DATA CAPS AND DATA ALLOCATIONS – we don’t usually deal with them before, right? It’s literally annoying that internet service providers limits us on our usage of the internet, many were angry and uncomfortable around it, given the very small data allocations given especially to our country.
- However, technically speaking, the data we consume when we are surfing the internet are the one that was limited, not the right to use it. Many were confused with this fact, tho.
Because the internet wasn’t fast before unlike what we have right now (well, we still have slow internet other than the rest of the world), we all thought that data capacities and data allocations weren’t present before. Now, why do you think we say that ‘there is no such thing as unlimited internet’?
You all know that there is nothing unlimited in this world right? From our natural resources to other stuff, to our food and even water (don’t even mention the universe – that wasn’t included because the universe wasn’t the Earth), to all other aspects and things in life, there’s no such thing as unlimited.
I assume by knowing that, you already got the logic – but if you didn’t, here’s another thing.
The ‘Internet’, or known as the networks of interconnected computers all around the world – is also limited. The power of internet and the World Wide Web (WWW) depends on the internet-related infrastructure that was put up in the world. Because of its enormous infrastructure, connections and space, many people think that the Web and the internet itself is unlimited (meaning that there’s no end to it), but that is a big no-no. Internet resources are also man-made, and all man-made things are limited to a certain extent. Come to think of it, you’ll just expand the resources to add space and power, but what happens when you ran out of resources to add on? The END. It’s just like survival.
Going back to the topic, the typical connection between a person and the internet occurs like this:
- Person’s device > Internet Service Provider (ISP) > Desired website’s web server/database > ISP > Person’s device
Person’s device – Anything that is capable of connecting to the internet, such as your smartphone, laptop, computer, smart televisions and watches, tablets, and whatever in the world you can connect to the internet (not to mention things like smart home appliances and even toasters).
Internet Service Provider (ISP) – The one you’re probably angry with. In Philippines, it’s Smart/PLDT and Globe. These two telecommunications company / group owns perhaps all the telco assets in the country. No wonder that the competition is so bad, we’re ending up with sucking their bad services yet costly ones. The following report we linked might be a joke as well.
The ISPs, however, serves as your gateway to the Internet and the World Wide Web. They have the infrastructures and the apparatus to serve you the data/information that you’ll fetch from the network of connected web servers and databases, as well as services you’ll use on the internet. Think about them like this: You’re riding an airplane to go abroad, you’ll need a pass to enter (i.e. Ticket/Boarding Pass/Visa) – the ISPs are the boarding pass/tickets/visa you’ll need to/when you arrive/reach your destination. Simply, without them, you might not be able to get access to the web at all – unless you intend to spend some bucks to get your own infrastructure to connect yourself to the web without any help from an ISP – which may seem impractical.
Desired website’s web server/database – Any website you’ll see on the internet is probably stored in a web server, and all details and user content of it might be located on a database (in the server also). Revealed, for example, is currently being accessed by you in a server somewhere in Philippines/United States (because we’re using CloudFlare CDN). The processing mostly happens on the web server (your inputs, actions and responses) are processed there. After the processing, the web server will fetch the information you need back to your ISP first, then your ISP will deliver it to you.
That’s why ISPs know almost all your activities in the World Wide Web – they can monitor every single web pages you visit and even every actions you do inside that website. You can’t con them in case you did something terrible. So, the thing you might be concerned right now after knowing this is your privacy right? That’s why VPNs exist – to counter ISP and agencies tracking you as well as to give you anonymity on the web (but sometimes, VPNs also work to give you free internet access).
Web servers are also computers, too. Although they are more powerful than the regular computers, they also have limitations as well. If many users access the website/service at the same time, a server might not handle all the processing it has to do – resulting to crashes, downtimes and the worst, data loss.
