Time Warner Cable plans to start charging its broadband customers a monthly fee to use company-issued modems.

The $3.95-a-month fee will start with the next billing cycle, spokesman Dave Borchardt said.

"We are continually investing in our network to ensure the fastest, most reliable Internet service for our customers, and this new fee will help support these ongoing infrastructure improvements and service enhancements," he said in an emailed statement.

Borchardt said such a fee is standard across the industry, and Time Warner is among the last providers to start charging it.

He also said Time Warner's fee is lower than most. According to published reports, both Comcast and Cox Communications charge modem-rental fees. Comcast's fee is $7 a month.

Not all customers will be charged the fee. Signature Home package customers, for example, are exempt.

Customers can avoid the fee by buying their own cable modems, as long as they are compatible with Time Warner Internet service. 

Also this Week, Time Warner announced a new Internet pricing program called Essentials Internet.

The plan is aimed at light users who have the Lite, Basic or Standard Internet service. Those users can save $5 a month if they keep their monthly data transmission usage to 5 gigabytes or less. Overages cost $1 per gigabyte, up to a maximum of $25 per month.

Time Warner Cable customers can monitor their Internet usage by accessing their MyServices account at www.timewarnercable.com/myservices.

Reach Matt Olberding at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com