Ask Laz: Is there a catch to Time Warner Cable’s free modem offer?

Time Warner Cable says Internet customers will need new modems to enjoys faster network speeds.
(Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)

Tim recently received a letter from Time Warner Cable saying the company wanted to give him a new modem for free so he could enjoy faster Internet speeds.

“Because it’s Time Warner,” Tim said, “I’m not sure if I should do it.”

The cable industry’s dubious reputation for customer care notwithstanding, this looks like a genuine offer.

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Time Warner Cable is currently putting more oomph into its broadband network in Los Angeles, with other Southern California communities to follow by the end of next year.

But customers will need a new modem to ride that broadband wave. Average speeds, depending on your service level, will be three to six times faster -- at no added cost.

“The new Time Warner Cable modems have upgraded technology that are able to deliver to our customers the faster internet speeds that we launched this year,” said Dennis Johnson, a company spokesman.

Customers can request an “Easy Connect Kit” to install their new modems in a few steps. I did this. It wasn’t easy.


But a half-hour or so on the phone with a Time Warner technician got my new modem up and running and, yes, it’s noticeably faster than the old one.

I asked Johnson how many people are receiving free modems. He said he couldn’t tell me “for competitive reasons.”

But I’d say that if you’re a Time Warner Internet customer, this is a sweet deal. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of it.

If you have a consumer question, email me at or contact me via Twitter @Davidlaz.