Are you experiencing slower speeds? Is using the internet becoming a problem with slow load times? Your internet service provider could be throttling your internet service. ISPs can throttle internet speeds for a number of reasons. But before you call them up to complain, it might be a good idea to check if you’re actually getting throttled speeds. Of course, if you have a subscription to Spectrum business internet, you probably won’t have that problem. But you may with many other services. This blog will show you how you can check if your internet service provider is throttling your speeds.
What Exactly Is Internet Throttling?
Your internet service comes with specific bandwidth based on your plan. The more bandwidth you have, the higher your speeds can go. Unfortunately, for reasons that we look at in the next section, internet providers can reduce your bandwidth, resulting in much slower speeds than normal. This is what is commonly known as internet throttling, and is fairly common among internet service providers in the United States.
Internet providers can throttle internet speeds based on several reasons. Some of these may seem fair to you, others may not. But the fact is that if your service agreement allows your service provider to throttle internet speeds, then there’s usually nothing you can do to prevent that. A few reasons major providers cite to reduce internet speeds on a user’s subscription can include the following:
- Abnormal Congestion in The Provider’s Network
- You May Have Exceeded Your Monthly Data Cap
- You May Have Engaged in Dangerous Internet Activity
- You May Not Have Paid Your Bills on Time
Read on for a closer look at these below.
Abnormal Congestion in the Provider’s Network
Internet network congestion has been a big problem in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic and people being forced to study and work from home. When your area is experiencing heavy internet usage, your provider may throttle internet speeds to ease network congestion. This ensures that all customers have equitable access to the internet, otherwise certain households would have better access while others wouldn’t. Network congestion also occurs during peak hours, usually from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
You May Have Exceeded Your Monthly Data Cap
If you’re experiencing slower speeds towards the end of your billing cycle, you may have exceeded your monthly data allowance. Most internet plans that aren’t unlimited come with a finite volume of data. This ensures all of a provider’s subscribers have fair access to the internet. If you exceed your data caps for the month, you may experience reduced speeds until the next billing cycle. This is because your provider might be throttling your internet speeds. Certain providers suspend internet access altogether, which is also known as a hard data cap. Others will simply offer reduced speeds, which is also referred to as a soft data cap.
You May Have Engaged in Dangerous Internet Activity
There are many types of online activities that can be dangerous both to you as well as to the people around you. If you have been engaged in any fraudulent, illegal, or otherwise dangerous internet activities, your provider may restrict your internet speeds. We aren’t going to list down these activities, but if you know something is illegal, it would be best not to engage in it online.
You May Not Have Paid Your Bills on Time
In most cases, internet providers may suspend your service in case of not paying your bills. However, certain providers will still let you access the internet, but on very low network priority. This means you can still browse and do basic internet activities like checking your social media and email. But that’s about it until you pay your bill and get services restored for the next cycle.
Determining If Your Provider Is Throttling Speeds
There is one very easy and simple way to test whether your internet provider is throttling your internet speeds or not. You will need a speed test app and a VPN application as well. First, run a speed test without activating the VPN. Note the speeds you get, and repeat the test, this time with the VPN enabled. Your internet provider isn’t able to monitor and throttle traffic over a VPN as it would over a standard connection. If you get faster speeds over a VPN connection, it is likely that your provider has throttled your speeds, possibly for any of the reasons we mentioned above. If none of them seem to apply to you, simply get in touch with Charter or whichever provider you are subscribed to and ask them to look into it. This will help if there is a technical problem or glitch that is slowing speeds down.