By now, just about everyone on the planet uses Netflix. It’s a great way to watch all kinds of favorite TV shows and movies, most of which are available for streaming through your computer or mobile device.
Unfortunately, there have been a number of stories this year that suggest Netflix may not be all it’s cut out to be.
Just one example came when Ajit Pai of the Federal Communications Commission accused Netflix of ensuring its content streamed through faster lanes of web traffic at the expense of its competitors. Pai went on to say that Netflix is using proprietary caching systems that force Internet service providers to utilize nonstandard equipment.
One of two Republicans on the five person commission, Pai made these accusations in a letter that was sent to the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings. At this time, Reed nor anyone else at Netflix has commented.
While we wait for answers, most people aware of the situation—both those who use Netflix and those who don’t—are wondering where that leaves them. If Pai is correct, then everyone is affected, whether they are Netflix customers or not.
Is there a Solution?
The solution more and more people are turning to is called VPN (Virtual Private Network). These private networks make it so that ISPs have a much harder time throttling traffic, meaning fewer headaches for you, the user. Even in situations like the above where a company seems to be slowing down their own customers, VPNs have been shown to reverse the effect. Put another way, not even Netflix can slow the streaming of their videos.
Due to the fact that it’s a private network, ISPs only see encrypted traffic, but not the URLs you’re visiting. They can’t see the videos you’re steaming, the emails or messages you’re reading, or anything you’re downloading.
Those who plan on carrying on without a VPN will have to face facts. Your ISP is able to see all of the above. Amongst other things, this means they can choose to put you in a “slow lane” if they deem necessary. This, despite the fact, that you’re still paying the same amount for your Internet service.
Keep in mind, too, that Netflix isn’t the only site where users have become frustrated with apparent congestion issues. Though it may not be for the same reasons Pai is accusing Netflix of, those who use popular websites like Hulu and YouTube regularly tend to have similar problems.
VPNs are inexpensive solutions that may not only solve your problem, but end up being the reasons ISPs and large Internet companies change the way they do business for the better