Despite more than 40 percent of Brits paying for an “unlimited” broadband package, few people are taking full advantage of the service they're paying for - with just 9 percent downloading between 21GB and 40GB a month.
All the talk of fibre optic broadband may have got the UK hungering after faster speeds and unlimited downloads but relatively few people actually need such a service.
So would you be better off downgrading your connection and saving some cash at the same time?
The vast majority of broadband users simply don’t know how much they download each month, while 21 percent say they use between just 2GB and 10GB a month - showing that they are frittering away money on an unsuitable package, according to new research from Broadbandchoices.co.uk.
Michael Phillips, product director at Broadbandchoices.co.uk, advises consumers to either switch or start making the most of their package.
“What these stats highlight is the significant disparity between what broadband customers actually need and what they are paying for,” he says.
“While the way we use the internet has changed dramatically over the last few years with the launch of online TV and gaming services, the main bulk of customers still use their connection simply for the basics - emailing, shopping, banking and surfing.
“These tasks really don’t require a high level package with an unlimited download allowance.”
So how do you know if you're on the right broadband package? The first thing you need to work out is how much data you download each month. If you're a heavy user, downloading more than 20GB a month, then a high-end package can be justified. But if you download a lot less than you expected, you might be able to save money by downgrading your package.
Use a broadband download monitor to find out how much data you use, but bear in mind that some activities like online gaming might not be included.
Do you need a superfast package?
You might think that you need the fastest package on the market - and you might be right.
If you spend a lot of time online or have a large family that all want to use the internet at the same time, then Virgin Media’s 50Mbits/sec broadband, or BT’s new 40Mbits/sec Infinity packages could really make a difference.
But if you’re only using the internet for day-to-day basics, and are downloading little data every month, you could get online from as little as £6.49 a month - potentially saving you hundreds of pounds if you switch.
Phillips’ message for consumers? “Try to make the most of your broadband by really experiencing the internet. It keeps you connected, saves you cash and lets you catch-up on everything from TV shows and movies to the latest news as it happens.”