Internet service providers can see what their users are doing through IP addresses. Some ISPs slow down user connections by limiting bandwidths when they stream from services like Netflix and Amazon Prime. They do this to prevent congestion in their connections or to get payments from streaming services for full-speed connection.
For Internet users, they have little control over the situation. They can collect data and complain to their ISP’s customer service. But, if this practice is permitted in the terms and conditions, they have no way of getting the speed they paid for.
In such cases, only a VPN can help get the full-speed of the plan they are paying for. The virtual private network prevents Internet service providers from seeing if the user is using a streaming service. This prevents them from slowing down the speed since they do not know what their customer is doing in the first place.
However, this can only work if the ISP slows down the connection based on IP addresses. If the ISP enforces a data cap, an encrypted data would not prevent ISPs from slowing down a connection. After all, whether its encrypted or not, they can monitor how much data is passing through the user’s connection.
Streaming services have varying contents available to different countries. Copyright laws and agreements with media corporations limit the regions where they can broadcast films and TV shows. For example, some movies will be available on Netflix users in the US but not for European Netflix users.
VPN providers can mask subscriber IP addresses seen by streaming services. They can provide an address recognized as a US, European, or Japanese IP address. In effect, the subscriber can view content exclusive to the region of the IP address.
There are cases when this approach might not work. Some streaming services
Some streaming services and pay-per-view providers prevent some regions from accessing their services. In some cases, these restrictions result from the media provider’s decision to not sell its services to the region. It could be that the demand for their service does not justify the required investment for doing business in the region.
In other cases, the media provider has a marketing partner in the region to distribute its media. They would protect these marketing partners by preventing Internet users in the region from accessing their platform. This encourages users to watch the media through the platform of their partner in the region.
For both scenarios, Internet users can bypass these restrictions through a VPN. They can use a VPN that provides an IP address in the region where the service is available. From there, they can register and the streaming service would recognize the user as a resident of that region. The user can now freely use the service that was originally unavailable in his region.
Sports fans usually do this method due to the unavailability of exclusive media partners in their country. Although they can view a competition or event through cable television, the subscription cost do not justify their limited use. So, instead of subscribing to cable television, they subscribe to a VPN provider and use it to access the media provider. In this way, they can use the VPN service for other purposes.