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Playing online games or watching your favourite shows and movies is everyone’s go to pastime activity. These activities have only grown in popularity since the coronavirus-imposed lockdowns around the world. After all, why wouldn’t they? What else will you do to pass your time? One cannot just rely on books all day. But you might have experienced that while watching Netflix, YouTube, or playing any online game, the internet becomes quite slow. When you open another website, it loads just fine.
This slow down is referred to as internet throttling. Let us talk about it in more detail.
What is Internet Throttling?
When you have consumed your monthly bandwidth, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) will limit your speeds. This is what internet throttling is basically. The ISP asks you to clear the outstanding dues or pay more for additional bandwidth. However, a lot of times, the ISP engages in throttling even when you have not consumed your monthly data limit. They do it to ease congestion and ensure that all users experience optimal internet speeds. Also, ISPs limit the speed of certain websites in a bid to get more money from those websites or force the consumer into buying a more expensive package.
For instance, the ISP will slow down speeds for Netflix. The online video service will then automatically convert the video quality from HD to a lower one. This will surely not go down well with the end consumer or Netflix. Hence, to ensure the best experience for their users, Netflix might decide to pay the ISPs for higher speeds. More often than not, the user themselves will opt for a more premium internet package.
How to Resolve Internet Throttling?
Read the contract between you and the ISP. This will give you an idea about what the type of service you are legally entitled to. Once you get a rough idea, start gathering proof that the ISP is engaging in internet throttling. For this, you can rely on tools like Speed Test. Whenever the Internet feels slow, take a speed test. Take a screenshot of the results. Do this whenever you feel that the speed is not what you are paying for. View your ‘Results History’, the page where you can see the internet speed over time and how it has changed. You can download the data. The purpose is to have enough supporting evidence when you confront your ISP. Otherwise, they will just deny that they engage in throttling.
Even Google has entered this domain with the Google Video Quality Report – a tool that lets you test a video’s quality by using data from the ISP and other things. Moreover, like the Speed Test, this data can be downloaded. More evidence, the better! After you have gathered the data and clearly understood that internet throttling is against the terms of the contract, confront your ISP. You can call/email them yourself or you can rely on a lawyer. I am confident that this will resolve your issue.
If this fails, there are other ways too.
Other Methods to Resolve Internet Throttling
Get a Better Package
Most of the time, the ISP engages in internet throttling to force consumers to upgrade their package. You can decide to cave into their demands and opt for a better package with no data caps. This will resolve your issue right away. Moreover, you can save yourself tonnes of time and effort which would have gone into evidence gathering and confronting the ISP.
Changing the ISP
If there are other ISPs available in your area, I recommend changing the ISP right away. You might actually get a better deal as compared to the previous ISP.
Talk to the Regulator
You can try talking to the internet regulator and ask them to look into the issue. If they find any wrongdoing, I assure you that the ISP will have a hefty fine coming their way. This will dent their public image and may also cause other customers to shift to another ISP. This is the last thing any ISP would want. So, try exhausting the other options before you do this. I am sure they will listen to good reasoning.
Virtual Private Network
The ISP engages in throttling when you open a website or application that is data hungry. In other words, websites or applications that consume a lot of bandwidth. But this is only possible when the ISP can detect what you are viewing. You might know that VPN protects your website history even from the ISP. Therefore, invest in a premium VPN. This way you can protect your identity and save yourself from throttling.
Reading the contract is the primary prerequisite here. Make sure that there is nothing in the contract which states that the ISP can engage in internet throttling. Once that is cleared out, you can use the above methods to stop internet throttling. Good Luck!