Law banning “rental” fees for customer-owned routers takes effect Sunday

erek

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"Importantly, this legislation will go into effect just in time to help consumers who are considering signing up for pay-TV service from Comcast. The company recently announced it would be raising its company-imposed fees like the Broadcast TV Fee and the Regional Sports Fee starting on January 1, 2021. These skyrocketing fees could cost Comcast customers an additional $78 a year. While the TVPA doesn't do much to help existing pay-TV customers, who will now be forking over enough money for a month or two of car insurance despite not knowing they would be doing so when purchasing their service, it would help new customers avoid signing up for a service they can't afford.
While the ban on charging rental fees for equipment that customers own applies to both TV and broadband service, the other transparency requirements affect only TV service. "Although the TVPA helps new customers avoid signing up for a budget-busting pay-TV service marketed at a significantly lower price, it doesn't extend to Internet service," Feld said. "We urge Congress to expand the requirements to Internet service providers so no consumer gets surprised by—and locked into paying—outrageous telecommunication fees.""

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy...r-customer-owned-routers-takes-effect-sunday/
 
That is pretty shady charging a rental fee if they aren't renting anything.

I feel like there are already laws on the books for stuff like this. Charging for something you are not providing is already illegal, isn't it?

I've never experienced this, but I have had to be pushy with Verizon to remove their equipment from my service, as their system assumes that you Will be using at least one router and one set top box of theirs.
 
Years ago Comcast randomly started charging me cable modem fees on a cable modem I bought outright. They fixed it and even gave me some freebies but boy was I pissed off that they had the gall to try and get away with it or the incompetency not to track who actually rents a modem from them.
 
I feel like there are already laws on the books for stuff like this. Charging for something you are not providing is already illegal, isn't it?

I've never experienced this, but I have had to be pushy with Verizon to remove their equipment from my service, as their system assumes that you Will be using at least one router and one set top box of theirs.
It gets very murky, very quickly.

They (often) say they require their equipment to connect to their service, and charge you for it. If you found some way of making something else work, that's not their interest or concern (and they don't support it anyway). But they'll still charge you for the "required" equipment.

Yes, it flies in the face of standards and choice, but those two words are not really what ISPs care about.
 
Years ago Comcast randomly started charging me cable modem fees on a cable modem I bought outright. They fixed it and even gave me some freebies but boy was I pissed off that they had the gall to try and get away with it or the incompetency not to track who actually rents a modem from them.
Comcast did it do me also. I went 6 months before noticing it and called bitching. They took the charge off future months but refused to refund me the past 6 months while admitting it was their mistake. Needless to say I dropped them and moved to fios a month later.
 
Years ago Comcast randomly started charging me cable modem fees on a cable modem I bought outright. They fixed it and even gave me some freebies but boy was I pissed off that they had the gall to try and get away with it or the incompetency not to track who actually rents a modem from them.
Same here, that happened twice but it was probably at least a decade ago that it happened last.

I did end paying a rental fee for a couple years when it was cheaper to get the service bundled with a VOIP line than without even after the rental fee. I didn't even want or use the VOIP line, I did use the modem since it was better than what I had but it was annoying because every few months it would reset and go out of bridged mode which meant calling tech support at least a couple times until I got a tech that actually understood what bridged mode was.
 
I almost wish they'd make a law that forces them to sell us the unique and proprietary equipment they require instead of making us rent it from them.

And by unique and proprietary equipment, I mean standard issue equipment with a custom logo and a slightly altered configuration that makes unbranded but otherwise compatible equipment not provided by them inoperable on their service.
 
