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Unlimited broadband deals
Unlimited broadband can offer you the freedom to stream and download TV, movies, music and apps, and play games online without having to worry about data limits.
Ofcom has worked out that 453GB of data are used per UK broadband connection every month. But are you an average user and is an unlimited deal really unlimited? Read our guide to find out.
What is unlimited broadband?
Unlimited broadband is a broadband package that allows you to use as much data as you want, while paying a set monthly fee. So you don’t have to worry about doing too much browsing, streaming, downloading, gaming or shopping online – not from a data point of view anyway.
Almost all home broadband deals are unlimited these days. At one time it was more common to get packages with a broadband download allowance that limited the amount of data you could use each month without paying an extra charge, but that’s no longer the case.
Why do I need unlimited broadband?
Most of us go online every day, whether we’re working from home, streaming a film or playing games with friends. The more we use the internet, the more data it gobbles up. Unlimited broadband is becoming essential for life in the modern world, and you’ll probably be glad of it if:
- You’re a family of internet users – everyone’s online all the time, using various laptops, phones and tablets
- You stream TV and movies on Netflix or Amazon, for example
- You live in a shared house and everyone uses the internet
- You like to watch catch-up TV
- You download video games and play them online with friends
- You use a music streaming service such as Spotify
- You have an internet-connected smart TV.
How much data do I use?
We’ve listed a few things you might do online, along with how much data they typically use. If you’re a regular user of data-heavy activities, you’ll probably benefit from unlimited broadband.
|2hr high-definition film||4.2 GB|
|2hr standard-definition film||1.9GB|
|1hr online catch-up TV||644MB|
|1hr of video streaming||429MB|
|Music – one album, 10 tracks||80MB|
|1hr online gaming||43MB|
Which providers offer unlimited broadband?
Almost all providers in the UK now offer unlimited broadband deals. In fact, it’s probably harder to find one with a data limit. Even the cheapest standard broadband deals from low-cost providers like Plusnet, Onestream and TalkTalk are unlimited. It’s also worth noting that all broadband deals available through Compare the Market offer unlimited data.
What is truly unlimited broadband?
Truly unlimited broadband is when your provider allows you to download whatever you want and browse the internet to your heart’s content, at the highest possible speeds and without any limitations.
What you may not be aware of is that some ‘unlimited’ broadband packages have a traffic management policy. This may limit the amount you can download at certain times of the day, or deliberately slow your download speed during peak hours (usually outlined in your contract).
Do I need truly unlimited broadband?
That will depend on your internet habits. If you only use the internet every now and again to catch a show on Netflix or to browse social media, then purposely seeking out a truly unlimited broadband deal probably isn’t necessary. But if you spend a lot of time online downloading music or playing games, you work from home or you have a large family, it’s worthwhile. In any case, most broadband packages are truly unlimited now anyway, so it’s not something you really need to worry about. What’s more important is the download speeds you get.
What download speeds can I get with unlimited broadband?
That depends on the type of connection offered by your provider. ADSL connections are generally the slowest and offer a maximum download speed of 24Mbps (megabits per second). Superfast fibre connections offer download speeds of up to 80Mbps, and are available to most households in the UK. The latest cable and full fibre connections are capable of delivering lightning-quick download speeds of up to 10Gbps (gigabits per second). These aren’t yet widely available in the UK though.Find out more about broadband speeds
How much does unlimited broadband cost?
The amount you pay for unlimited broadband will vary from provider to provider, and will also depend on the type of connection you have, as well as the download speeds offered.
Which providers offer the cheapest unlimited broadband?
Generally, Onestream, TalkTalk, Shell Energy and Plusnet are considered to be low-cost providers of unlimited broadband. But unlimited broadband deals can vary drastically depending on where you live and the value of introductory offers you can get, so always be sure to compare deals before snapping up an offer.
Who is the best unlimited broadband provider?
It’s not possible to say which unlimited broadband provider in the UK is the best, as it depends on what you’re looking for. But it’s worth knowing the following:
- Plusnet picked up awards for best customer service, value and overall performance at the Expert Reviews Best Broadband Awards 2022, as voted for by consumers
- Virgin Media offers the fastest average download speeds, although not all households have access to them.
- Sky and EE are the broadband providers to generate the lowest number of complaints, according to a 2021 survey conducted by Ofcom.
Compare unlimited broadband deals
Looking for a good unlimited broadband deal to suit your needs? We can help you compare. Whether you’re in search of bundle packages or truly unlimited broadband, we’ll help you compare costs so that you know you’re getting a great price.
Frequently asked questions
Can I get unlimited broadband without a landline?
Yes, you can. An increasing number of providers in the UK are beginning to offer unlimited broadband without a landline installed. They include Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, EE and Shell Energy.
Bear in mind that unlimited broadband without a landline won’t necessarily save you any money though.
What’s a fair usage policy?
A package described as unlimited might still have restrictions on how much you’re allowed to download each month, before the provider slows down your connection or takes other measures.
These fair usage policies are less common nowadays, and in any case they’re nothing to worry about for most users as the data limits are set very high. But if you’re a heavy internet user or you’re paying for fibre speeds and don’t expect them to slow down, it’s something to be aware of.
Can I get an unlimited broadband social tariff?
Social tariffs are discounted broadband packages reserved for eligible households who might be struggling to afford their internet service. Some providers, including BT, Hyperoptic and Community Fibre, offer bespoke unlimited deals that are only available to customers who receive certain government benefits, including Universal Credit. These discounted deals are available to an estimated 4.2 million households across the country who are on benefits. You’ll need to prove you’re eligible for these tariffs before you sign up. You’ll usually be able to do this by providing your national insurance number but check each provider’s details to be sure.
How do I switch to a new unlimited broadband deal?
Switching unlimited broadband should be a straightforward process, and you can choose a date for your new broadband to ‘go live’. In most cases, your new provider will arrange the transfer and send you a new router in the post, unless you need an engineer to visit. You should experience little or no interruption to your internet service while the transfer takes place. Be aware that you may have to pay an early termination fee if you’re switching to a new deal before your existing contract expires.
How can I get a good deal on unlimited broadband?
That’s where we can help. Simply use our broadband comparison service, enter your postcode and we’ll show you a choice of deals available in your area. Then all you have to do is decide on the one that suits you best.
All broadband deals available through Compare the Market offer unlimited data.
What do I need to find a broadband deal?
All you’ll need to compare unlimited broadband with us is:
- Your postcode
- Details of the type of unlimited broadband you’re looking for
- Your current provider (if applicable).
You’ll then be able to scroll down a results page with a list of deals. We can also show you bundled packages, including unlimited broadband and TV deals or unlimited broadband, TV and phone deals.Find an unlimited broadband deal now
We compare leading unlimited broadband providers, including Plusnet, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and more.
What our expert says...
"With so many providers out there, it can be difficult to choose the right deal. That’s why it’s important to compare. All our deals offer unlimited broadband, but it’s a good idea to check the difference between unlimited broadband and truly unlimited broadband."
- Sajni Shah, Utilities comparison expert