Broadband Data Usage

Broadband Data Usage

How much Data will I use?

This is a question that a lot of people ask, but no one can ever get an exact estimate because it all depends on how the user decides to use their internet. Although there is no simple answer, you can still figure out an approximate amount of data that you will use by trying to predict what you will be doing most of the time.

The average person in the UK will use 17 to 21 gigabytes worth of data per month. That includes everything from streaming, downloading, visiting sites, e-mails, and anything else you can think of. Now instead of going off of the average, let's take a deeper look into how much data each of these activities uses, so that you can get a better look into how much data you may use.


With popular video streaming sites out there, such as YouTube, it is important to understand how much data is really being used. Depending on which site you are using, they may or may not limit the download speeds. Using the same example, YouTube, they limit their download speeds to 300 kilobytes per second. This converts over to 2.25 megabytes per minute or 131.8 megabytes per hour.

Now, there are of course when file sizes are not that big, which means less data usage, but on average, if you are a streamer, this is what you can expect to use on standard definition videos. Streaming on sites that allow HD can use up to 2 gigabytes an hour! Streaming music is pretty much similar to standard definition videos. Since music tends to be streamed at the highest quality possible, it is easy to use about 70-140 megabytes an hour.


Everyone will eventually have to download something onto their computer. Whether it is games, high end software, antivirus programs, movies, or anything else that you may want on your computer. Of course, each of these has their own individual file size, which means that you can anticipate exactly how much data you will use. So if you are about to download a program that is 500 megabytes, that is how much you can expect to use.

VOIP Services

Services such as Skype are becoming more and more popular as a communication option for people. While different services may have different data usage, we will use Skype as it is the most popular. An hour of being on a call using Skype without video will use and average of 180 megabytes, while using video will increase that amount to 220 megabytes. Those are typical 1 on 1 calls. The more people within a call, the more data usage you can expect.

Web Browsing and Email

Checking out websites and emails will usually use very minimal data. On average these tasks will most likely use around 1 to 25 megabytes an hour. Some sites have more stuff to load, and same goes for emails. So it all depends on what kind of sites and emails you are going to be opening.

Add Them All Together

Now that you have an idea of what kind of data usage these particular activities use, try and predict how much time you will be using them per month. Once you have an estimate, you can easily just add them all up for your specific data usage approximation. You may want to add just a little more data than the approximate, just to be safe, because the last thing you want is to go over the amount of data you are allowed.

Top Tip

Always remember to double check the full terms and conditions of the contract as different broadband providers have different costs.

For example, some providers may start you off on a cheaper monthly package but then raise it significantly after a few months.

When comparing prices it's important to double check these kind of things to ensure you choose the best deal.

Useful Info

We compare dozens of the top UK broadband providers to help students find broadband packages that suit them.