Playing online games and streaming music from Spotify uses a lot less data than you might think. But those binge-watching 4K Netflix and YouTube cat videos can easily find their data allowance reached if they don't have an unlimited broadband package. Below is our broadband usage calculator. It's designed to give you an idea of your data usage needs in an average month.
To get your broadband usage estimation, simply answer the twelve questions below. Sliding the switch to the right will adjust the number at the end of the bar. This bandwidth checker is also tablet friendly, simply use a finger to drag the switch or double tap to reset. You can also use the left and right arrows on a keyboard to slide the switch.
How many hours do you spend browsing the internet for e.g. shopping, news, blogging in an average day?
How many emails do you send and receive in an average day?
How many hours of music / podcasts do you stream per day? This calculation is based on data tests run on standard Spotify quality - 96kps.
How many hours of music do you stream at high quality per day? This calculation is based on data tests run on (Apple Music - Standard quality 256kps).
How many hours of online gaming would you do in an average day?
How many hours of TV do you stream in standard definition (SD) per week? This calculation is based on data tests run on BBC iPlayer in SD. Use this setting for Netflix SD, All4, iTV Hub and My5. iPlayer streaming guide
How many hours of TV do you stream in High definition (HD) per week? This calculation is based on data tests run on Netflix streaming in HD. TV streaming guide
How many hours of TV do you stream in (4k) Ultrahigh definition per week? This calculation is based on data tests run on Netflix streaming in 4K. YouTube streaming in 4K has similar usage. TV streaming guide
How many films do you download per week (not including any that are 4K Ultrahigh definition)?
How many hours of Voip phone calls from apps like: Facetime audio, Skype voice only and Zoom audio only do you make per day?
How many hours of video calls from apps like: Facetime, Skype Video calls and Zoom do you make per week?
How many App downloads / updates do you do per week? App sizes vary considerably, but our average is taken from over 30 leading apps which include:
Uber 270Mb, Gmail 262Mb, CandyCrush 251Mb, TikTok 220Mb, Mindcraft 219Mb, YouTube 200Mb, My FitnessPal 146Mb, Roblox 136Mb, Spotify 120Mb, Google Maps 170Mb, Amazon 113Mb, WhatsApp 77Mb, BBC iPlayer 73Mb, Netflix 70Mb, Zoom 70Mb, BBC News 51Mb, Shazam 36Mb and NHS 12Mb
BBC iPlayer has a high definition (HD) option, encoding in at least a 1280x720 / 720p resolution. Other UK TV streaming services like: iTV Hub, All4 and My5 stream in standard definition only. Streaming or downloading a 30 minute program with BBC iPlayer will use approximately 1.20Gb of data in HD. The same program in standard definition (SD) will use around 680Mb. Settings within the app will allow you to download at the most appropriate rate. HD is only advised if you are on an unlimited broadband package. You'll need a connection speed of at least 5Mbps to watch BBC iPlayer in HD uninterrupted, or 1.5Mbps for SD. Check if your internet speed is fast enough for HD TV.
Our broadband usage calculator can calculate your Netflix usage requirement. Netflix uses about 700Mb of data per hour when streaming in SD, and up to 3Gb per hour if streaming in HD. Streaming in 4K will consume up to 7Gb per hour. Selecting the 'Auto' setting under 'Data Usage' in your Netflix account, will adjust your picture resolution to the highest quality possible - based on your current internet speed. This is only advisable if you're on an unlimited broadband package.
High Definition (HD): 720p resolution (1,280 x 720 - approximately 1 million pixels)
Full HD: 1080p resolution (1,920 x 1,080 - approximately 2 million pixels)
Ultra HD: 4K resolution (3,840 x 2,160 - approximately 8 million pixels)
If you want to stream in HD or 4K and aren't sure if your internet connection is up to it, you can check your broadband speed using our broadband speed tester.
Some internet service providers (ISP) apply a fair usage policy. By agreeing to your broadband contract you agree to use your connection reasonably. The small print might state 'you mustn't use it beyond what can be reasonably expected of someone using the service for domestic purposes'. So, if you're downloading ridiculously high levels of data month after month from sites like BitTorrent, or uploading large data backups to cloud storage, then your ISP may investigate it. For most users this is very unlikely to be an issue, even if you're a heavy user or a Netflix binge-watcher. If you're concerned about your data usage, you could switch to a provider with a policy package called 'Truly unlimited'. Currently; BT, Plusnet, Sky & TalkTalk offer "Truly unlimited" broadband with no traffic management monitoring.
Smartphone data usage is basically the amount of data that you use during one billing cycle. Your smartphone data is used whenever you use your phone's internet connection to perform any task. Data charges vary depending on your mobile phone tariff. Using your phone abroad on a roaming network can be very expensive, unless your network provider lets you use your local mobile data allowance in the country you've travelled to.
A data cap or data allowance is a specific amount of data which you can use during one billing cycle, with penalties for exceeding the limit. Exceeding your data cap is likely to automatically trigger a reduction in speed, or the suspension of your account services. A data cap/limit is more typical of mobile phone tariffs, but can also apply to home broadband packages if you have not opted for an unlimited broadband plan. Broadband deals are either advertised as 'unlimited usage' or state a specific amount of data that you can use each month i.e 20Gb per month. You can use our broadband calculator above to estimate your monthly usage.
Our broadband usage calculator should be used as a guide only. Your broadband usage may vary from the figure shown. All data entered is anonymous, not stored and solely used for the purpose of the calculation.
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