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Why Do ISPs Control the Amount of Data Transmitted by Every User?

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By: David Balaban

October 10, 2018


The amount of data transmitted within a specific timeframe (bandwidth throttling) is one of the major issues Internet users encounter. Even if you diligently pay the bills for Internet access, your ISP may limit this access for a number of reasons.

What are the ties between bandwidth, amount of data, your ISP and you?

Controlling the amount of transmitted data is one of the biggest concerns that the average Internet user comes across. An Internet service provider may apply restrictions throughout a whole month or as a one-time measure, reducing the bandwidth to a conspicuous extent. The actual purpose of adopting these limitations is to collect some extra payments from the customers. Of course, ISPs claim to have strong reasons for doing so, which is understandable. However, in most cases, it simply means that your provider will ask for more money to improve your Internet access parameters.

Why do ISPs need information on the amount of data consumed by users? It helps them control the volume and speed of data streaming in their networks. This monitoring is certainly also important for preventing network overload and the ensuing outages. The growing share of streaming content being viewed has additionally contributed to the necessity of implementing that type of control. The well-known net neutrality principle is intended to address this particular problem. So, do Internet service providers have the right to block or restrict your online access?

Why do ISPs harvest information on the amount of data being transmitted?

The truth is, monitoring the amount of data allows providers to get more money from their customers. ISPs are increasingly collecting this information in order to restrict Internet access for their clients at the end of the day. They cannot altruistically manage the entire Internet for the good of all of us and therefore offer paid premium services along with privileged terms for some users from their customer base. For example, Comcast, a major U.S. telecommunications company, adopted a nation-wide data limit in 2016 that restricted the amount of data consumed by customers to 1TB per month. If you want more – go ahead and pay.

What do ISPs throttle bandwidth for?

They do it for the exact same reason they control the volume of consumed data, that is, to manage the traffic flow in their networks. It’s clear that bandwidth throttling is an important mechanism to avoid network overload, especially in peak online traffic hours during work time. In reality, though, ISPs usually do it to make more money. If you need a faster connection, which means more bandwidth, then you will have to pay for it. Companies like Netflix and other streaming media providers demand that ISPs deliver higher quality services so that you can watch movies and play online video games without awful buffering issues. Paying Netflix for its services while being unable to use them properly isn’t the way things should go.

Why do ISPs limit the amount of data transmitted within a unit of time? Why do they throttle bandwidth? Because they dictate the rules and have the technical capabilities to do so. Because they know that we will pay for hassle-free access once they limit our web surfing experience. They know they are the masters of the situation and they want to maintain this status quo. That’s why none of them offers VPN services or at least spreads the word about the way customers can benefit from using VPN.

How to get around the data amount limit and bandwidth throttling?

Virtual private network (VPN) is a technology that secures your Internet connection in such a way that your Internet service provider won’t even know what you are doing online. It means you circumvent their control over the amount of data being transmitted and make sure this information cannot be used to throttle your bandwidth. It’s worth mentioning that the use of VPN via a VPN router can also optimize the way your entire network is functioning. As long as you are using VPN, your ISP cannot impose its will on you and promote its own interests. If you are a fan of streaming videos, you need to prevent your provider from limiting the amount of data – in other words, you should opt for VPN right now.

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