Bandwidth, on the other hand, is something that doesn’t deplete at all. However, ISPs limits them in order to allocate it properly for the users. If one person maximizes the server’s bandwidth and power, others won’t be able to use them at all cost. That’s why ISPs need to limit them, in order to serve all the other customers.
But, it doesn’t mean we are or you should be agreeing at all with that limitations. As a paying customer, we should get what we are paying for – and to admit, the data allocated for each customers, especially in the Philippines, is very small – compared to other countries and the fact that the current websites and services we use needs more data than what is given.
For example, who the heck can watch more videos on Netflix given you have only 5GB of data to use for a month? They even promote it more than anything else, tho. Having televisions and smartphones that can run more than HD (1080p, 2K and 4K) are now surfacing out of the market – and going into the hands of the customers as fast as lightning. That 5GB won’t be good for more than 2 movies watched in Full HD (1080p) anyway – and that’s disappointing. After that, you can’t even download content that you like, and always worry about your data being swamped when you are doing something. Is that the enjoyable internet promised by the ISPs?
Even worse, all promos given by the telcos today have very small data allocation for a day – let’s just example surfing promos from the two telcos here (GOSURF and GIGASURF – both Php50 for 3 days). Both promos have 1GB open access plus 300MB/700MB to something like YouTube and other partner sites. If you’re going to calculate that for a month, you’ll end up having only 10GB/month (the ‘plus MB’ not included) for Php500, which in my opinion, is impractical compared to having dedicated internet plan. Another example is on most broadband and even DSL/Fiber plans, seeing the ridiculously small data allocation compared to other countries who offer the same. Note that a Fiber connection allows only a max of 100GB per month in the Philippines compared to other countries who give 1TB (sometimes even customers can’t consume in full). Down to DSL which has 50GB or more and to broadband which typically has 30GB or less for a MONTH. Think about it and compare it to other countries with the same policy at all – they’re still limited but to the extent that their customers don’t bother about it at all because they (ISPs) allocated more than enough.
Most of the time, many people use the same connection at home, either to do their work, or for entertainment. Given that someone is watching videos on YouTube, others on Netflix, and others were downloading or uploading something on their social channels – thinking about your data allocation being cramped is absolutely frustrating, and you can’t definitely enjoy what you are doing at all.
But other than limiting bandwidth and setting data caps for its customers, why do you think ISPs imposed these limits and why can’t they just give the limitless data usage to their customers?
One word is the answer for that: ABUSE. We all know that if people were so generous, they were usually abused. That also applies when ISPs became so generous when it comes to data consumption. They’ll end up having underpowered and insufficient infrastructures/servers as well as abusive customers who downloads more than what you can think you’ll be downloading for an entire month within a single day. Torrents, pirated software as well as movies and others will be consumed more than before, as well as downtimes because of servers crashing will occur more.
- But why? Why the ISPs just don’t upgrade their servers to add more power to be able to handle their customers?
Good question. Remember that infrastructure and web servers are costly – and if they do happen to upgrade, they might pass the expenses they had to customers, leading to more expensive than ever internet. I am also angry by the fact that they don’t invest well in their resources but they invest well when it comes to billing customers immediately. There’s even the thought that they suck at their services but when it comes to money from customers they’re fast as an eagle.
- Yes, I disagree on the ISPs providing ‘very small’ data allocation to everyone, especially here – but I agree on the fact that they put limitations on the data access at all, because people will abuse the power of internet and they will not learn if they aren’t limited.
Hope this resolves your lingering question about why ISPs can’t provide you unlimited internet.
However, this doesn’t justify the act of ISPs when it comes to their service that SUCKS big time. Poor maintenance of infrastructures, access points as well as poor technical / customer service support combined makes me frustrated and wanting to migrate immediately to a country where services like this are provided efficiently (like South Korea – which has the fastest internet and almost the country connected). I wish that ISPs in the country will be efficient as well to improve internet services in PH – if not unlimited, should be fast, reliable and affordable.
What are your thoughts about this? Share it with us on the comments below.