Net Neutrality in the USA is dead. There will be legal battles and plenty of challenges against the roll-back of net neutrality, which was passed by the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) earlier this year, to come. In time, Net Neutrality laws might be fully reinstated once again. But as far as internet users in the USA are concerned for the immediate future, net neutrality rules in the USA will cease to exist from April 23rd. And from that date on ISPs, like Time Warner, have the power to throttle your internet speeds as they choose.
ISPs have lobbied hard to get net neutrality laws revoked. Without them, they are able to sell faster internet speeds to the highest bidders and slow down the connection to rival sites. Ultimately this means big profits for them and a much worse internet service for their customers. But there is a way to get around their throttling and still enjoy a free and open internet. In this article, we are going to tell you how to do this using a VPN and explain why, on the ISP dominated US internet, a VPN is now an essential tool.
- 1 What is Throttling?
- 2 How to stop Time Warner cable Internet throttling?
- 3 Our recommended VPN providers
- 4 How do I know if Time Warner is throttling my internet?
- 5 When will a VPN not work?
- 6 Other reasons your internet might be slow
- 7 Other perks of using a VPN
- 8 Conclusion
What is Throttling?
When we say your ISP is throttling your internet, what we mean is that they are slowing down your internet connection speed. They do this by reducing the amount of bandwidth which is available to you. The basic effect of this is that you get a much worse internet experience. Websites take longer to open, online games run slowly, Skype calls will drop out, downloads take a lot longer, and online streaming is of a lower quality and frequently affected by buffering.
Under the current rules, ISPs can only throttle your internet speeds under certain circumstances. It is commonly done when demand for their service is high as it helps them to cope with the increased demand on their limited resources. They might also choose to do it if they identify that you are downloading content illegally. Throttling is a frequent technique used by ISPs to target those who download from BitTorrent sites for example.
But with the removal of Net Neutrality laws, all this will change. ISPs will now be able to promote services that they have a commercial interest in by slowing down services of their rivals. For example, Time Warner has a 10% stake in Hulu and so might decide to slow down connections to rival services to make using Hulu more attractive. They are also likely to choose to sell rights to optimal internet services to big internet companies. This could for example mean that if Amazon pays Time Warner for faster speeds, their customers will find the Amazon.com website much faster and easier to use than Walmart or Target sites. In the battle for faster connections, smaller businesses and start-ups will have far less chance of breaking into the market.
How to stop Time Warner cable Internet throttling?
The obvious answer to the question “How to Stop Time Warner Cable Internet throttling?” is to take your custom elsewhere. But once Net Neutrality laws in the USA have ended, this will not make much difference. The ISP market in the USA is what is known as an oligopoly. That is a market which is controlled by a small number of large companies. And all of these companies are going to be taking advantage of the FCC rollback of Net Neutrality to boost their profits. This means that you are likely to have problems with internet throttling regardless of which ISP you are using. So, to get around the problem you have to think outside the box.
In order to throttle your internet connection speeds when you visit certain sites, Time Warner needs to be able to see what you are doing online. Its algorithms can then determine whether to give you faster or slower connection speeds. So, in order to avoid the inevitable online throttling that US internet users will soon be faced with, they need to try and hide what they are doing from their own ISP. That might sound complicated, but it is actually both very simple and completely legal to do. All you need is a VPN.
Use a VPN
When you log onto the internet and connect to a website, the device you are using forms a direct connection with the server hosting that site. Your ISP can see this connection and can therefore monitor which websites you are visiting and well as analyse your traffic to see what you doing on that site. By seeing this connection, they can decide whether to speed up or slow down your connection based in the site you’re a visiting. However, when you are using a VPN, things are different. And that all comes down to how a VPN works.
A VPN works by redirecting your online data down a secure encrypted pathway and via one of their own servers before it heads off to the servers of the site you are visiting. The VPNs server essentially acts as a gateway, while the secure pathway encrypts your data which means that no external prying eyes, including your ISP can see what you are doing. What this means is that rather than seeing which sites you are visiting and what you are doing there, all your ISP can see is that you have connected to your VPNs server. They cannot see where you online traffic goes after that server and because your data is all encrypted, they also cannot see what you are doing online.
