Required Modem--Extra 16.3% - 32.5% Per Month?

Internet access discussion, including Fusion, FTTN and Gigabit Fiber!
143 posts Page 1 of 15
by Hells_Bells » Thu Aug 30, 2012 1:51 pm
I am interested in purchasing DSL service for my home, and based on the qualification tool, it says that my line is eligible. I currently have AT&T DSL service.

Recently, I purchased AT&T's "flavor" of the PACE 4111N modem/router, similar to's "flavor" of their Pace 4111N modem/router.

As I read several recent posts about the rental of a modem, and comments by Dane Jasper, it appears that the rental of the modem is optional, yet while speaking to representatives over the telephone, the rental of the modem is mandatory and is regardless if you already have your own equipment.

I would like to obtain service from, but do not want to pay an extra $6.50 per month/$78.00 per year/32.5 % more per month over the $19.95 introductory monthly plan, and 16.3% more per month over the regular $39.95 per month monthly plan.

The bottom line? Is really telling me that in order to be a customer, they want me to pay an extra 32.5% and/or 16.3% more per month for the use of a modem, when the one I have, a PACE 4111N will work perfectly fine over their network?

It appears that you have eliminated the $35.00 activation fee. I would rather pay the $35.00 activation fee as long as I can bring my Pace 4111N modem/router.

I am open to understanding what I am missing here. An extra 32.5% per month during the first year?

For whatever it's worth, speaking to Pace/2Wire customer service, they say that as far as the DSL router/modems (non U-verse), they are all virtually the same, with small tweaks for each unique customer such as Century Link/Qwest, Bell South/AT&T and the legacy AT&T areas of Pacific Bell/Ameritech/SBC and SNET, or in the case of for your "flavor" of the Pace 4111N.

Please clarify the BYOD modem/router policy, as the forum comments and what the customer service representatives are stating over the telephone do not match.mer service representatives have been very helpful in answering my service related questions.

Thank you
by thulsa_doom » Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:41 pm
The modem rental program was first launched with our Fusion service and initially did not apply to our lineshare-based ADSL1 service. This former state of affairs in reflected in several forum threads from when there was a distinction between the older ADSL1 service and Fusion in regards to equipment.

New single-line Fusion circuits and ADSL1 circuits require the rented equipment. Exceptions can be made for existing customers who are moving service from one location to another. At the $19.95/month introductory rate this represents an additional 32.6% additional cost to the service. ADSL1 circuits also require an existing AT&T POTS line, which should be factored into any economic determinations.

Customers are welcome to use their own equipment, but some troubleshooting and diagnostic work may require our gear (some features are cooked into the firmware we use, others are not available on other hardware, and it saves wear & tear on our technicians), and the rental is not optional excepting existing customers who are grandfathered in.
John Fitzgerald
Sonic Technical Support
by jeffg1 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:01 pm
John, I'm still confused. Back on Aug 14, Dane replied to a thread "Pace 4111n - will it be required." His first comment was "Yes, you can continue to use your own equipment", and his last was "You can certainly continue to do what you are doing now, there's no mandatory change." No mention in his reply of anything even approaching being "grandfatered" in. That seemed pretty definitive to me.

But you say "the rental is not optional excepting existing customers who are grandfathered in." Seems like a disconnect to me.

And further, one of the justifications for the modem rentals that you mention is "and it saves wear & tear on our technicians." The basic Fusion rate should cover that type of expense, no? If the rates are too low to adequately support the staff, is that not an indication that the rates are too low? And, if that's the case, wouldn't raising rates be a more honest way to go than advertising an artificially low rate and tacking on a $6.50 modem fee (not hidden, but certainly not highlighted)?

I've been a big booster of years, but for the first time, this just doesn't feel right to me. Please tell me I'm missing something.
by dane » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:24 am
Current customers are grandfathered, in that they can continue to use their current equipment, and have the option - but are not required - to opt in to the equipment rental program.

New customers get new equipment as part of their service order. The new equipment brings lots of benefits including much better WiFi, firewalling, future IPv6 support and more. It's a far better modem than we have sold in the past.
Dane Jasper
by Hells_Bells » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:58 pm
Thank you for the replies.

My relatively new AT&T non-U-verse flavored Pace 4111n modem/router has been working fine over AT&T's DSL circuit. I would expect that's flavored Pace 4111n modem/router would also work just as well over the leased AT&T circuit. My area in southern California does not have Fusion service available, and according to the build-out map that I have seen, my area will not be receiving Fusion service. does have every right to charge and/or require whatever it wants for it's services. In my opinion, requiring the use of and requiring a fixed fee for the modem/router is too expensive. Your company is small and nimble enough that you could make the $6.50 monthly rental more palatable by offering the option to purchase your flavor of the Pace 4111n modem/router for a one-time charge. AT&T does this at a current price of $99.00, plus sales tax.

