If you or your family regularly download large volumes of data, you need a package with a large or unlimited download limit. On this page, we have everything you need to know about choosing a package, as well as how to save money in the process
Let's look at what broadband providers can offer heavy users, and the packages that likely suit their needs…
How do I know if I'm a heavy user?
Everything you do online - from checking email, to watching YouTube - requires you to download data, but some activities are more data intensive than others.
Everybody's usage will be different, but as a general guide, here are some activities that are likely to require you to download a significant amount:
- Streaming TV and movies - streaming video uses less data than downloading, but still uses a lot. An hour of streamed standard video might use 250MB and HD 2GB. That's approximate - the actual data used will vary from service to service, but if you watch a lot of catch-up TV or rent a lot of movies, you'll use a significant amount of data.
- File-sharing - Many people use file sharing services to download files from the internet. The size of a shared file can vary greatly - it could be 3MB or it could be 3GB - but if you regularly use these services to download large amounts, you're likely to be a heavy user.
- Downloading TV and movies - if you buy or rent movies online, you may be given the option to download them. This requires you to download a fair amount - around 700MB for a standard definition film, and 4GB for a high-definition flick.
- Gaming - playing games online doesn't actually use all that much data, but with today's consoles that's only half the story. Many people now buy games and additional content online, which typically requires a lot of data - in other words, if you want to get the most out of your console or PC expect to do a lot of downloading.
If you are a heavy downloader, then there are two things you need from your broadband package - fast speeds, and generous - preferably unlimited - download limits.
What is the best broadband package for heavy users?
To avoid waiting for files to download and buffering, fibre optic broadband is the fastest type of connection you can get, with average speeds ranging between 35MB and 1Gb depending on the package and provider.
It's more reliable than traditional broadband through the phone line, and offers speeds much closer to what the providers advertise than you'd see with older copper wire connections.
Which providers offer unlimited download packages?
Any provider that offers fast broadband with unlimited downloads will work for a heavy-use household. Providers with suitable packages include:
- BT - fibre optic BT Superfast Fibre (formerly BT Infinity) broadband will do the job
- Gigaclear - specialises in fibre optic broadband at superfast speeds
- Plusnet - offers unlimited fibre optic packages at low costs
- Sky - look out for its unlimited fibre deals
- TalkTalk - perfect for budget broadband that doesn't compromise on speed
- Virgin Media - all of its broadband packages are fibre optic with unlimited downloads and very fast speeds, going up to an incredible 350Mb
- Vodafone - its fibre broadband comes complete with a minimum speed guarantee
Just enter your postcode in the box below and we'll show you what else you can get in your area.