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What is Usage?

'Usage’ is also known as ‘useage’, ‘transfer’, ‘data’, ‘bandwidth’, ‘bandwidth usage’, the terminology varies from one market to the other, and one network to the other. The concept is the same, the term is referring to ‘how much’ internet bandwidth you use, in a one calendar month period. (At least with us it is a calendar month, other companies may use a different 30 day period). It is usually expressed in Giga Bytes (GB). It is the same concept as ‘data’ on your cell phone.

How to Check My Monthly Usage

Please click here to ask us to check your monthly usage. We will usually reply within 24 hours. You may ask as often as you wish.

How much Usage Do I need?

People often ask, how much ‘usage’, ‘usage’, ‘transfer’, ‘data’, ‘bandwidth’, or ‘bandwidth usage’ do I need? It depends on what you and your family members in your home, plan to do online.

The safest best is to go with an ‘unlimited plan’, then you do not need to worry about how much usage you use each month. Otherwise it is your responsibility to track how much you are using and stay within your monthly limit, or ask to change to a high plan.

If you are switching to us from another provider, check to see how much you have been using with them, and that should give you a good idea how much you will need from us.

‘Streaming’ which is the watching of movies and TV shoes online, is a huge user of usage. One hour of movies on Netflix can easily be 1 GB of bandwidth usage. So if you plan to watch 40 hours of movies a month on Netflix, you would need at least 40 GB of usage, because you will be doing other things online as well, like checking e-mail, and surfing the web.

Now you can go into your Netflix account, on the Netflix website and lower your ‘streaming settings’ to use less data, but that is a personal choice. Then, for example, you might get three hours of movies for 1 GB of usage. Likewise you can change your Netflix settings so shows do not ‘auotoplay’ even if nobody is watching them, otherwise you migth find Netflix paying one episode after another of a series you just watched one episode of, and just left it sunning, hour after hour, GB after GB. It is always a good idea to ‘exit Netflix’ when you are done watching it. (The above is just an example of Netflix usage, please go to the Netflix site to get their most accurate and up to date info.)

Netflix assumes that you have unlimited data usage, and that you want the highest picture and sound quality possible on your hardware, which means it will default to 1 GB per hour of usage, unless you change your settings from inside your Netflix account.

By the way, if you use a paid ‘virtual private network’ (VPN) service, your internet connection may be much slower, as all of your web traffic now has to route though another part of the world. (The concept is kind of like flying from Vancouver to Halifax by way of Hong Kong, Rome, Moscow, and Kabul, rather than by a direct route.) Some people use VPNs to try to hide where they are (their IP address), or to try and make Netflix think that they are in the USA so that they will have more TV and movies choices on Netflix.

If you plan to download movies, or upload movies, or videos, etc, those also use a great deal of bandwidth. (Please also be sure that you do not violate any copyrights in doing so, and yes someone someplace on the internet will know if you do (by your IP address), and they might come back to us, and then on to you with a lawsuit or criminal charges, so please don’t say we don’t warn you in advance.) If you use an ‘Android box’ and Kodi software to stream movies etc online, you might be putting yourself in that situation. Please educate yourself before using such devices, so you are making an informed decision.

How is my usage tracked?

First of all most people assume that everything they do on the internet is ‘anonymous’, which is not true. For example Google and many companies track what you do online, often with your permission, whether you realise it or not. (Check the Privacy settings on your Windows software, or phone, and your web browser, to see what we mean.) They usually do this to better target paid ads at you., on behalf of advertisers. Another example is other companies that (after the fact) track illegal downloads of movies and TV shows, then go after the people who illegally downloaded them, and take them to court.

Generally speaking we track the quantity (the ‘how much’) of your internet usage by your ‘internet protocol (IP) address. Your IP address is usually assigned to your modem by the network, when it connects to the network. Every time you re-start your modem, it will usually be assigned a different IP. That assignment is called a ‘dynamic IP’, as it can change often, as opposed to a ‘fixed’ IP which is always the same. No worries we keep track of which modem used which IP when, and how much usage the used it for. The exception is on the Shaw network, where (for technical reasons) we are not able to see usage data, which is why all of the plans we offer on the Shaw network are ‘unlimited’. (That is not to say that in exceptional circumstances, such as police investigation, that data might not be available, as it just might be.)

Do you keep a record of the sites I visit?

Generally speaking no, we do not track which websites you visit, or what you do online. We have no interested in what you do online, (but please do keep it legal. ☺)

The first exception (and we are not talking about you trying to login to the 'Client Area' of the website, where you are allowed to be) is if you try to hack into our servers or the websites, what is called a ‘brute force attack’, then we would know right away as we have defensive software that tracks such attempts by IP address from the destination end you are trying to login into, backwards to the customer modem, and immediately notifies us by e-mail, with a written record of what just occurred, no matter what network you used, even I it was not from one we use. The other exception is in the event of an active police investigation, internet service provider (ISP) security department investigation, or security services investigation, and then such tracking might occur for their purposes. Those exceptions are extremely rare, and not something the average person need worry about.)

Will you tell me when I exceed my usage?

Generally speaking, no we won’t. It is not that we don’t want to; it is more a matter of our computer systems are not set-up that way, to do that. We are using other company owned networks to deliver internet plans, which adds a lot of complication to things, that the customers do not see. We are however able to lookup your internet usage on request on a per customer basis. As we are not yet able to provide a way for you to check it yourself, or to provide an on screen warning when you reach your monthly limit, we do provide a way for you to ask what your usage is. Please allow 24 hours for a reply by email.

So for example (and some might say this is just an extreme example to illustrate a point) if you sign up with us for an internet plan with 40 GB of monthly usage, and you use 600 GB of usage that calendar month, your monthly overage would be:

600 – 40 = 560 GB

If your plan has an overage charge rate of $2/GB, then it would be:

560 GB X $2/GB = $1,120 in overage charges for that month.

Who you might ask watches 600 hours of Netflix a month? Well, 600 hours divided by 30 days would be 20 hours a day. We wonder how they manage it as well, but some customers do use 600 GB of bandwidth usage data per month, though most use less than that. Usually they know they will be using a lot of bandwidth usage every month, and have signed up for an ‘unlimited’ usage plan, so they don’t need to worry about overage charges.

Something customers may not realise is that while we retail ‘unlimited’ plans, on the wholesale end of things, over most networks that we make use of, we do not get ‘unlimited’ rates, rather we have to pay per GB for every single GB of data that all of our customers use. ☹