Do you need to join AOL to use a cable modem?
My son and I are in an argument about cable modems .I say you have to have a subscription to something, like AOL or Charter, for cable modems to work. My son says you can get them to work by just plugging the cable in to the modem when you have digital cable service. Could you tell us which one of us is right, or tell us we're both wrong and help us with this problem.
Well, I'm not sure I want to get in the middle of an argument between the two of you, but I have to say that I think you're right and your son is wrong. Sort of.
Technologically, he's right that you can just plug a cable into a cable modem and have the capability of having a cable modem connection. The problem is, it's just like plugging a telephone into a wall outlet when the line isn't active: You have the connection, but you don't have the service.
On the other hand, you certainly don't need to go through America Online (AOL) to get cable service working, and, for that matter, you don't need digital cable. I'm with Comcast and my cable modem works fine (I"m using it right now) without the service supporting any sort of newfangled digital television signal.
So that's my compromise answer. You can plug a cable modem into a cable system but you can't actually use it until you sign up for cable modem service and have it enabled by the cable company.
Oh, and shop around. There are often quite different deals available in metro regions from competing vendors, and don't forget to double your antivirus, antispyware and firewall protection once you are hooked up since everyone in your physical neighborhood is then also often part of your "network neighborhood" too.
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