Not just huge asshole corps like Comcast. Local ISP Sonic.net which is known for $40/month fiber service, doesn't have fiber everywhere, but they will lease AT&T lines and give you fiber that way if you want. However they bundle with it a "landline" whether you want it or not, with that is the little switch that does VOIP (I think) over the fiber ... which they charge you a rental fee, and more importantly the "taxes and fees" associated with telephone services, so you're paying all those lovely 911 fees, broadband connectivity for schools and poor people fee (that's actually attached to the phone service NOT the internet service), etc etc. I inquired about getting service without landline but they simply will not do it. It's fucking infuriating too, because the CEO of the company actually talks to customers but that policy of theirs makes me not want to have anything to do with them... to the point I'd rather sign up for AT&T before them because doing the math shows that it cost $30/month more just for all the extra shit of a landline and rental fees that I do not want.
 
That is pretty shady charging a rental fee if they aren't renting anything.

Spectrum started charging customers $10/mo extra for "enabling" the wifi feature on their cable modems a few years back. "Enabling" wifi is no more than going into the cable modem setup page and ticking a check box. Before that time, the wifi feature was free and they even had instructions on how to get into the setup page to do it. Now if you call them up, they demand payment and threaten action if you even dare to mention going into the setup "because it is theft". I once caught Spectrum support in their own lie when I brought it up troubleshooting a customers gear, they gave me the whole "punitive measures" crap and I told them that if they don't want their customers messing with their gear, stop printing the passwords on the bottom, they cut me off and hung up.

Their newer cable modems have been locked down so you can't get into setup as easily anymore, but if you're an older than sin customer like myself, we still have the old modems with the default password written on the bottom of the modem and they never changed it.

Now that I wrote this, there's probably some slimy Spectrum manager that'll tell their L3 techs to push out an update to lock all modems down.
 
Wish we could get some action on rental fees north of the border. Years ago when I was with bell, they of course had a dsl modem rental fee. I had my own modem, but yet they refused to remove the rental fee. Not sure how that's legit, but they claimed it was for 'tax purposes'.
 
Would this have any affect on AT&T Fiber for those of us that use Ubiquiti? Really anyone who wants to use their own router since iirc their system will give you constant issues like slower speeds, having to constantly reset them, etc.
 
Not just huge asshole corps like Comcast. Local ISP Sonic.net which is known for $40/month fiber service, doesn't have fiber everywhere, but they will lease AT&T lines and give you fiber that way if you want. However they bundle with it a "landline" whether you want it or not, with that is the little switch that does VOIP (I think) over the fiber ... which they charge you a rental fee, and more importantly the "taxes and fees" associated with telephone services, so you're paying all those lovely 911 fees, broadband connectivity for schools and poor people fee (that's actually attached to the phone service NOT the internet service), etc etc. I inquired about getting service without landline but they simply will not do it. It's fucking infuriating too, because the CEO of the company actually talks to customers but that policy of theirs makes me not want to have anything to do with them... to the point I'd rather sign up for AT&T before them because doing the math shows that it cost $30/month more just for all the extra shit of a landline and rental fees that I do not want.
That isn’t their choice if they are the local phone company. I work for a ISP. Regulations require us to either make people take a landline or charge them a dry internet fee that is about $10 more than the cost of a phone line.

All those taxes and fees and charges all go to various places and then we get the money back from state and federal programs. At one point the only money we got to keep was what people paid for calling features (voicemail, caller is, etc) everything else was given away only for us to wait for money from the various funds to come back. There are a few ways to get around that fee / landline requirement but then you no longer get your regulatory funding for that house, which means you make less to sever that house than the other houses.

If they are not the local phone company in an area then they don’t have to charge all that.

Trust me, some of the stuff that customers don’t like we don’t like having to do. However when the choice is do this and make more money or don’t do this and barely break even you are going to make the choice to make money. That is the only way then that you have money to put into network upgrades. Or in the case of rural providers have a way to service all customers. As when you have 5 houses that are 3+ miles away from anyone else there is never going to be a time that what they pay you covers the cost to get them service.
 
My ISP has been cool with BYOB, but don't expect us to support it, and if we have to come out and it works with our equipment, but not yours, we are charging you for it. I feel that's fair.
 
