Best Broadband for Heavy Users

Heavy internet users are those that download more data than average. Heavy users regularly use file-sharing or peer-to-peer programs, download or stream videos and play games online. If you download large volumes of data, you need a broadband package that can support these habits without accruing overage charges for using more data than you’re allowed. This guide will help you determine if you’re a heavy user and, if so, what type of broadband package you need to meet your needs.

How Do I Know If I’m a Heavy User?
Heavy users often upload and download files on file-sharing networks. File-sharing sites and peer-to-peer networks include BitTorrent, LimeWire, Shareaza, Kazaa and similar programs. Even if you don’t participate in sharing files regularly, you may still be a heavy user. Do you download movies or TV shows? This activity can use up to 4GB of data for a single movie. Even streaming videos uses up to 2GB; the amount of data depends on the quality of the video being streamed or downloaded. Finally, if you participate in online gaming, you are probably a heavy user. The games themselves may not use much data, but downloading them is certainly a data-heavy activity. If you participate in two or more of these activities, you are a heavy user. As a heavy user, you need a broadband connection with fast speeds and unlimited downloads.

Why is Speed Important?
Downloading files, playing games and streaming video are best done over a fast connection; otherwise, you’ll be sitting at the computer all day waiting for files and sites to load. Fibre optic connections provide the fastest speeds, offering between 16Mb and 120Mb depending on the provider. Fibre optic connections are also more reliable than broadband provided through the phone lines. BT, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin all have fibre optic packages, but they’re not available in all areas. Check your postcode on the provider’s site to see if fibre optic is available for you.

Are There Different Types of Unlimited Packages?
Although all major providers offer unlimited packages, there are actually two different types of unlimited broadband service. Truly unlimited packages allow you to download as much as you want, at any time, with no restrictions. These packages are not subject to fair use policies, and the provider does not manage traffic. Sky and BT offer truly unlimited packages. If speed and accessibility at all times matter to you, you should invest in a truly unlimited package. Large families with multiple devices may also want to consider truly unlimited broadband, so they don’t have to worry about monitoring data usage for every family member.

Providers that offer other unlimited packages place restrictions on what they label as unlimited service. These packages are subject to traffic management or fair use policies, both of which slow or restrict access if you download too much, especially during peak hours. Both Plusnet and Virgin Media offer unlimited packages that are subject to traffic management during peak periods. Virgin moderates the speeds of heavy users who use peer-to-peer applications during peak times. These peak times are defined as between 5 pm and midnight on weekdays and between midday and midnight on weekends.

What Are My Options for Truly Unlimited Packages?
If you have determined that you need a truly unlimited broadband connection, your provider options are Sky or BT. Each of them offers a couple of different packages. Sky has a Broadband Unlimited package with speeds up to 14Mb and the Sky Fibre Unlimited package with speeds up to 38Mb. BT offers the BT Unlimited package with 16 Mb speeds and BT Infinity packages with 38Mb and 76Mb speeds. Prices for truly unlimited packages from Sky and BT cost between £7.50 and £26 per month.

Heavy users should research which providers offer service in their area and compare packages from these providers in order to get the best price. Compare download speeds, prices and whether the packages are truly unlimited or not. Either of these options is acceptable if you don’t share a lot of files. If you don’t want your connection to be slowed or restricted during peak times for peer-to-peer applications, stick to a truly unlimited package. Though these packages are a bit more expensive, they are still quite affordable.

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