This makes it impossible for them to throttle your internet connection based on the sites that you are visiting. They cannot discriminate based on your online activity because they have no information to tell them what you are doing online. As such, VPNs are essentially protected against the throttling habits of Time Warner and all the other US ISPs and protected against the principal threats of Net Neutrality rollback.
Our recommended VPN providers
The VPN market is a crowded one with more than a thousand different providers currently competing for your custom. This can make identifying the best VPN a daunting prospect. Which is why have done the legwork for you and picked out what we believe are the best VPN providers to help you stop Time Warner from throttling your internet speeds. In identifying the best providers, we have applied the following criteria which are the things most Time Warner customers will need from their VPN provider:
- Encryption strength and security
- Effectiveness of privacy policies
- Fast Connection Speeds
- Number of available US servers
Looking at these main criteria as well as assessing the overall strengths and weaknesses of all the main VPN providers, we have picked out four VPN providers which we believe are ideal for Time Warner customers to use to stop their ISP from throttling their internet connection.
As their name implies, ExpressVPN pride themselves on their connection speeds and they do offer some of the fastest speeds, which is one of the big reasons they are so popular. But there is a lot more to the ExpressVPN than simply fast connections. ExpressVPN offers encryption which is every bit as good as that of IPVanish. Their entire network SSL is secured with 256-bit encryption. They also offer a kill switch as standard which is just what Time Warner customers need.
They can also match IPVanish for privacy policies as well, with no user logs retained on any of their customers. As ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, where there are no data retention laws, they can offer a cast-iron guarantee on this. ExpressVPN also has a huge server network too, with multiple servers available across no fewer than nine different US locations. This means that no matter where you are located, there is a US-based server that will work well for you.
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IPVanish is one of the biggest VPN names on the market. They have a large and loyal subscriber base who have stuck with IPVanish for years because, quite simply, they offer one of the best all-round services on the market. IPVanish has built its reputation on the excellent security and privacy provisions they offer. Their encryption is as good as it gets with both L2TP and OpenVPN protocols using a 256-bit encryption available as standard. IPVanish also uses shared IP Addresses, which offers an extra level of security and privacy protection. And they have a number of other extra security features including a kill-switch, which will cut your internet connection automatically if the VPN connection goes down. This means that there is no chance of your ISP getting wind of what you are doing online. There is also a built-in feature which allows users to switch IP Addresses periodically.
There is more to IPVanish’s VPN service than just strong security though. Their privacy policies are second to none and they offer a zero user logs guarantee you can trust. Their connections are both fast and consistent across their entire network of servers. This numbers more than 950 servers in 60+ countries around the world, including more than 300 US-based servers. IPVanish offers everything you need to evade Time Warner throttling and for their very reasonable subscription prices, you will get much more besides.
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NordVPN is one of the oldest VPNs around and their longevity is no coincidence. They continue to offer a high-quality, cost-effective service and have tackled some of the speed issues which hit their reputation a few years back. Today, a rollout of new super-fast servers across the globe means that their speeds match and even beat the very best of their rivals. This is true across almost all of their enormous server network. NordVPN offers a massive 1779 servers available in 61 countries around the world, including almost 700 in the USA alone.
Their encryption levels may not be quite up to the standard of IPVanish and ExpressVPN, but with 256-bit encryption on OpenVPN with 2,048-bit Diffie-Hellman keys as standard, it is more than sufficient to stop Time Warner from seeing what you are getting up top. And they also have a great range of additional security features including a kill switch and shared IP Addresses. They also offer a unique Double VPN server option, which reroute your internet data via two servers for extra protection and Onion over VPN servers, which push your traffic through the TOR Network as well as a VPN for additional security.
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VyprVPN is another well-established name in the VPN world and the cheapest VPN on this list. It is US-based so has to comply with US law, but has gone the extra mile to ensure all its customer data is secure. They offer 256-bit AES encryption used as standard for all data on all devices. This is enough for Time Warner customer, but those who want more can sign up for their Premium package and get use of their extra-secure Chameleon protocol. As well as a reliable no-logs guarantee and a built-in kill switch, VyprVPN has also gone to the effort of owning its own server network. This means no matter what you connect to, you can be sure there is no chance of anyone else seeing your online data.
