Internet data usage explained

Download icon

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.

ActivityData consumption
One hour web browsing10 - 25MB
Download a document2MB
One hour of Facebook20MB
Download a music track4MB
Stream 30 minutes of YouTube175MB
Download a non-HD film700MB-1GB
Download an HD film4GB
Stream one hour of HD video2GB
Stream one hour of music or radio150MB

(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 Superfast 2
New customers only Offer ends 25/08/2022
New customers only
New customers only
Online exclusive Bigger bundle + Sports
New customers only Offer ends 07/08/2022
Online exclusive Unlimited Fibre Plus
New customers only Offer ends 11/08/2022
Online exclusive Superfast 100
New customers only Offer ends 25/08/2022

*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.

  • Broadband deals for the elderly

  • Broadband and moving home in 2022

  • BT vs Virgin Media broadband: Which is best?

  • Compare broadband without a landline

  • TalkTalk broadband review

  • Boost your internet and Wi-Fi: Top tips for faster broadband

  • Broadband deals for the elderly

  • Broadband and moving home in 2022

  • Can I get fibre optic broadband in my area?

  • Your broadband consumer rights

  • Broadband contracts: The small print

  • How to set up a home office in 5 steps

Compare broadband, TV & landline deals

Exclamation In Circle