Do You Really Need Unlimited Broadband?

Having unlimited broadband access sounds great. Watch as many YouTube videos as you want, spend hours viewing TV programmes that you missed with BBC iPlayer and even download movies to your hearts content from sites like the excellent LoveFilm.

Yep, unlimited broadband sounds attractive and that’s why we’re seeing more ISP’s offering that sort of product and for some great prices too.

Take for example the Sky unlimited broadband package that you can buy for £15 per month if you are not also subscribing to their satellite TV (only £10 per month if you are a Sky TV customer).

I haven’t used Sky Broadband, so I don’t know how good it is in practice, however on the face of it, it sounds seriously good value for money.

But do we really need endless amounts of broadband bandwidth? And remember that fair usage policies always apply to stop you being too reckless and ruining the browsing experiences of everyone else.

You have to be careful with your bandwidth usage, of course, particularly if you want to watch most of the World Cup over the Internet. Watching one football match in HD will use about 2.4Gb. So if you watch, say 10 matches a month, then you are only using 24Gb. 20 matches a month? That adds up to about 50Gb.

What if you are a movie buff and want to watch films online? LoveFilm say that “an average streaming title will transfer approximately 500MB of data for a 90 minute film”. Lets go mad and watch 20 movies online a month as well as our 20 football matches (that’s a huge amount of TV by the way).

20 films uses 10 Gb, 20 high def football matches uses 50 Gb so that is only 60Gb a month for all that viewing!

Just browsing the Internet hardly uses any bandwidth but lets say that we do a lot of surfing the web and use another 10Gb. Our total month bandwidth is still only 70Gb in our example.

Very few people, even those working from home, will uses anything like 70Gb of bandwidth a month so do we really need “unlimited bandwidth”?.

Of course the ISPs know that we don’t, but it makes a great marketing message, as long as the fair usage policies are not too restrictive. If a company is willing to give you “unlimited” bandwidth for £15 per month then why not go for the deal, although you will almost certainly find that your actual usage over a month is surprisingly low.

What you actually want is a bit more bandwidth than you need and the fastest broadband speeds possible, a very reliable connection and great technical support.


  1. Stephen Peters 6th September 2012
  2. Ruby Clifton 27th July 2010

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