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TalkTalk says we’re paying £480 more for broadband than we should

What’s happened?

If you’ve wondered if its worth paying a bit extra for an unlimited broadband service, then it looks like it is.

A survey released today by TalkTalk shows that we’re paying on average £40 a month thanks to out-of-bundle charges. These are applied whenever we stray over our data limits, sometimes capped at 10GB, 20GB and 40GB a month on the cheaper packages.

This works out at £480 extra a year, in addition to things like your connection/set-up fee (if there is one) not to mention line rental and the cost of broadband itself.

Ofcom figures show that the average UK home will download 17GB a month. With this in mind we’ve taken a look at the basic packages offered by the UK’s most popular broadband providers to see how they stack up.

TalkTalk says we’re paying £480 more for broadband than we should

We’ve compared how much each one would cost you per month with extra charges applied (based on this 17GB figure).

TalkTalk’s Commercial Director Tristia Clarke said “at TalkTalk we believe our generous unlimited broadband data allowances do not constrain internet use and provide real value for money, as well as peace of mind that you won’t be stung with any unexpected extra charges.”

Clarke was keen to point out that TalkTalk Essentials, which costs £3.25 a month (not including line rental) comes with unlimited downloads as standard.

Similarly, Virgin Media cable and Orange Home Broadband packages have been excluded from this round up as they too feature unlimited downloads as standard.

TalkTalk says we’re paying £480 more for broadband than we should

BT Option 1 – £13 a month (Free for first six months)

Download limit: 10GB
Out of Bundle charge: £5 per 5GB.
Monthly cost plus charge: £18 a month/£5 a month

BT’s Terms & Conditions read “If you exceed your usage allowance, you’ll be charged for additional usage in units of five gigabytes (GB), at £5 per 5GB. Charges will apply from the second month you exceed your allowance and will be shown on your BT bill.”

BT also says that it notifies account holder when they reach 80 per cent of their download limit and encourages subscribers to take out either BT Option 2 (40GB limit) or BT Option 3 (Unlimited) if 10GB isn’t enough.

TalkTalk says we’re paying £480 more for broadband than we should

Sky Broadband Everyday Lite – Free with Sky TV and Sky Talk (plus line rental)

Download limit: 2GB
Out of Bundle charge: N/A
Monthly cost plus charge: N/A

Sky Broadband Everyday Lite is the service that comes bundled free with Sky TV and Sky Talk and it’s fairly basic. The 2GB download limit doesn’t give you a lot of room if you’re using 17GB a month.

The good news is that Sky doesn’t charge you any extra if you go over, despite the T’s & C’s of their site mentioning ‘fair and reasonable charges’. 

When we spoke to Sky, we were told that if a Sky Broadband Lite user exceeded the 2GB cap twice in six months, then they would be automatically bumped up to the Sky Unlimited service.

Sky Unlimited costs £7.50 a month on top of your Sky TV package or £10 a month without Sky TV.

TalkTalk says we’re paying £480 more for broadband than we should


Plusnet Value Broadband – £6.49 a month

Download limit: 10GB
Out of Bundle charge: £5 per 5GB.
Monthly cost plus charge: £11.49

Plusnet’s out of bundle charges work out at £5 per 5GB (same as BT) meaning you’ll pay upwards of £11.49 for straying over the line.

It is worth noting however that Plusnet gives you unlimited usage between midnight and 8:00am. So if you’ve got any heavy downloading to get done, save it for the small hours.

For argument’s sake it’s also worth noting that Plusnet’s next level package – Plusnet Extra Broadband – costs £11.49 a month and gives you a usage cap of 60GB. In other words, for the same amount of money you can get four times as much usage.

TalkTalk says we’re paying £480 more for broadband than we should


O2 Broadband The Basics – £8.50/£12.50 a month

Download limit: 20GB
Out of Bundle charge: N/A
Monthly cost plus charge: N/A

O2 Broadband’s The Basics package doesn’t come with any out of bundle charges as such. Rather, O2’s Terms & Conditions page stages that you’ll be contacted if you exceed your 20GB limit and restrictions will be applied “including, potentially, blocking the Service altogether.”

Using Ofcom’s example of a 17GB average, O2 Broadband customers using The Basics should be okay.

The Basics is a package that’s mainly aimed at O2 mobile customers. Normally costing £12.50 a month, O2 mobile customers can get a £5 monthly discount off of the Basics package, or £8.50.

The next package up on the O2 Broadband roster is the All Rounder. Costing £12.50 for all customers, this gives you the same top download speed as The Basics (up to 16Mbps) but has an unlimited downloads policy.

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