I purchased both the 2Wire 2701-HGB and the Pace 4111n modem/router.

After reading the comments, it appears without directly stating so, that they would really rather have all of their customers, whether Fusion or traditional DSL service customers using one type of moden/router for support and network management purposes, that being the Pace 4111n modem/router, at least that is my read from the various forum posts.

Another poster mentioned that you have to factor in the monthly cost of AT&T's POTS service, and I do that by subscribing to (and qualifying for) California Lifeline service. I am subscribed to the measured rate plan @ $3.66 per month, which provides 60 outgoing untimed local (zone 1 and zone 2) calls, and unlimited outgoing toll-free calls. You are not charged for inbound calls. After 60 outbound calls, each additional outbound call to either zone 1 and zone 2 are .08c each, untimed. All calls to Zone 3 are charged at AT&T's published rates, anything beyond Zone 3 is carried by my intra-lata carrier, and/or inter-lata carrier, which is not AT&T.

As I compare you to another company that leases AT&T's DSL circuits,, they do not charge a modem rental fee, they do provide a modem at no charge (if you need one, and then they charge a $14.95 shipping fee). Granted, it's not a router/modem like the flavor of the Pace 4111n modem/router, but checking with, I could bring my AT&T flavored Pace 4111n modem/router along, and I would still have to maintain AT&T's POTS service.

The reason I have never switched to is that they charge a FUSF (which to me is like a fxxx yxx fee) of $2.88 per month that does not charge.

The reason I did not switch to earlier is that I was told back in March 2012 by your very friendly and knowledgeable customer service representatives that you were in the process of coming out with a new modem/router that would be "n" capable, and I should wait if that's a feature I was looking for. Of course, I was not promised anything and it was my decision to wait.

Now that charges the $6.50 fee, to me, it certainly feels like's FUSF fee, just under a different name, and at a MUCH higher price.

Hopefully, the senior executive leadership team at will re-visit/re-think the modem/router rental fee, and offer other options. If AT&T has raised the price of the DSL circuit, then maybe your DSL price points have to change to reflect any price changes from AT&T.
by kents » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:56 pm
As a customer of Sonic that just went through a bunch of crap just to get a truck roll.
I find the new policy a pain.
The issue was my line was having issues. The only way to test to see if my CPE (modem) was bad was to start paying the $6.50 a month to get a test modem. The Sonic CSR couldn't tell me what brand(s) would work so I could go out and by one.

I got a good modem from work to use for testing because we have Sonic here and they never used the Sonic modem.. Until I borrowed the device from work I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
I don't want a modem that has WiFi, router, firewall, etc.
I have my own access points and run a SonicWall TZ100 for VPN and firewall functionality.

I simply want to know what works and what doesn't so I can buy my own. If I have to I'll buy a second for debug, but I need to know what works.

The reason I "CHOSE" Sonic multiple years ago is because they allowed me to keep the CPE that I already owned and didn't force me to buy yet another piece of equipment. Don't start back peddling on policies you used to attract customers a while back in the first place. Just tell me what works or doesn't work and let those of uus that are knowledgable do our thing.

There are plenty of us that have been doing networking and IT for more years than Sonic has been around.
I don't need a $6.50 support charge each month because I the only time I call is when AT&T screws up the line.
by dane » Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:11 pm
You can certainly continue to use your own equipment! Any ADSL modem will work with the older AT&T DSL, and any ADSL2+ modem will work with Fusion. Settings are DHCP IP allocation.
Dane Jasper
by kents » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:27 am
dane wrote:
You can certainly continue to use your own equipment! Any ADSL modem will work with the older AT&T DSL, and any ADSL2+ modem will work with Fusion. Settings are DHCP IP allocation.


I was told that I should probably stay away from a particular brand but nothing beyond that.
Thanks, glad to know that just about any will work as long as it's set for DHCP and no PPPoE.

Sorry to hi-jack:
I'm now waiting for AT&T to come out and fix my line, since I now have multiple pieces of equipment that still don't work.
They came out yesterday and claimed "No Issue, inside wiring", while I wasn't home.

I have pulled the pair from the entry point and attached a RJ11 jack and still can't get sync on two SpeedStream devices.
One is my original 4100a and the other is a brand new 4100b and neither can get sync. This after the AT&T moron, oops tech says that it's my wiring.

3 weeks and still no DSL......... Using my phone for internet access.
by dane » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:12 am

Have you tested at the test jack/MPOE? Or, has our technician been out and tested?
Dane Jasper
by digitalbitstream » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:38 am
Personally, I think sonic should take the high road, and add the $6.50 to the base price and thus market Fusion as $46.45 + required taxes.

The ISP owned equipment has tremendous advantages: common problems have common solutions, diagnostics can be better. And think of the recycling angle: old equipment gets reused rather than sitting in a former customer's basement.
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