Page last updated at 15:17 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Broadband users pay over the odds

iPlayer screen grab
Most users spend less than 2 hours a week downloading TV programmes

The majority of broadband users in the UK pay for download limits that they come nowhere near reaching, according to a survey.

Research conducted by broadband site broadbandchoices found that three quarters of those on unlimited broadband packages downloaded just 20GB (gigabytes) of content per month.

Half downloaded less than 10GB per month.

They could save over £100 a year by downgrading their service, it said.

"If you spend over two hours per day using iPlayer or downloading music and film you will need a package that can support that activity. If all you do is e-mail and surf the net you'll probably only need a basic service," said Michael Phillips, product director of Broadbandchoices.

For example, BT offers a 10GB download service for £15.99 while its unlimited service costs £24.99.

Similarly Sky's basic broadband package allows a 2GB usage limit for £5 a month compared to £15 a month for its unlimited service.

Saving money

Unlimited services were introduced as a response to increased internet usage and allow users to stream music, video clips and films with no caps.

But for the vast majority of broadband users who still spend less than two hours a week downloading music, watching video clips or downloading TV programmes, such premier services could be unnecessary, the survey found.

"It is easy to become distracted by flash marketing and words like 'unlimited' or to be scared by the concept of download penalties," said Mr Phillips.

"Consumers who pay for a service they are not making full use of are in effect throwing money down the drain," he added.

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