Of course, it depends on what kind of files you’re trying to download. On a professional front, you might be downloading a lot of PDFs, white papers, technical briefs, and video presentations. On a personal front, you might be streaming a lot of music and TV shows, or downloading movies regularly. There might also be are a fair few ebooks, not to mention a game or two – some Triple-A titles, some from indie developers. Steam sales – they get you every time.
Which daily downloads use the most data?
|File Type||File Sizes||Frequency of download||Monthly average
|File Type: Game (various file types, zipped)||File Sizes: 13,000-50,000 MB||Frequency of download: Once every few months||Monthly average: 20 GB
|File Type: Movie (MP4, 1.5 hours, 1080p) ||File Sizes: 10,000-20,000 MB||Frequency of download: Once a fortnight||Monthly average: 30 GB
|File Type: TV show (MP4, 30 min, 720p)||File Sizes: 200-300 MB||Frequency of download: A few times a week||Monthly average: 1 GB
|File Type: Music file (MP3, 5 min, 128 kbps)||File Sizes: 4-12 MB||Frequency of download: Weekly||Monthly average: 2.5 GB
|File Type: ebook/white paper (PDF)||File Sizes: 2-4 MB||Frequency of download: Daily||Monthly average: 0.25 GB
What do my download habits mean for my broadband plan?
As you can see, no two people are going to have the exact same download habits, nor the same budget. So it’s important to have a firm grasp of how your download habits will impact on your broadband needs.
You need a reasonable amount of data
Perhaps most obviously, you need a good amount of data. How much depends on your usage. From the table above, we can calculate that this usage accounts for 50-60 GB each month. That’s an average and doesn’t include the data used up by daily browsing, Skype calls or watching streaming TV services. And if you have more than one person in the house, you have to contend with their habits as well. So that’s at least 100GB a month for two people.
You need reliability
As mentioned in the post on broadband for singles, it pays to avoid unstable connections. That’s why it’s best to steer clear of ADSL when the exchange is more than 2k away – the signal slows and can drop quite frequently. The nbn eliminates this hassle, and cable is a good choice as long as it is available.
You need speed
It’s no fun watching a file download meter stick at “25 minutes” for an hour. And if it is, maybe you’d also like to consider branching out into the competitive fields of watching paint dry or grass grow? So your connection speed – how fast the data moves from the exchange to your modem and vice versa – matters. You don’t have the time to wait around for files to load. It’s dead time.
You need low latency
This isn’t as important as speed and stability, but it’s still a big deal. Latency refers to the responsiveness of the connection – how quickly the server responds to my request. This matters most when dealing with Skype or VoIP calls, or if you’re gaming online.
You need value for money
And of course, there’s the price. Having unlimited data on a high-speed connection is meaningless if it means you can’t afford groceries anymore.
The Top Five Broadband Deals For Everyday Downloads
For the sake of simplicity, we’ll be focusing on broadband plans (rather than bundles) that feature unlimited downloads, preferably on the NBN.
Trust Mate for stress-free downloads
Unlimited data? Check. On a fast connection? Check. New telco Mate Broadband gives a great deal with a range of NBN and ADSL2+ plans that meet these needs. They make this list because all their plans are uncapped. Also, their speed tiers aren’t to be sneezed at. A good pick would be the $75/month Best Mates nbn plan, which offers a 50mbps connection (standard evening speed of 30-50mbps). If that’s not fast enough for you, then their Soul Mates nbn plan gets you typical evening speeds of between 60-100Mbps for $99/month. All their plans are month-to-month with no contract and no plan-change fees. If the nbn isn’t in your area (and you have an active phone line on the Telstra network) then Mate offers their City Mates ADSL plan starting at $49/month or their Country Mates plan for $59/month.