There really aren’t any limited broadband deals to speak of in the market right now, and though they may come back at some point – they do poke their heads in from time to time – chances are it’ll be impossible for you to find a deal that isn’t unlimited.
Should you get an unlimited broadband deal then? Yes. You will probably have to. Just in case there are some limited deals floating about when you read this or when you go to look, though, let’s take a quick look at who should consider unlimited broadband a must.
Unlimited broadband is where there are no limits on the amount of data you can download each month. There may, however, be some rules that mean you won’t get the best speeds all the time, or that your connection may be stunted after you download a certain amount of data. Below is a list of the three types of broadband limitation.
Although many broadband packages are 'unlimited', many carry a ‘fair usage policy’ (FUP). Depending on where you live, several other houses will all be plugged into the same cabinet that connects you to the internet. The number of houses you share this cabinet with is called your ‘contention ratio’.
Let’s say the contention ratio is 100:1. That means you and 99 other houses share the same internet cabinet. If each house is using the internet at the same time as you, your connection may slow down during busy times. Unlike a general 'traffic management' policy, the FUP targets specific users doing specific things, and prioritises others.
Most residential broadband users should expect an average ratio of 50:1 on their connections.
Traffic management is a method broadband providers use to give everyone the best speed available during peak times. It’s like rationing. Everyone gets slightly slower speeds, instead of some people getting good speeds and others getting poor speeds or no internet at all. If you want to learn a bit more about fair usage policies and traffic management, have a look at our guide.