Qwest charges a “setup fee” for static IP’s

by vivin

Two weeks ago, I finally got my DSL upgrade from a measly 3Mbps to a whopping (for me) 12Mbps. I have been on 3Mbps since 2004, and the difference is amazing. I’m able to stream HD quality stuff from Netflix all the time! Qwest set me up with an Actiontec Q1000 router/modem, which as far as routers go, is not that great. But it does the job… somewhat. My previous modem (also from Qwest) would let me grab multiple IP’s from Qwest if I had it plugged into a switch (every machine that was plugged into that switch got an IP from Qwest’s pool). However, the Actiontec is different. Since it’s a router, it basically just enables DHCP and gives you an address. This was a problem for me because I have three machines that face the outside world and I use DynDNS so that I can access them. The router does some port-mapping, but that wasn’t an option. Since my website was my top priority, I set it up in a DMZ and figured that I could access the other two machines through my webserver, so no big deal. But yeah, didn’t work completely. DynDNS uses the modem’s IP for my webserver. I can access my website without any problem, from the outside world. But if I try to get to it from within my network, I end up at the Actiontec’s configuration page. Stupid. So eventually I just decided to get some static IP’s. The price was pretty reasonable: a block of 8 for $14.99 a month. Then I saw the setup fee: $50. Seriously? FIFTY dollars to set up a block of IP addresses? It gets even better. The more IP addresses you order, the higher the “setup fee” goes. Here’s the full chart:

# of IP Addresses Monthly Rate One Time Charge
1 (1 useable) $5.95 $25.00
8 (5 useable) $14.95 $50.00
16 (13 useable) $29.95 $75.00
32 (29 useable) $59.95 $150.00
64 (61 useable) $119.95 $250.00

Source: Qwest.net: How much do static IP addresses cost and how many addresses do I get?

I had a hard time understanding this. I mean, I’ll admit that I’m not a networking expert. But how hard can setting up static IP’s be? Does it really take $50 worth of work? I’m assuming it involves some configuration – probably a few keystrokes or something of that nature. $50 for that? Maybe it’s completely different from what I think. Maybe IP addresses are huge blocks of stone that need to be moved from place to place, therefore there are obvious labor costs. Whatever. $50 sounds ridiculous to me. I figured I’d talk to Qwest and see if they could explain this cost to me. I didn’t get anywhere with the reps online, but the prompt and helpful folks at @TalkToQwest finally emailed me with an answer:

Hello Vivin,

After doing a little research on the matter I have found out a little more about the business decision to charge for setting up Static IP’s. Initially, there is a lot more in the way of system software that has to be implemented on our order side to facilitate these orders as apposed to the standard issue.

Additionally, the potential costs of features/functions that are afforded the customer with these services potentially require more resources and as such, cost to maintain and implement.

The setup cost is a way to spread that cost across the specific platform at what is considered a reasonable amount. How exactly they come up with this figure is of course something that I would not be privy to and would be considered proprietary marketing/business internally confidential information that I could not disclose any how, but that is the basic reason why we charge for the setup. There are cost unique to Static IP’s and they need to be covered.

Hope that helps explain it a bit anyway.

Not exactly the answer I was looking for, but I appreciate the time that the rep took to write me an email, and I guess I did understand the rep’s point that there are some costs involved. But come on, now… The point about “cost to maintain and implement” – I assume that this could easily be covered by the $14.99 I pay them every month. Other than that, I don’t see any reason to have a setup fee. If you ask me, there’s really only one reason. I apologize if I’m being cynical, but honestly I think it’s just a way for Qwest to make a quick buck. I can’t think of any other reason. I also don’t really buy into the whole “proprietary marketing/internal business/confidential” aspect of this, because come on… it’s just networking. I’m assuming that not too many people care about the fee, or ask about it and so Qwest is able to get away with it. Come to think of it, whoever invented the concept of a the “setup fee” is a genius. It’s a technical and important-sounding phrase that is also completely meaningless.

Anyway, I decided to take the hit and order them because I need the block. But overall I think it should be mandatory for companies to itemize and describe all the elements that make up a “setup fee” instead of just charging their customers some random amount. As customers we have a right to know what we’re paying for.