Want to go online as much as you like without worrying about how much data you’re using? You'll need an unlimited broadband package. Here’s everything you need to know to help you find the best unlimited broadband deals.
What is unlimited broadband?
An unlimited broadband deal is one with no restrictions on how much you’re able to use the internet, whether that’s for streaming video and music, online gaming, browsing or shopping.
Pretty much all home broadband deals are unlimited these days. So much so that it’s actually harder to find one with a usage limit.
Keen to find out more? Get up to speed with our handy guide to usage limits.
Which providers offer unlimited broadband packages?
Pretty much all of them!
These days, nearly every broadband package on the market is unlimited. The only broadband with limited downloads tend to be cut-price social tariffs or mobile broadband. The vast majority of standard, fixed-line broadband, however, allows you to use the internet as much as you like without worrying about running up charges for exceeding a usage limit.
Most packages are also truly unlimited, with no restrictions. But a few manage web traffic – more on that below – meaning the top speed isn’t always available.
Providers that offer truly unlimited broadband include:
What is truly unlimited broadband?
We define ‘truly unlimited’ broadband as packages with no usage caps and no network-wide traffic management.
That means you can download as much as you like without your provider ever artificially slowing down your connection.
The downside of that is if lots of people with the same provider in your area are online at the same time, speeds can suffer.
It’s less of a problem with fibre broadband, but it’s something to be aware of. Even so, a truly unlimited broadband service is what you need if you’re a heavy internet user.
Providers that offer truly unlimited packages include:
- BT - All BT unlimited broadband packages - including BT Superfast Fibre - are truly unlimited.
- Sky - Sky fibre and standard broadband packages are truly unlimited, allowing you to use the internet freely.
- TalkTalk - All TalkTalk broadband packages are truly unlimited.
- Vodafone – Standard and fibre broadband packages are all truly unlimited.
- Plusnet – As the name suggests, Plusnet Unlimited, Unlimited Fibre and Unlimited Fibre Extra are all truly unlimited.
- Virgin Media – Fibre-only provider Virgin Media’s broadband deals are all truly unlimited.
- Now Broadband – Now Broadband's Brilliant Broadband, Fab Fibre and Super Fibre are all truly unlimited.
- Onestream – All Onestream standard broadband and fibre packages are truly unlimited.
Why should I get unlimited broadband?
The main reason to choose an unlimited broadband deal is that you won’t have to worry about incurring extra charges for exceeding a usage limit. Nor will you experience web traffic management, which could slow down your connection for some activities.
That means you’ll have the freedom to stream, play games, hold video meetings, share files, and browse the web with zero limits.
In most cases, though, you won’t really have a choice. The vast majority of broadband packages today are unlimited, and most of those are truly unlimited too.
How much data do I use?
This depends on how you use the internet. The average household tends to use a few hundred gigabytes of data each month – though lighter-usage, low-occupancy households, who just use the internet for email and social media, may use less than 100GB.
To give you an idea, here’s how much data some common online activities use:
- Downloading a document – 2MB
- Browsing the web and/or using email for an hour – 100MB
- Streaming music for an hour – 100MB
- Video calling (e.g. Zoom) for an hour – 250MB
- Streaming an hour of HD video – 2GB
- Streaming an hour of 4K video – 4GB
Avid gamers in the household? Downloading a game file can be over 100GB in some cases. Online games use very little data to play, but can be affected by web traffic management.
Needless to say, it makes sense for most homes to choose unlimited broadband, if only for peace of mind. You never know when you’ll want to binge a series in 4K or download the latest AAA game.
Unlimited broadband with home phone deals
The majority of broadband providers offer a landline too, since broadband is usually delivered via phone lines anyway, and that broadband is usually unlimited.
You can get your home phone service with pay-as-you-go calls, or upgrade to get inclusive calls – such as evening and weekend calls.
Here’s a selection of our best broadband and phone deals right now:
Best unlimited broadband and TV deals
It’s easy to find unlimited broadband and TV bundle deals. And if your TV services are delivered via the internet, you’ll certainly need unlimited broadband.
Here’s our current pick of the best:
Can I get unlimited broadband without a landline?
Yes you can. More and more providers are beginning to offer unlimited broadband with no landline. Those providers include:
In most cases, the broadband is still delivered via the phone lines. In some cases, though, you may get a lower monthly price for skipping the landline connection.
Can I get unlimited mobile broadband?
Yes you can. A number of mobile networks offer unlimited mobile broadband in a range of different forms – such as dongles, mobile Wi-Fi devices, and 4G home hubs.
Unlimited data is available, but it generally isn’t truly unlimited. There may be some degree of traffic management in place, and some have usage limits – often of 1000GB. We wouldn’t worry, though – you’d seriously struggle to use that much data as a normal household.
What are the pros and cons of unlimited broadband packages?
- Use your internet connection as much as you like, with no restrictions
- Stream video, play online games, and make video calls limitlessly
- Huge range of options to choose from
- Risks seeing your connection throttled or managed for certain activities (e.g. file sharing)
- Networks without web traffic management and data limits may be slower at certain times
What’s traffic management?
Traffic management, also known as traffic shaping or traffic prioritisation, is when providers give priority to certain types of traffic on their networks.
It’s used on some unlimited broadband packages, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
If lots of people in the same area are online at the same time, the network can get congested and speeds plummet.
To get around this, some providers slow down certain types of online activity - such as file-sharing - and prioritise others – such as catch-up TV or gaming - to ensure a decent service for everyone on the network.
What’s a fair use policy?
A fair usage policy dictates how you may use your broadband connection, and when the provider will bring in traffic management or penalise your usage.
It sets out how much data you may download each month, and when the provider may slow down your connection or take other measures. And it usually states (quite understandably) that you must use your connection lawfully and reasonably, or face penalties.
For most of us, a fair usage policy is nothing to worry about. Very few providers today have restrictions on how much you can download, and absolute limits are often very high.
And as long as you aren’t using the internet to break the law, other fair use clauses won’t affect you either.