TalkTalk is calling out rival ISPs for not offering uncapped broadband services as standard, which can lead to punters being stung by out of bundle charges.
The budget ISP claims that on average customers on capped broadband services are being charged £11.30 every month for exceeding their restrictive data quotas.
As more of us are consuming video content than ever before, the amount of data required by each household is increasing. Ofcom’s recent Communications Market Report shows that on average, British homes are burning through 58GB a month, which would easily clear the 20GB and 25GB thresholds found on some packages.
Related: ISP Traffic Management: BT vs Virgin vs Sky vs TalkTalk vs EEAs a rule of thumb, an hour’s worth of content in standard definition roughly works out at 0.7GB, while HD streams will eat up 3GB/hour. 4K Ultra HD content leaves a heavier dent, around 7GB/hour.
Of course, it doesn’t necessarily follow that customers taking capped packages are getting stung because they’re watching House of Cards in 4K Ultra HD. If you only need to go online to check emails, do shopping and check Facebook, then a 20GB capped service will suffice.
Nevertheless, going for an unlimited package does remove the possibility of you racking up extra charges.
TalkTalk’s managing director for consumer Tristia Harrison said: “As our dependence increases and more and more of our appliances and gadgets connect us to the things we love, the practice of capping broadband data usage is clearly outdated and unfair.
“At TalkTalk, we are proud to be the only provider to offer 100 per cent totally unlimited broadband as standard, with no download limits and we’d like to see other providers follow our lead by bringing an end to these unfair caps.”
While the likes of BT and Sky don’t shape any traffic on their networks at peak times or any time of day, they do offer capped services alongside unlimited ADSL and FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) services.
Similarly, while there’s no download caps on any of Virgin Media’s cable broadband products, none of them are ‘totally unlimited’ to use the industry parlance, because uploads can be capped at peak times, even though there’s no limits on downloads any more.
Out of bundle charges typically result in you being charged depending on by how far you’ve gone over the cap.
In BT’s case, you’ll currently have an extra £5.60 for every 5GB extra you burn through added on to your bill at the end of every month. Using Ofcom’s 58GB figure, if you were to go over the 20GB cap of the BT Infinity 1 product, then you’d pay an extra £39.20 for the 38GB extra (rounded down to 35).
Sky’s policy on out of bundle charges is less black and white; Sky’s terms and conditions state that if you stray beyond your usage cap you’ll be contacted via email in the first instance. If you repeatedly go over your limit (more than one in six months) you’ll be allowed to either move to a product with an unlimited cap or pay out of bundle charges.