That isn’t their choice if they are the local phone company. I work for a ISP. Regulations require us to either make people take a landline or charge them a dry internet fee that is about $10 more than the cost of a phone line.
Here's the thing, if you get the same service through AT&T, AT&T which is the local phone company, doesn't require you have a landline. If you happen to live in an area where they actually run their own fiber you don't have to get a landline, it's only when they lease the service they give you a land line
All those taxes and fees and charges all go to various places and then we get the money back from state and federal programs. At one point the only money we got to keep was what people paid for calling features (voicemail, caller is, etc) everything else was given away only for us to wait for money from the various funds to come back. There are a few ways to get around that fee / landline requirement but then you no longer get your regulatory funding for that house, which means you make less to sever that house than the other houses.
I get the taxes and fees go to programs, that's not the point, I don't want the landline, because I don't want to pay all those taxes and fees for something I literally will not use. Universal Lifeline fee? Nope don't want to pay it, 9-1-1 fee? I already pay it on my cell phones, I don't want to pay it again. I get the company doesn't keep the money, but it still costs me money which ultimately is what I care about.

It very well may be due to leasing AT&T's line that they have to do it, I just don't fucking like it. And yeah it'd go into the same category as "forced rental fee" whether or not you use the service.
 
Years ago Comcast randomly started charging me cable modem fees on a cable modem I bought outright. They fixed it and even gave me some freebies but boy was I pissed off that they had the gall to try and get away with it or the incompetency not to track who actually rents a modem from them.
They were doing something like that to me as well, years ago.
 
Good, can we pass a law to prevent cable companies from renting their modems and charging people for local TV too?
 
Years ago Comcast randomly started charging me cable modem fees on a cable modem I bought outright. They fixed it and even gave me some freebies but boy was I pissed off that they had the gall to try and get away with it or the incompetency not to track who actually rents a modem from them.

Joining this crowd. When I first got any internet service (Comcast) I was unaware that they charged rental fees on equipment until the installer let me know. I promptly drove across the street while he was running coax and bought a SB6121 from Office Depot. The Comcast rental modem officially was never installed in my home, but when the first bill showed up there were still charging me a $7 per month rental fee for it. I called, let them know I was using my own equipment, they credited the fee, and told me that it would be removed on my next bill. The second bill showed up and sure enough no more rental charge. Then, the third bill came and the rental charge was back. Repeat the before mentioned call, they credited the fee, and told me that it would be removed on my next bill. Forth bill comes, all is good. Guess what, fifth bill comes, and the $7 fee is back.

This went on for 10 months. Every other bill would have the charge back even after they removed it, and told me it was fixed. After talking with endless agents it went to escalations who stated that an automated system on their side was adding the rental fee back on. When my account was created it was marked as renting a modem, their system saw that manually removed, and simply added it back on the next bill. They stated to get it removed I would need to mail a copy of the receipt for the modem to a specific office that works on records for it to be manually adjusted. This finally resolved the issue, but their slow manual resolution drug this out, taking over a year to resolve.

I'm one hundred percent certain most people are not as engaged in their billing process and would after some amount of frustration simply let this go. Countless years later, I still have Comcast service (area monopoly) and renegotiate my service promotion every time it expires. I simply tell them the new price is too expensive and I'm going to have to go with another company even though the speeds don't compare. They promptly come up with new discounts that put the price right back to where it was and off we go for another year or two. We were supposed to be a Google Fiber city in 2015, but AT&T boned us by stating they owned the poles and infrastructure that Google needed to lay their fiber. Their explanation was that Google could do so as long as they didn't physically touch any of the AT&T lines and paid an AT&T crew to oversee the Google crew to ensure no issues were caused by their installation. Five plus years later you still can't get AT&T fiber anywhere in our city aside from commercial properties downtown.
 
