My broadband contract with BT has expired and I want to save money by switching to a cheaper package. Will a Plusnet deal with a 10GB download limit be enough? Is that normal home usage?
Heidi Jefferson, via email
Our expert Dominic says...
Switching to a cheap broadband package with a monthly download allowance can be a great way of saving money on your household bills.
But before you decide to snub unlimited broadband altogether, you should carefully consider your home broadband usage as repeatedly exceeding your monthly limit could work out more costly in the long run.
Plusnet broadband with a 10GB monthly download allowance would probably be ideal for a household that doesn't rely on the internet too heavily day to day.
If you only use your broadband for browsing the web, checking emails and occasional downloads or streaming, it should be more than enough. For larger households with lots of devices, unlimited broadband is the way to go.
Compare unlimited broadband deals
|Plusnet Unlimited + Weekend||Broadband Unlimited + Talk Weekends (Existing Sky TV Customers)||Unlimited Broadband + Weekend Calls|
|Monthly cost £2.50 (for 12 months) 1st year cost: £35.99||Monthly cost £3.75 (for 12 months) 1st year cost: £51.95||Monthly cost £8.00 (for 12 months) 1st year cost: £102.95|
|Up To 16 Mb||Up To 17 Mb||Up To 17 Mb|
|Weekend calls inc.||Weekend calls inc.||Weekend calls inc.|
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How much data do I need?
The answer to this question will depend on the size of your household and what you use the internet for. You need a broadband package that supports your usage.
Nowadays, in the increasingly digital modern home, there are multiple devices all connecting wirelessly at the same time - especially if you have children with smartphones, tablets, game consoles and laptops.
Everything you do online consumes an amount of data, although there are certain types of activity that use far more data than others. Downloading large files and streaming video are the main ones to bear in mind.
For example, watching a 30-minute programme on BBC iPlayer will use up as much as 175MB of data. Even streaming a half-hour of radio is likely to take around 30Mb.
So you can easily see how your usage will add up. If you regularly stream TV shows or movies online it's likely that you're using a lot more than 10GB per month.
Again, if there are several people using the broadband in your household, consumption will quickly multiply and you'll probably be better off with unlimited broadband.
Big downloaders and large households
Even if you're not a big downloader yourself, you need to think about the internet habits of other people living in your household.
Do you have kids or teenagers using computers, smartphones or tablets? Do they watch movies and TV online, and laughing at hilarious videos on YouTube?
If you're part of a big family - especially one with older children, who tend to spend most of their lives on the internet - it's easy to exceed a monthly download allowance.
When you go over your limit you may have to pay extra in order to keep using your broadband, until the next month when your allowance is reinstated.