Modifying or replacing firmware is not uncommon amongst the technically savvy. It seems kind of foolish for the cable company to use the bridging device to regulate the available bandwidth. That's something that should be handled on their end. Ideally a subscriber should be able to use any capable device for routing/bridging without bypassing service restrictions.
20 years for "stealing" cable? He only could've gotten more time if they also caught him snorting kiddie porn on the back of one of his hacked cable modems. Wait sometimes serial killers get more than 20 right?
Outrageous in how the punishment and the crime don't quite jive. No reasonable American judge will let this stand.