I'm outside the US, they won't allow that(MAC address thing).

However when I eventually got through to a real techie on the ISP's end on a long support call, the problem outlined on the thread was replicated at their end using webchat on a laptop connected to the Cisco 2425 router which proved my point to them smile

After that happened, they promised me to give my old modem back where IRC worked. Will keep you posted!