Unlimited broadband

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Guide to unlimited broadband

Read more about unlimited broadband, why it isn't necessarily what it says on the tin and why 'truly unlimited' broadband may be the right service for your needs.

Key points

  • Unlimited broadband has no cap on the amount of data you can use
  • Providers could still implement a traffic management system
  • Truly unlimited broadband packages won't prioritise traffic

Unlimited broadband means being able to use the internet as much as you like with no restrictions or added charges - at least, that's what you'd be forgiven for assuming.

But unlimited broadband packages aren't necessarily what they say on the tin - broadband providers now offer both unlimited and truly unlimited broadband, and there are important differences between the two.

What is unlimited broadband?

Unlimited broadband is a broadband package that won't cap your internet usage. It used to be quite common to find a fair usage policy or usage cap hidden among the terms and conditions, however this is in the minority now.

Image of a man looking at a laptop

Unlimited broadband deals are likely to enforce a traffic management policy though. Such policies limit the amount you can download at certain times of the day or decrease your download speed during peak hours.

These restrictions are designed to provide users with a better service. Sharing a broadband connection through a telephone exchange means that your connection is affected by fellow users, and this is why your connection is slower in the evening, when more people are online.

Providers who implement traffic management policies will prioritise certain types of online traffic, so some users suffer because of their neighbours' internet habits.

But the majority of users benefit from these policies, which aim to deliver a good experience to all rather than just to those who use the internet heavily.

While this may work well for the average internet user, if you're constantly downloading and streaming, or you work from home, then truly unlimited broadband may be worth considering.

Truly unlimited broadband

These are broadband packages with no usage caps, no fair usage policy and no network-wide traffic management.

This means that if you're an avid online gamer or are constantly downloading music, TV and films, you'll never be penalised or charged.

Do I need truly unlimited broadband?

If you're constantly online, work from home or are part of a large household who are all likely to use the internet a significant amount, then a truly unlimited package could be the answer.

Think about your broadband usage and your current broadband speed - unlimited broadband won't mean that you'll be exempt from the effects of peak-time usage, but you won't be slowed down by your provider.

If you need a fast broadband connection as well as an unlimited download allowance, you may want to look into fibre optic broadband.

Fibre optic offers the fastest broadband connection available, but you'll need to check that it's available in your area - simply enter Gocompare.com's quote process, type in your postcode and see what's available.

Who offers truly unlimited broadband?

If you compare broadband providers, you'll see that several providers now offer truly unlimited packages.

You can expect truly unlimited broadband to cost a little more, but remember that the right deal isn't necessarily the cheapest.

If you're regularly exceeding your download limit, paying out for unlimited data could mean making a saving in the long term.

By Emily Bater