Tag Archives: Internet

Time Warner Cable adds modem fee

Computer With automated bill pay, I pay less attention to my itemized bills. I make sure the debited amount is consistent, and I don’t actually look at the bill unless I notice a different charge. I recently noticed our Time Warner Cable bill increased slightly, so I looked and found a new fee for our cable modem.

The cable company began charging $3.95 for lease of its cable modem in November. Time Warner said customers were notified in October. I don’t remember seeing it. Perhaps it was on that bill I don’t read. I would have seen an insert because they always fall out of the bill advertising some product I don’t want. I even get emails from Time Warner advertising new products. Apparently, the notice wasn’t in any of those communications that I see. It slipped by in one I didn’t.

Cable Modem CUIf you’re not happy with the charge, you can buy your own modem from an approved list. They tend to range from $50-150 based on the model you buy.

A Time Warner spokesman said “Modem fees for company-provided modems are standard across the industry. We are one of the last providers to implement the practice and at a much lower rate than most. For instance, WOW charges $5 and up, while Cox charges $6.99.”

It’s another fee companies are passing on to customers. At least we have a way out of this fee. If you plan to keep TWC for awhile, it’s worth it to buy your own.  You’ll pay off the cheapest modem in a year, and the average priced modem of $100 in two years.

Traffic ticket scam email warning from Ohio Attorney General

If you get an email about a traffic ticket, the Ohio Attorney General says use caution before responding to it. The AG says the names of legitimate police departments are being used to trick consumers into a traffic ticket scam.

The email has a link which is allegedly a copy of the traffic ticket you need to fill out and mail in. However, the AG says the file is believed to have a Trojan horse or other unknown viruses embedded in the message. The Trojan gives the attacker access to your computer.

While I haven’t seen this email, many of these scams have warning signs. For example, if you hover over the link you’ll see the true address that the link will take you to. Often, it’s not an official site associated with the supposed agency that sent you the email. Also, check the return email address to see if it’s legitimate. Finally, most government and financial institutions will not email you and ask you to download a file or ask you to verify information over email. When you get a suspicious email, call the agency that supposedly sent it to you before clicking or giving any information as you may be handing it over to an attacker.

Related links you may like:
Erasing your digital footprint
Free service helps you get rid of a computer virus
FTC sending checks to scareware victims

Comcast offers Internet for $9.95

Do you know someone who can’t afford to pay $45 a month for Internet? A new program from Comcast offers the net for $9.95 a month. It’s called Internet Essentials, and Comcast says if your child receives free school lunch then you probably qualify for this service.

Internet Essentials will offer download speeds up to 1.5 Mbps and upload speeds up to 384 Kbps.

To qualify, you need to be located where Comcast offers Internet, have one child receiving free school lunches through the National School Lunch Program, have not subscribed to Comcast within the last 90 days, and don’t have an overdue Comcast bill or un-returned equipment.

“Internet Essentials helps level the playing field for low-income families by connecting students online with their teachers and their schools’ educational resources. The program will enable parents to receive digital literacy training so they can do things like apply for jobs online or use the Internet to learn more about healthcare and government services available where they live,” Comcast Corporation Executive Vice President, David L. Cohen said.

Call 1-855-8-Internet to see if the program is offered where you live. The program will accept new customers for the next three school years.

Internet option that’s quicker and safer than traditional Wi-Fi or landline service

Mobile broadband is something you might want to look into whether your child is heading off to college, or you’re just looking for faster Internet. Only a set number of people can access one Wi-Fi hotspot at once. In a college setting, with more students using laptops and tablets Wi-Fi overload can happen. That’s why it might be a good idea to take broadband with you.

It’s mobile, faster, and safer. That’s because only you access the hotspot. There is an upfront cost for equipment. You can find it for free online or $1 in electronic stores. To take advantage of those deals, you typically have to sign up for a two year contract with a cell phone provider. If you’re already a cell phone subscriber, you may just ask your cell provider if you can get a discount for having more than one device on your plan.

Once you buy the equipment, you pay a monthly fee for the service. It’s typically the same as home INternet prices.

If you are tired of contracts, you can go with a service that doesn’t require a contract like Clear or Virgin MObile. However, the equipment will cost around $100 or more. There is a greater upfront cost, but there’s no long term commitment or penalty if you cancel early.


Google launches opt out option to reduce your digital footprint

In November, I worked with a security company to show you how insecure you are when you browse online. Companies track your activities online for legitimate business purposes. Tracking software follows your every move, so businesses can advertise to you. They track you with “cookies,” but there are crumbs left behind when you close your browser.

There are ways to increase your privacy while browsing by deleting the cookies at the end of your session, logging out, or by browsing privately. On behalf of NewsChannel 5, the security company, SecureState, put together step by step instructions to help you make these changes.  Click here to see what you need to do to start browsing privately.

Since our story aired, the Federal Trade Commission suggested a “Do not Track” option that would give you a simple way to opt out of personalized ads.  Think of it like the Do Not Call list for the Internet. There are some trade groups as well that are on the cutting edge of this by offering self-regulation.

Now, Google is offering Keep My Opt-Outs as a plug-in for Google Chrome so you can permanently opt out from tracking cookies.   Google says once it’s installed, you may see the same ads repeated on certain websites or you’ll see ads that are less relevant to you.

Google also offers you the option to customize the ads you’ll see. Click here to see this option, called Google Ads Preferences.

This video from Google explains how it works.

According to national reports, Mozilla is also working on a Do Not Track option for Firefox.