Linksys Reenters Cable Modem Retail Market

Following up on plans announced at CES in January, Linksys has launched two DOCSIS 3.0-powered cable modem products for sale at retail, with a third model that will become available this summer.

Here’s Linksys’s initial lineup:

-CM3008, an 8x4 modem for $59.99 (for plans under 100 Mbps)

-CM3016, a 16x4 modem, set for release this summer (for plans up to 250 Mbps; pricing to be announced).

-CM3024, a 24x8 modem for $129.99 (for plans over 250 Mbps).

Linksys’s new models are built on Intel’s Puma 6 chipsets.

Linksys said its new retail products have been deemed compatible with Charter Communications, Comcast, and Cox Communications.

In January, Linksys also announced plans for the CG7500, a gateway device that combines a 24x3 D3 modem with dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB 2.0 port.  At the time, Linksys slated the CG7500, set for a summer release, and a price of $249.99.

The company’s renewed focus on retail comes after Belkin acquired Linksys from Cisco Systems in 2013 and added it to Belkin’s home networking business (Cisco acquired Linksys in 2003 for $500 million).

Linksys’s reentry will put some retail pressure on suppliers such as Arris, Netgear and Zoom Telephonics, which launched a new line of Motorola-branded modems earlier this year.

Linksys is selling the its new products at and via retailers such as Amazon, Frys, MicroCenter, Newegg and Staples. Among other retailers, the CM3008 is only available at HH Gregg and Walmart, while the CM3024 only will be available at OD Max and Fred Meyer.

Linksys will target broadband subscribers who want to avoid monthly product lease fees. It cited an IDC study it sponsored that found that two-third of consumers who get their modems from a cable operator are paying rental fees of about $10 per month. Just one in five purchased their modems from a retailer, and 75% did so in order to avoid the fee, the study found.

“Consumers can save up to $120 a year if they purchase their own cable modem instead of paying monthly rental fees,” Brian Nickell, cable modem product manager at Linksys, said in a statement. “With rental fees being on average $10 a month, consumers can have our CM3008 paid off in as little as six months and have the latest high performance modem that matches the broadband plan they have subscribed to.”