Not too long ago, I highlighted 3 ways to get rid of your Comcast modem rental fee after Comcast Xfinity killed my old Netgear gateway (modem + router). Comcast recently raised their modem rental fee to a ridiculous $14 per month (or $168 per year) in January, 2020. And as of mid-2020, they have raised the price for their xFi gateway to an even more ridiculous $25 per month (or $300/year). Doing so is a great way to cut your total Xfinity bill.
I had successfully tried the Comcast negotiation route before – but it’s easy to forget to call in to negotiate every 6 months or so. And when you get a discount on your modem rental, it leaves you with little leverage to negotiate bigger discounts on the cost of the internet service.
So, I decided to replace the Comcast-owned gateway, with my own, at a current cost savings of $168 per year. Don’t let Comcast fool you – anyone can do this on their own.
Now, I am no longer paying the ridiculous $14 per month rental fee for a Comcast modem – and I want to share how you can do the same.
Update: I’ve also written more broadly on how to get rid of your ISP modem rental fee (if you’re not a Comcast customer).
Here is How to Replace a Comcast Modem with your Own, in 4 Easy Steps:
I will specifically detail how I replaced a Comcast modem with my own, but this should be applicable to other ISPs as well.
1. Buy a Compatible Modem & Router or a Gateway to Replace your Comcast Modem
You do not need to buy a 2-in-1 gateway device (modem + router in 1 device), such as the one Comcast commonly supplies and brands as “xFi”. You can go with a cable modem and pair it with a wireless router. This allows you to replace one half of the combo if you want to upgrade more cheaply in the future. Not to mention, this setup is much more reliable, based on reviews of gateways.
There is a list of Comcast supported cable modems that are supported with their network (and many modems are compatible even if not supported). Comcast recently upgraded their network to DOCSIS 3.1, but it is backwards compatible to previous generation DOCSIS model modems.
The customer support tech I had spoke to previously had recommended a now obsolete Motorola gateway. After doing some research, however, I had noticed that this device had horrible reviews due to a number of problems working with Comcast’s network through firmware updates (or, lack of).
Instead, I opted to go for an ARRIS SB6190 cable modem and paired it with a NetGear AC1200 router. Both were top sellers in the cable modem and router categories on Amazon and had outstanding reviews. I paid a total of $120, which means the devices will pay for themselves in less than a year (versus the $168 to rent the Comcast Xfinity modem)! Then, it’s free and clear until the devices die!
Those were my picks then, but new and improved modems and routers come out all of the time, and any of the following modem + router combos will be more than sufficient for 99% of users:
All are priced around $90 and under, compatible with Xfinity Comcast (& many other ISPs), and are top sellers on Amazon.
- ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 (32×8) – up to 859 Mbps
- NETGEAR CM700 (32×8) – up to 935 Mbps
- Motorola MB7621 (24×8) – up to 845 Mbps
All handle speeds of at least 300 Mbps + 900 Mbps with dual band (2.4 & 5 GHz, respectively), strong WiFi range, & are highly rated Amazon best sellers, under $75.
2. Call Comcast to Activate your Modem
After you get your new modem and router combo, you can simply plug in your modem and activate online at xfinity.com/activate or call Comcast customer service to activate your modem. Select “technical support” when you call in. When you are connected to a tech, tell them you bought your own new modem to replace your Comcast modem.
They will start by asking you for the MAC address and Serial Number listed on your new device so that they can send a signal to your device. I’ve had my share of bad Comcast customer service experiences, but this one was surprisingly positive and simple. The tech walked me through getting my internet up and running with my new modem. Within 5 minutes, I was connected at the full internet speeds I was paying for – the same speeds I had from the Comcast gateway.
The Comcast tech also removed the modem fee code in my billing profile (I didn’t have to ask for this, but you may have to). Finally, he gave me the address of a service center to return my Comcast modem. You can verify on your Xfinity device profile here, if you’d like, as well as on a future Comcast billing statement.
3. Connect your Devices to your Router WiFi
Once you have your modem and router running, you should secure your WiFi network and connect your devices.
You can easily set your network name and your password on your router. You’ll then need to go back to each device (laptop, cell phones, tablet, etc.) to choose the new network and enter the password.
Each router will have slightly different instructions on how to do this, but all you need to know is that it’s a fairly simple and straightforward process. Total time invested was about 15 minutes.
For readers who are concerned about losing Comcast Voice capabilities I highly recommend purchasing an Ooma device. I’ve been using an Ooma for over a decade with Comcast and it works just as well. It only costs a few bucks per year in taxes, so you save significantly over Comcast Voice and allow yourself more negotiation power in the future. You simply plug the Ooma device in to the back of your router, plug your phone into the Ooma, and you’re all set.
4. Return your Comcast Modem!
Don’t forget to return your Comcast-supplied modem or gateway. The tech told me I had 45 days to due this before Comcast listed the device as missing and charged me for it. You will not be charged for the device in the meantime, you just need to make sure to return it within the 45 days.
Make sure to get a receipt for your device return! I have heard of a few examples where the returnee did not do so and ran into later problems. Any time you can keep a paper trail with Comcast, it’s usually a good thing, so you don’t get stuck with unwarranted fees later on (even when you own your own modem).
Update: I’ve also written about how you can get rid of your Xfinity DVR & TV Box fee through owning your own streaming device like a Roku or Smart TV, saving $5 per month, per device.
Replacing your Comcast Modem Fee Discussion:
- Have you replaced your Comcast modem with your own?
- What gateway or modem/router combo do you personally recommend?