Fortunately, most unlimited plans these days are truly unlimited – or at least, they’re as unlimited as they say on the tin. Covert use caps are no longer very common. However, there are still a few terms to watch out for that could affect how you can use your broadband. Think about traffic management, acceptable use policies, etc.
What is traffic management?
So here is our guide to the basics of fair use – but for all the details always have a read on your broadband contract, as this type of information is often subject to change.
Fair use can be wonderfully absent, but most broadband providers have an acceptable use policy. It has less to do with how much broadband you use, and more to do with how you use it.
By accepting your contract, and therefore the Acceptable Use Policy, you agree to use your connection in a reasonable way – essentially by not using it for anything illegal or fishy. Some also state that you should not use it beyond what can be “reasonably expected of a person using the service for domestic purposes” – meaning that they will investigate if you download or download a level of. ridiculously high data. As long as you are using your connection like a normal household, there is nothing to worry about here (even if you are a heavy user).
For more information, see our guide to the fine print on your broadband contract.
Fair use policies of broadband providers
Let’s take a look at the fair use policies of some vendors.
Fair use of BT
BT’s policies are fairly fair with regards to usage. Unlimited plans are truly unlimited, with no upper limits, and there is absolutely no traffic management. Sweet. If you are on a plan with a specific monthly allowance, BT will send you warning emails when you are approaching your maximum allowance – the first email around the 60-70% mark, then a second e- mail when you reach 80-90% of your allowance.
Fair use of EA
EE’s unlimited broadband is also unlimited, and for most plans it doesn’t handle web traffic. The exception here is for its “off-network” services, for which it manages traffic. During peak hours – 4:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. on weekdays, 1:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. on weekends – this slows down things like peer-to-peer downloading, newsgroups, streaming, and downloading large files.
Fair use of Plusnet
Plusnet’s unlimited plans don’t have any usage caps either – they’re really unlimited – and the provider doesn’t handle web traffic.
Compare Plusnet broadband
Fair use of mail
Post Office’s unlimited broadband is also unlimited, although it does handle the traffic a bit.
The supplier is somewhat vague on what exactly this management entails. What it says for sure is that peer-to-peer file sharing is restricted – but other than that, there’s not a lot of information.
Compare postal broadband
Use of the fair of the sky
Sky Unlimited is completely, truly unlimited, without any traffic management either.
However, beware of these penalties if you have a contract with a limit of use. If you exceed your limit too many times, Sky will automatically upgrade you to a more expensive plan.
Fair use of TalkTalk
TalkTalk is pretty liberal on the fair dealing front. Its unlimited broadband is truly unlimited and there is no traffic management.
In fact, it still has a small portion of its capacity reserved for TalkTalk TV clients, so you shouldn’t have to worry about watching catch-up TV on your YouView box any time of the day.
Compare Broadband TalkTalk
Fair use of Virgin Media
Virgin Media’s unlimited plans are indeed unlimited with no download limit. It also doesn’t handle web traffic anymore – it’s truly limitless.
Compare Virgin Media broadband