VyprVPN offers a network of more than 700 servers including multiple servers at eight different US locations. Their speeds are generally good but can be a little variable at times. If you encounter this, just switching to a different server should resolve it quickly enough.
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How do I know if Time Warner is throttling my internet?
It will usually be pretty easily apparent that your internet is being throttled. If you find the connection speeds for some websites are much slower than others, that means it is highly likely that Time Warner is throttling your access to these sites. A quick internet search to see if Time Warner has a deal with a rival to that site should confirm your suspicions. But, if you are not sure the best thing to do is run a test to see what sort of speeds your internet is running at.
There are a number of sites available which will test your internet connection speeds quickly and easily. The most popular one is Speedtest.net. All you need to do is click on this link and then click on Start. The site will do all the rest and give you your results in a few moments. Alternative speed test sites include Fast.com, Internet Health Test, and Google’s own Speed Test tool.
When will a VPN not work?
If you have a data-limited service plan with Time Warner, a VPN cannot help you to go over that limit. That is because while a VPN can help to hide what you are doing online from your ISP, it cannot mask how much data you are using. Once a Time Warner customer reaches their data limit, the ISP will begin to throttle your data. This will still happen with or without a VPN and is unavoidable
The only real way to avoid this is to switch to an unlimited service package. You can then use a VPN to stop Time Warner from throttling your internet usage based on the sites you are visiting and so enjoy a completely free and unconstrained internet experience. The same is true with all other US ISPs too.
Other reasons your internet might be slow
If you have slow internet connection speeds regardless of which sites you are visiting, there could be another reason for your speed issues. As we have already noted, there are a number of different reasons why Time Warner might choose to throttle your internet connections regardless of what sites you are visiting. These include high demands for their service, excessive use of data-intensive activities such as downloading and streaming, accessing certain websites (such a BitTorrent sites), or because you have exceeded the data limit on your monthly service plan.
There are also alternate reasons why internet speeds could be slow which have nothing to do with Time Warner or your ISP at all. These could include using old equipment, such as routers, modems, or computers, having too many devices hooked up to your home Wi-Fi connection at any one time, a weak Wi-Fi signal in the place you are connecting, or something interfering with your Wi-Fi link. All of these reasons could impact speeds but will not vary depending on the site you visit. So, if you are experiencing slow connection speeds across the board, it is worth exploring where any of these are your problem.
Other perks of using a VPN
The other big innovation of the current FCC has been to remove any vestiges of online privacy laws as well as axe net neutrality. The previous FCC introduced laws which banned your ISP from selling your online data without first asking your permission to do so. The first act of the new FCC was to scrap this law. That means that now your ISP can record your internet habits and sell that data to the highest bidder. Nothing you do online in the USA can be private anymore.
Unless you are using a VPN of course. Because as we have already explained, when you are connected to a VPN, your ISP cannot see what you are doing online. The only data they have about your internet usage is that you have connected to a VPN server. And that information cannot be sold for very much. So, a VPN helps to protect the online privacy of US internet users too.
ISPs are also not the only threat to your online privacy and security. There are no shortage of hackers and other malicious actors out there who are devising methods to try and compromise your internet security and steal your online data. By encrypting everything you do online with a VPN, you are protecting yourself from these threats. Most hackers are looking for easy targets and will not bother to try and compromise encrypted data.
Other perks of using a VPN include the ability to access content that might be blocked, censored, or otherwise unavailable in the USA, being able to access geo-restricted content from overseas that is usually unavailable to US internet users, and also to access US content that is blocked overseas when you are travelling outside the country.
A VPN is an increasingly essential tool for US internet users. And with prices starting from just a few dollars a month, it really makes little sense not to be using one these days. Why not share your experiences of using a VPN to stop Time Warner, or other US IPSs throttling your internet speeds. We always like to hear your thoughts and comments so why not share them with us using the comment box below?