Many people don’t like limits being placed on them – for anything. That’s why broadband service providers have profited massively from promoting “unlimited” broadband packages, and charging top dollar for them. But the truth is that, for most users, a much smaller limited package is enough – and cheaper too.
Broadband is popular because it offers high speed access to the Internet. The growth of multimedia description like digital audio and video, as well as the explosion in streaming technology that allows online distribution of full-length movies has necessitated placing a limit on the amount that can be downloaded by a single broadband user account.
Unless your usage is expected to be intensive, you may not benefit as much from a higher limit as from higher speed access. So choose the limit that is adequate for your needs, and then invest in the highest speed broadband package that fits your budget within those limits.
How to determine your ideal broadband limit?
The download limit is the amount of data that you are permitted to transfer from the Internet to your computer or browsing device within a specified period of time. It is usually expressed in gigabytes per month. A 10 GB limit would allow you to download up to 10 gigabytes of data over a month. This means you can view around 10,000 Web pages, or download 200 songs every 30 days.
Download limits vary by broadband service provider and by plan or package. The typical range is 1 to 40 GB per month. A very few packages are truly unlimited, but are priced accordingly.
To begin your estimate of your ideal broadband limit, take a close look at your typical usage patterns, as well as those of everyone in the house who will be sharing the connection. A rough analysis based on a week’s use should be enough to give you a fair estimate of your required limit.
Are you a light user?
Light broadband users need 1 to 10 GB per month. If all you do online is surf the Web casually for a few hours, download the occasional song, or send and receive email and network with friends on Facebook, this limit is sufficient. You do not need to pay more for a higher limit plan that is intended for users who watch video or stream music over the Internet.
A word of caution is in order. Because low limit plans are priced inexpensively, broadband service providers are rather strict about enforcing violations of these limits. You may be charged heavily for any extra usage that goes beyond the 10 GB limit. So if you notice this happening on a regular basis, you might consider upgrading to a higher plan.
Are you a medium user?
When you see your download limits cross the 10 GB per month level, you know you’re a medium level user. It may be the movie you downloaded. Or that favorite song you just can’t help listening to over and over again. Or those video tutorials you downloaded from the virtual university you’ve registered at.
Whatever the reason, your usage will be economical when you shift to a suitable plan that will not penalize you for crossing your broadband limits. With a plan that offers 10 to 20 GB downloads, you’re safe as long as you don’t exceed 150,000 web pages a month, or download over 3,000 songs (that’s nearly 300 full albums!). Cross this limit, and you’re officially a ‘heavy user’.
Are you a heavy broadband user?
At a level of 20 to 40 GB per month, you’re a heavy user, and can rationally consider getting an “unlimited” account to allow for the occasional splurge. Because you are likely to be watching movies online frequently, or playing interactive online games, or transferring huge data files on a regular basis, the added cost of an unlimited plan is well worth paying.
No matter which plan you choose, be sure that it is ideal for your needs. While more expensive plans are wasteful for light users, they are a great deal once your broadband Internet uses crossed a certain threshold.
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