What is a broadband data allowance?
A broadband data allowance is the amount of internet data you
can use every month as part of your regular monthly plan. If you
end up going over this limit, your provider might slow down your
broadband speed or even add an extra charge to your bill.
Some deals come with unlimited data, which means you aren't
restricted by a data cap, and you can happily stream or download as
many tunes and videos as you like. Others might carry a more
stringent data cap - so it's always important to ask yourself
whether the deal you're opting for will give you a large enough
data allowance, before you sign up.
For a range of great broadband deals, including
some fantastic unlimited data packages, head over to our provider
How is broadband data measured?
Amounts of data are generally measured in bytes, not to be
confused with a bits which is used to measure broadband speed.
These are generally grouped together as kilobytes, around 1000
bytes, megabytes, around 1000 kilobytes, and gigabytes, around 1000
It's not overly important to know that off by heart, but it's
worth remembering that kilobytes (KB) are the smallest and
gigabytes (GB) the largest.
How much data does it take to do things online?
- Things that take up about 100KB of data: Downloading a web
page, reading an email, having an instant messenger chat,
downloading a document
- Things that take up about 2MB: Downloading a single photo
- Things that take up about 5MB: Downloading a single 4 minute
- Things that take up about 15MB: Watching a 5 minute YouTube
- Things that take up about 1GB: Streaming an hour of HD online
video, e.g. via Netflix or BBC iPlayer
- Things that take up between 2-5GB: Downloading a full HD 1080p
movie from iTunes
How much data do I need?
The amount of data you need will depend on what you use your
broadband service for and how many people are regularly using
This will usually be enough for anyone just using their
broadband to browse the web occasionally. While using Skype or
video streaming services regularly would certainly push you over
the limit, it's still possible to watch a few videos on YouTube
without risk of going over your allowance.
For a while this was the standard amount of data provided by
most broadband suppliers, and for many users this is still more
than enough. 40GB will allow you to browse the web, stream music or
catch up with your favourite soaps on iPlayer without having to
worry too much about hitting your cap.
Unlimited broadband is now more affordable than ever, with many
providers offering it as standard. Without a download cap you have
much more freedom to use the web as you please, allowing you to
download, surf and stream as much as you like.
It's also worth knowing if your
supplier has a fair use policy, which could slow down your
broadband connection during peak times. To find out more head to
our simple guide.
What online activities use up my broadband allowance the
- Streaming HD video content
- Downloading HD movies or other large files
- VoIP services such as video calling on Skype or Google
Is there anything I can do to increase my broadband data
Look closely at the terms and conditions that come with your
broadband package. It should state the maximum you can download on
a monthly basis. Also, for your convenience ISPs offer software
which calculates how much allowance you have left. If you're
finding that the amount of data included in your package is
consistently not sufficient you may be able to upgrade your package
by calling your broadband provider.
For the best unlimited broadband deals currently available in
your area, speak to one of our broadband advisors
on 0800 542 4704. We'll make sure you can get
the most out of your broadband service whilst still saving money