If you are still on cable, let me tell you that cutting the cord is great. Better and cheaper. So if you have options and your cable company doesn't have a monopoly in your area, just cut the cord.

YoutubeTV about $65 a month, has all of your local channels, it's basically 100% streaming cable. All you need is an internet provider. If the AT&T fiber is in your area, don't hesitate to call them up and see if you can get the 1gbps up/down for $50. It's great. $50 + $65 + $10 (amazon prime) + $15 Netflix = $140 since you get free shipping with Amazon prime that one the cost is hard to pinpoint, but there are some good shows on there. This is basically cheaper than cable. When I had cable, I was paying ~$170 for internet, cable, HBO, and after GoT ended and I got rid of HBO, ~$145 for just cable + internet, or 145 + $10 +$15 = $170 to get what I have now. $30 less and much faster internet, 20x the download and 50x the upload speeds.

The cable modem would lose connection, stupid tech came out "I don't know why it isn't working..." I was like its on the signal strength page right here, the upstream is too high, which means it is a line problem.. got fed up, cancelled, switched, never looked back. Few months later was out behind the house, turns out the cable was off the pole, laying on the ground but all still connected. How could their stupid guy not even find that, he didn't even go look. Whatever, the at&t fiber is buried from the pole to the house, no issues with it when the bad ice storm hit.
 
Would this have any affect on AT&T Fiber for those of us that use Ubiquiti? Really anyone who wants to use their own router since iirc their system will give you constant issues like slower speeds, having to constantly reset them, etc.
I've been on att fiber and ubiquiti for over 6 years. Don't think this rule will change anything because att's modem needs to be used.

I run their "Bridge" mode on the modem which works well enough to pass all routing duties to my edgerouter. No slow down issues and don't really need to reboot anything.
 
I've been on att fiber and ubiquiti for over 6 years. Don't think this rule will change anything because att's modem needs to be used.

I run their "Bridge" mode on the modem which works well enough to pass all routing duties to my edgerouter. No slow down issues and don't really need to reboot anything.

Yea I’m just hesitant to buy the UniFi router because of everyone complaining about the double NAT issues among other things. Having to redo the json files every time power may go out would be annoying.

My wife has a permanent telework job so the connection needs to be solid.
 
The pseudo bridge mode eliminates double NAT. And plug the network gear into a UPS, I get about 6 hours of internet after a power outage as long as the transmission point is still powered up.
 
Where I live, I'm stuck with either evil Comcast for internet... or evil + incompetent AT&T (that took 6 six years to properly fix a bad phone line)
 
Where I live, I'm stuck with either evil Comcast for internet... or evil + incompetent AT&T (that took 6 six years to properly fix a bad phone line)
Same here except att is limited to 6mb dsl, lol.
 
Spectrum started charging customers $10/mo extra for "enabling" the wifi feature on their cable modems a few years back. "Enabling" wifi is no more than going into the cable modem setup page and ticking a check box. Before that time, the wifi feature was free and they even had instructions on how to get into the setup page to do it. Now if you call them up, they demand payment and threaten action if you even dare to mention going into the setup "because it is theft". I once caught Spectrum support in their own lie when I brought it up troubleshooting a customers gear, they gave me the whole "punitive measures" crap and I told them that if they don't want their customers messing with their gear, stop printing the passwords on the bottom, they cut me off and hung up.

Their newer cable modems have been locked down so you can't get into setup as easily anymore, but if you're an older than sin customer like myself, we still have the old modems with the default password written on the bottom of the modem and they never changed it.

