Rantings and Ramblings

Internet, Streaming, and other Gripes

Today, we are a connected society, from online shopping to social media, whether by a computer, a tablet or a cell phone. Everything from texting, sexting, watching a movie or a game, shopping, or ordering our next meal. But to accomplish these things, you need access to the internet. The problem is access and then the restrictions that are presented to us with these service providers.

Internet service providers (an ISP) offer two necessary items for internet access, speed and data usage. You can find ISPs that offer up to 1GB of download speed. Great if you are downloading music or movies. But not neccessary for streaming. The other biggy is data usage. This is the amount of megabites or gigabites used to download or stream a movie, a game or send a text. ISPs offer the consumer a wide choice of data usage plans ranging from on 50GB of usage per month to unlimited. But here comes the rub, if you exceed your alloted data usage, they either charge you more or they will throttle your speed. For example, I have Viasat as my internet provider because there are no other choices for me where I live. I have a plan that is 100 mps download speed and 150 GB of data usage. I watch a great deal of sports during the month. There is a baseball game on almost every day. I chew through that 130 GB within the first 20-25 days of the month. What happens when I hit my limit? Viasat throttles my speed of 100 mps to less than 2 mps. You can not stream at that speed. I have argued with them about this with obviouusly no results. It is ridiculous to cut my speed by so much. Reduce it to even 12 mps and I could still stream. Or offer me an option to buy more bandwith.

Other than satellite internet providers like HughesNet or Viasat that are able to transmit internet anywhere there’s a view of the sky, all ISPs serve limited coverage areas. But where they offer coverage, they hold a monopoly. In fact, 85% of Americans have access to two or fewer internet service providers — which means your address is the main deciding factor in what provider and plan you get.

And there lies the whole problem with ISPs. They control the market! If you have Comcast's Xfinity as your ISP and are unhappy with it, your alternatives are very limited, depending where you live. I will give them credit for one thing. Although they basically control an area, their pricing is reasonable. Since they are a monopoly, they could gouge the customer but I haven't seen it.

Read more about ISPs HERE

Streaming Services HERE

Data Usage Comparison HERE

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Mike Holeman |