I was told, was to downgrade to your “local with more” phone service for $24.95 per month, but I’d have to pay $3.95 extra for voice mail, and I’d also be charged for all non-local calls.  This was clearly a rip-off, but it was just barely reasonable enough for me to decide that it wasn’t worth the hassle of switching to Vonage, so I took the deal.  However, it put me right at the brink of jumping ship.

Fast forward several months, when a notice appeared on my bill informing me that the monthly fee for my cable modem was being raised from $3 to $5.  Mind you, I’d already been paying the $3 fee for several years, thus paying for the actual cost of my cable modem several times over.  There was simply no justification for raising this fee, short of Comcast looking for a way to increase its annual revenue by $358 million, tax free, without incurring any extra expenses or providing any additional services.  I called and complained about the increase, to no avail.  I also exposed Comcast’s machinations on my popular consumer-advocacy blog.

This bogus increase pushed me over the edge, and I resolved to pay Comcast as little money as possible from that day forward.  I immediately signed up for Vonage so I could stop paying Comcast for phone service, and I bought a used cable modem for $10 from eBay so I could stop paying Comcast the absurd $5 per month equipment charge.

Alas, Comcast’s efforts to jerk me around were not over.  When I received my next bill, I discovered that I was no longer paying $45 per month for internet service.  Rather, since I was no longer purchasing multiple Comcast services, I was no longer eligible for your special “bundle” deal, and my rate had gone up to $60.

Well, as I’m sure you can imagine, as irritated as I’d been before, now I was more so.  Therefore, when I called today to swap out my Comcast modem, at the same time I downgraded my internet service from $60 to $40 per month.

Amazingly, that princely sum gets me the absurdly low speed of 1mbps.

That additional annoyance prompted me to browse over to, where I discovered that I can get 1.5mbps service from them for only $25 per month, which is $180 per year less than what Comcast charges for slower service.  For just $5 more, still $120 per year less than Comcast, I can get 10mbps service, i.e., ten times Comcast’s speed, at a special promotional rate.  Best of all, when I called RCN’s sales department and asked what happens to the rate at the end of the 12-month contract, I was informed that as long as my account was in good standing, I would be offered whatever promotional rate was in effect at the end of my contract.  Apparently, RCN doesn’t believe in punishing its loyal customers by jacking up their rates by 25% overnight.  I was also pleased to see that RCN still charges only $3 per month for modem rental.

Although I’m just not in the mood to switch to RCN today, at some point in the near future I’ll probably be looking for a little something to cheer me up at the end of the day, and converting Comcast’s $40 per month revenue stream from my family to $0 will be just the thing.

I will, of course, be posting this letter to my blog and encouraging others to hit Comcast in the wallet if they’re as dissatisfied as I am with Comcast’s habit of charging more for less.

All this because of Comcast’s sticky-fingered attempt to extract $2 extra per month from my wallet for no good reason.  How’s that working out for ya?


Jonathan Kamens

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8 thoughts on “How to lower your phone + internet cost from $80 per month to $50 per month: buy your own cable modem and kick Comcast to the curb

  1. mara burke

    mail old tell me how are you doing w/rcn, who i have never heard off,available in sarasota,fl.??? thank you for your “” gusto “” all of your time aganist the so called company comcast, every bill holds another surprise, i use an att phone card buy for me!! mara burke

  2. Boo

    Myself is also going to get vonage, dropping cable phone. I had the cable, phone, and internet through same company. Now dropping everything from them except internet. Hulu serves me fine for TV.

    These moves will save me 50 dollars a month. I like that very much.

  3. Dave

    What is it with Comcast in Cambridge MA, they just keep jacking up the prices and treat their customers really bad.

    Cambridge really needs to break up their monopoly, especially for Internet services.

  4. Pingback: Bye by Comcast, hello RCN! « Something better to do

  5. Michael A. Burstein

    I didn’t realize you could have Google AdSense block certain ads.

    I am glad I brought the Comcast ads to your attention. I’m sure they’re glad not to be advertising here either. 🙂

  6. JonT

    RCN has a referral program, so if you do decide to switch, please let me know.

  7. jik Post author

    And by the way, how ironic is it that this blog post is accompanied by ads for Comcast provided by Google?

    Not for much longer. I just told Google AdSense to block Comcast ads from my site. It takes a few hours to kick in, but after that, they should be gone.

    Well, at least, the ones I know about right now should be gone. Alas, you can only block ads by URL domain, and God forbid there should be just one domain to block to get rid of all the Comcast ads! I had to block these:

    Of course, there’s no telling if more will pop up, either because there are more Comcast ad domains lurking in AdSense that I don’t know about yet, or because somebody creates yet another domain selling Comcast services and adds it to AdSense to get around the people who have blocked all the old domains. *sigh*


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