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Comcast bugs BYO modem user with browser pop-ups suggesting an upgrade

Ian Paul | Jan. 14, 2016
Comcast's heart seems to be in the right place, but the implementation is irksome.

Can’t shut them off

The biggest offense here isn’t the upgrade push, but that you can’t shut off the pop-ups asking you to get a new modem.

If you come across this issue, you may be able to prevent the pop-ups by connecting via a secure HTTPS connection to every site that supports it. This makes it harder for an ISP to inject items into your web browsing. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s HTTPS Everywhere browser add-on can automate connecting via HTTPS for you.

That said, it’s definitely offensive that the pop-ups continually bug you and require a workaround to avoid them. But just how often these pop-ups happen is unclear. The Comcast representative we talked to said there are a limited number of pop-ups but couldn’t confirm what the limit was. We hope to hear back on that.

Comcast also appears reluctant to allow customers to opt-out of these kinds of notices since they can be a security issue.

While BB and other Comcast customers may have no technical reason to switch modems right now, that should change in the coming years. In August, Comcast revealed plans to use the DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem standard that makes 1-gigabit speeds possible over existing cable networks. But to take advantage of those upgraded speeds you need a new DOCSIS 3.1-compatible modem. That means another trip to your local electronics store or Comcast’s Amazon Associates store.


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