Suggestions on an EMTA Docsys 3 modem for a college kid at her 1st apartment

What hardware do you recommend for EMTA addition to an existing Docsys 3.0 modem?

Just called Comcast to help a kid out on her first apartment outside the dorms at college, and I haven't kept up on Internet (I'm on WISP).

Here's what Comcast told me over the phone: A. $50/month Brand: "Performance Plus Saver Double Play" Price: $49.99/month (plus tax, plus any rentals, plus any installation) Contract: 2 years Speed: 55Mbps down, 5Mbps up, no bandwidth caps VOIP: Unlimited nationwide calling (requires Docsys 3.0 EMTA modem). TV: no

B. $60/month Brand: "Internet Plus Choice" Price: $59.99/month Contract: 1 year Speed: 55Mbps down, 5Mbps up, no bandwidth caps VOIP: no TV: no (Yes, I know it's more money for less ... that's marketing.)

C. $90/month Brand: "X1 Starter Doubleplay" Price: $89.99/month Contract: 1 year Speed: 100Mbps down, 5Mbps up, no bandwidth caps VOIP: no TV: 140 digital channels

D. $110/month Brand: "Xfinity Voice Unlimited" Price: $109.99/month Contract: 1 year Speed: 100Mbps down, 5Mbps up, no bandwidth caps VOIP: Unlimited nationwide calling (requires Docsys 3.0 EMTA modem). TV: 140 digital channels

The kid probably only needs "B" but "A" is cheaper (that's marketing), at least for the first two years (which will be long enough as she's a junior) so now that leaves the EMTA "thing" up in the air.

I shipped her a two-year old Costco Arris SB6141 modem, which is Docsys

3.0, along with a 2-year old Netgear AC1700 router (which is fast enough), but I didn't have anything called EMTA in my spare box.

What do you recommend for this EMTA capability? Is it just a modem with an RJ11 port for a regular phone line?

PS: We'll go for the "self install" kit, which will probably cost $15 or $20 (or less) just to have them flash the modem - which will save the $10 per month modem rental - and where if we need to, we'll buy a new modem that is EMTA capable but the kid doesn't even want VOIP as she lives on a cell phone.

PSS: I haven't pressure-washed the pots yet (have to hide them from the wife for a while until I clean them up. I told her they are still soaking.)

Reply to
Danny D.
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Bearing in mind that I'm not up on the latest cable stuff because I live in mountains where we don't have cable, so we get our Internet via rooftop transceivers.

On the net, most people seem to say that Comcast will *require* an EMTA device (because of 911 laws) if the service includes VOIP.

Obviously it's a bad financial decision to rent the EMTA device from Comcast, so, that brings up the need to for the kid to buy an EMTA device in order to save the $240/2 years that renting the device would cost the kid.

Googling, I see that a good Docsys 3.0 modem with EMTA seems to be the Arris TM22G so I wonder if you have experience with that (or if there's a better EMTA device out there nowadays).

I can't see any "standalone" EMTA (digital to analog converters) devices yet, but that's also an option if they exist.

Any suggestions from those of you who live closer to civilization?

Reply to
Danny D.

Give this web link a try;

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Put in the zip code and enter the anticipated speed.

Then make sure to check the voice option on the left of what comes up along with the speed and go down to the DOCSIS option and pick 3.0.

This should get you a list of modems that can Comcast will support that your friend can consider purchasing.

When in doubt, call Comcast to verify they will support the device you select.

Reply to

EMTA means "Embedded Multimedia Terminal Adapter" which is a DOSCIS

3.0 cable modem and a VoIP telephone adapter built into one package.

I use Arris TM722g and TM822g adapters for the purpose on Comcast. If you buy on eBay or such, be sure that it will work on Comcast. The firmware is different for different ISP's. Also, make sure that it comes with a battery so that the phone works when the power fails. The TM822g is faster than the TM722g and should be the first choice. Typical price is $50 to $90. At that price, compared to the $10/month lease for the Comcast gateway, break even is less than a skool year.

That works only if you want to subscribe to both Comcast phone and internet service. It's probably a good idea because the price of internet service alone is about the same as internet plus phone. However, like using your own router, you can also bring your own VoIP service provider. Adapters vary from $30 to $100. VoIP service can be as slow as $75/year.

Comcast does have a retail gateway (everything in one box). I'm not going to dig out the model number from the Comcast user hostile web pages: I don't recommend this gateway and prefer separate boxes.

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann

That is not true, unless they have different requirements for different service areas. I specifically asked Comcast about this when I signed a

2-year contract that included TV/Internet/VOIP, because I didn't really need the VOIP, but it was significantly cheaper to get all three bundled services than it was to just get TV and Internet.

I can still make and receive calls to/from the VOIP number assigned to me without an EMTA, via the Xfinity app on my iPhone. For internet service, I am using my own DOCSIS 3 Arris SB6183 modem, which does not contain a VOIP adapter.

As always, YMMV.