Now that I wrote this, there's probably some slimy Spectrum manager that'll tell their L3 techs to push out an update to lock all modems down.
When did they do that? I've been using my own equipment on spectrum for years, no way am I renting a shitbox from them.

and in other bonehead Spectrum moves, I just tried to get their streaming service and drop Hulu after the big ass price hike on Hulu live. turns out the got into a pissing contest with Roku over terms and now the Spectrum app is no longer available on Roku. Not buying all new streaming devices, thank you very much, canceled it.
 
charging a rental fee for an item you have not rented? I'm finding it hard to believe it's not illegal to do that. Is a class action law suite pending? I recall CenturyLink continuing to charge me for a rental I returned months earlier and each time I called them about it they tried to make my life difficult. They have their street box on my property and the temptation to run over it is strong but for 2 years I have resisted by choosing to go with Xfinity :barefoot:
 
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When did they do that? I've been using my own equipment on spectrum for years, no way am I renting a shitbox from them.

It was several years ago, I don't remember exactly when. They're always playing games. After quietly introducing the rental fee on modems and increasing it over the course of years, they made a bunch of advertising promises about never paying for equipment rental fees and "dropped" the rental charges. By "drop", I mean they rolled the cost into the overall charge so the bill stayed the same and removed the line item for "modem rental fee".

We were very lucky several years back when the State of Texas stepped in and rolled all over Spectrum for trying to introduce a tiered bandwidth subscription model. Spectrum spent all sorts of money on advertising touting their new tiered model trying to make it look like it'd be cheaper and better for everyone, when it was very obvious that it would double or triple the cost of even the most basic service and add strict data limits to their service which previously had no notion of data caps. It also setup penalties for going over data caps that'd make it even more expensive. It caused a basically state wide backlash, which got the government involved that threatened Spectrum into submission. That and Google fiber coming in meant that they couldn't implement or it'd be committing suicide as a company. They're already hemorrhaging customers to GFiber and AT&T Uverse, and probably soon to be Tesla's satellite internet service.

and in other bonehead Spectrum moves, I just tried to get their streaming service and drop Hulu after the big ass price hike on Hulu live. turns out the got into a pissing contest with Roku over terms and now the Spectrum app is no longer available on Roku. Not buying all new streaming devices, thank you very much, canceled it.

I haven't paid for cable TV for years, nor had any interest to. You're basically paying for the privilege to watch hours of ads with a smattering of a few dozen minutes of not really good shows on between. All of the channels I used to watch like SciFi, Discovery and History channels just show stupid reality TV crap or conspiracy theories and plastered with commercials. Streaming services are starting to go the same way, and with the IP wars going on between them, you need to have at least three or four different services to see all of the stuff that used to be just on one. I've found Pluto TV has all I want to watch and I don't have to pay anything for it.
 
Yea I’m just hesitant to buy the UniFi router because of everyone complaining about the double NAT issues among other things. Having to redo the json files every time power may go out would be annoying.

My wife has a permanent telework job so the connection needs to be solid.
Well, if you do the certificate extraction from a $20 eBay modem, any router capable of running wpa_supplucant (pfsense, openwrt, Linux, asuswrt-Merlin, etc) can do the job and the AT&T Residential Gateway can go in the closet.

see: https://github.com/bypassrg/att
 
Banning this is going to do nothing because they'll just take away the fee or show it as $0 and increase the monthly fee.
 
They (often) say they require their equipment to connect to their service, and charge you for it. If you found some way of making something else work, that's not their interest or concern (and they don't support it anyway). But they'll still charge you for the "required" equipment.
^^^^^ This

They put it in writing that you will be using their equipment for their services and the associated extra fees above advertised rates. If you use your own equipment, you've already signed a contract to use and pay for their equipment even if yours works fine. Unless you read the 50 pages of lawyer speak and went with a different isp - oh wait, there's no isp provider competition in most of america, hence why people have been screaming for years about the bullship isp monopolies.
 
Comcast did it do me also. I went 6 months before noticing it and called bitching. They took the charge off future months but refused to refund me the past 6 months while admitting it was their mistake. Needless to say I dropped them and moved to fios a month later.

I was able to get them to refund me in a similar situation however it was not easy.
 
At some point instead they will charge you some sort of maintenance fee for the health monitoring they do on their side to make up for the loss of income.
 
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