Your cable modem is probably the most overlooked part of your Internet setup. That's because cable modems are generally reliable and don't have to be upgraded for years. However, like any other technology, they do go out of date eventually.
We've told you in the past how you can upgrade your cable modem to take advantage of faster Internet speeds, and even save some money on your monthly cable bill. That's why it never hurts to check with your Internet service provider to see if there's a benefit in upgrading. But one ISP isn't waiting for you to call.
A software developer with the nickname "BB" got in touch with the Consumerist to tell a story of ISP harassment. It probably won't surprise you to learn that the ISP in question is Comcast, given stories of its past actions and poor customer service history.
Comcast recently did an upgrade in BB's neighborhood and started calling and emailing him to recommend that he upgrade his cable modem. It didn't help that Comcast was claiming that he needed to upgrade to get the "full benefits" of his Xfinity Internet service.
When questioned about what benefits those were, BB didn't get a clear answer, with vague talk about speed and security. Since BB bought his own cable modem and everything seemed to be working OK, and he doesn't want to spend any extra money, he ignored Comcast.
That's when BB started getting pop-up notices from Comcast in his Web browser. It doesn't matter which gadget, computer or smartphone. If it's connected to his home Wi-Fi, he sees it.
The notice reads:
XFINITY Internet Service: Action Needed
Dear Comcast Customer,
Our records indicate that the cable modem, which you currently use for your XFINITY Internet service, may not be able to receive the full range of our speeds. To ensure you're receiving the full benefits of your XFINITY Internet service, please replace your cable modem.
Please visit http://mydeviceinfo.comcast.net/ for a list of modems certified to work on our network.
When Consumerist contacted Comcast, it was told that the notice isn't an "upsell," but a helpful notice to customers that they need to upgrade for better speed and security. Comcast does have a network upgrade coming that will require a new modem standard, but it hasn't arrived yet.
While there are some people who would benefit from knowing that their tech is out of date, Comcast should have an opt out for people who know what they're doing.
Speaking of Internet connections, are you getting the speed you're paying for? Here's how to find out.