If you're a large family, live in shared student accommodation or live alone but download a lot of movies and play online games, you need a package with unlimited usage and fast speeds. Here's what you need to know.
How do I know if I'm a heavy user?
If you download a lot of movies, play online games or you're in a family home with a couple of teenagers, you're likely to be a heavy user.
Here's a closer look at 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, while streaming HD content for the same time will use 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 music and movies 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 movie.
- 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. So 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's the best broadband package for heavy users?
To ensure you can do what you want to do online speedily and smoothly, a fibre optic broadband connection is your best bet. We suggest you take a look at BT Fibre or fibre from Plusnet or Sky. Or it it's available at your address, Virgin Media's cable broadband service.
Fibre and cable broadband are also more reliable than standard broadband, and get you speeds that are much closer to what providers advertise.
Which providers offer unlimited download packages?
Any provider that offers fast broadband with unlimited downloads is a good choice for a heavy-use household. Providers with suitable packages include:
- BT - Fibre optic BT Superfast Fibre (formerly BT Infinity) broadband is fast and reliable
- Gigaclear - Specialises in fibre optic broadband at superfast speeds
- Plusnet - Offers unlimited fibre optic packages at good prices
- Sky - Look out for its unlimited fibre deals
- TalkTalk - Budget broadband that doesn't compromise on speed
- Virgin Media - All its broadband packages offer unlimited downloads and very fast speeds, going up to an incredible 350Mbps
- Vodafone - Fibre broadband comes 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.