Reply to
Dave Garrett

Thanks for the help, Jeff, and the others.

The kids finally figured out what service to buy and have it working now using the Costco Arris SB6141 I shipped them.

They told me they're now paying $40/month (plus taxes of course) and that they're supposed to get 55Mpbs down (5Mpbs up) with no installation charge.

Comcast did initially charge them $14.99 for a "device" that the kids told me is a "PR150BNM", which they hand picked up at the Comcast store so as to wipe out that 15-dollar charge. The kids tell me this PR150BNM is free, which is news to me that Comcast gives out free hardware sans a monthly rental fee.

At this very moment, they're still hooked up to the Costco Arris SB6141 modem, where they don't know what to do with this PR150BNM hardware.

In looking up what the PR150BNM is, apparently "Pace" makes it (which is probably the "PR") and the "N" apparently means it's has "anyRoom DVR" capability.

This has some information about the PR150BNM which is apparently something called a "secondary boxs that is typically used with X1 DVR deployments"

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This press release apparently describes what this PR150BNM is, but I need an interpreter to tell me what this press release says, in plain English.

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Reply to
Danny D.

I belatedly figured out what the Pace PR150BNM was, which is what Comcast calls a "TV Box". One "TV box" comes, supposedly free, with their "Internet Plus Choice with Limited Basic TV" (55Mbps/5Mpbs, no contract,

10+ TV channels)

Apparently the supposed $30/month plan the kids have comes with HBO TV which the PR150BNM TV Box enables (plus a handful of local channels).

The kids didn't even know this (and they don't even have a TV) so it's no wonder they didn't bother hooking it up.

However, Comcast is deceitful in not telling the kids that they charge what I consider to be bogus fees on that $30/month plan, which bump the true cost to $52/month, which is 173% of the advertised monthly price!

So, I'm going to call Comcast to figure out what's better for these kids.

Reply to
Danny D.

Comcast did not explain to these kids that the plan actually cost 40% more per month than they advertised!

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Notice the deceitful arbitrary "fees"!
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I found a better $30 Comcast plan for the kids, sans TV.

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I first tried calling as myself to ask about "new" service but Comcast wouldn't even bother to explain what packagages are available since there is no cable where I live (WISP mountains near Jeff Liebermann).

So I searched the net for an empty apartment in the same zip code, and called that number to confirm it was empty and that it had Comcast service lines. Additionally I made up a name and a local phone number (which I called to ensure wasn't in service).

Armed with my new name-address-phone persona, I called as that persona (

855-855-4577x2x2) and asked for "new" service and told them I didn't have a TV nor did I want a VOIP phone.

For the first time in many calls, they offered me the $30/month 1-year "introductory offer" for the "Performance Plus Internet" plan at 55Mbps down & 5Mbps up, with no bandwidth caps.

This plan is 58% cheaper, and, since they don't even own a TV, they lose nothing (where they can give back that useless Pace/Arris PR150BNM TV box).

The moral of this story is that the TV plans have a hidden charge which makes the TV plan 30% more than the advertised price of $40/month!

Another moral is that you have to call repeatedly, posing as a new customer each time, armed with the best plan from the previous call, before you will ever get the "best price" that they offer for your area.

Reply to
Danny D.

I understand what you're saying which is that Comcast is just passing on their costs. Everything depends on how Comcast positions that cost, since the kids were unaware of it when I spoke to them today (but they're just kids).

Here is a recent lawsuit update, August 2017, on the lawsuit against Comcast for hiding these fees from customers like these kids.

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These "fees" are all made up bogus ways of passing on costs to you without it *looking* like a cost (they try to position it as an "implied" government fee which it is not but which people naturally think it is):

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I think the fact they hide it in plain sight is what makes it deceptive, but, since they do tell people in the teeny tiny print, it's probably not illegal (up to a judge to decide though). I think the marketing genius is that these hidden charges are probably "assumed" to be legit government fees by most people - which is the deceptive part. Again, up to a judge to decide because they never explicitly "said" it was a government fee.

I appreciate your advice because I have WISP so I'm almost completely ignorant of cable hardware and I still have questions.

The $40 (actually $52 with these fees) "Internet Plus Choice with Limited Basic TV" plan comes only with the following for that $52/month:

  1. One free Pace/Arris PR150BNM TV box (useful for only 1 TV)
  2. 10 basic channels (local + HBO)
  3. Internet 55Mbps down, 5Mbps up

I had shipped the kids the following which are necessary:

  1. Costco Arris SB6141 Docsys 3.0 modem
  2. Netgear AC router

Since they don't have a TV, a friend is willing to give this to them:

  1. Trinitron KV-27FV17 27-inch TV

My main question now is whether that older model TV can work with the thing that Comcast calls the "TV box"?

Reply to
Danny D.

Don't do it. It's a CRT type TV. Such a TV is unlikely to be able to display anything batter than SD video, and certainly doesn't have an HDMI connector.

Reply to
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