Internet data usage explained

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Ever asked yourself, 'how much data am I using?' And do you know how much data you'll use streaming movies, TV or music? What about normal web browsing? Find out in our handy guide...

What does 'internet data usage' mean?

Everything you do on the internet uses a certain amount of data. While web browsing and checking your email consume small amounts of data, playing online video games and streaming catch-up TV uses up a lot more. 

If you download or stream lots of video or live with several other people who all use the internet a lot, you definitely need a broadband package with unlimited usage. 

How much internet data are you using?

This handy table shows how much data some standard online activities use. Bear in mind that the figures are only rough estimates. Your actual usage is likely be around the amount we've cited, but could be more or less depending on a number of factors.

Activity

Data consumption

One hour web browsing

10 - 25MB

Download a document

2MB

One hour of Facebook

20MB

Download a music track

4MB

Stream 30 minutes of YouTube

175MB

Download a non-HD film

700MB-1GB

Download an HD film

4GB

Stream one hour of HD video

2GB

Stream one hour of music or radio

150MB

(Information taken from a number of providers, including BT, Virgin Media, and Vodafone)

'Unlimited broadband' packages explained

Unlimited data usage frees you from worrying about how much data you're using and from the fear that you'll run up extra charges for exceeding a usage limit. The good news is that pretty much all broadband deals now offer unlimited usage as standard, so you won't have pay extra to get it. 

Not too long ago, unlimited broadband deals would still have been subject to a fair usage limit. This meant that although you could use as much data as you like, if you were a exceptionally heavy user your provider could slow down your internet connection. 

However, these restrictions have since been lifted. Now, pretty much all unlimited broadband deals from the major providers will let you use as much as internet as you like and won't slow your speeds. 

Packages that offer no usage restrictions at all are known as 'truly unlimited' and are available from TalkTalk, Sky, BT and more. 

Not happy with your broadband? Use our speed test to check you're getting the speeds you're paying for. 

Which providers offer unlimited broadband?

BT (www.bt.com), Sky (www.sky.com), Virgin Media, (www.virginmedia.com), TalkTalk (www.talktalk.co.uk), and Plusnet (www.plus.net) offer broadband packages with unlimited downloads and no fair usage restrictions. 

Online exclusive M125 Fibre Broadband
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Online exclusive M250 Fibre Broadband
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Online exclusive Superfast Broadband
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Online exclusive Full Fibre 150
New customers only Offer ends 21/05/2024
Online exclusive Ultrafast Broadband
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Online exclusive Full Fibre 100
New customers only Offer ends 23/05/2024

*Average speeds are based on the download speeds of at least 50% of customers at peak time(8pm to 10pm). Speed can be affected by a range of technical and environmental factors. The speed you receive where you live may be lower than that listed above. You can check the estimated speed to your property prior to purchasing.

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