Residential Limits on Unlimited Broadband Data

Most of the home broadband providers in Ireland promote “unlimited” broadband. Irish phone and broadband packages with unlimited broadband data are much more common now than those with download restrictions.

How many of the internet providers in Ireland have limits on their   “unlimited” broadband?

In  November 2020   we checked the main broadband providers terms and conditions and fair usage policies to see what limits or restrictions were in place on their “unlimited broadband” .

We found the following :

Sky – said they decided to lift data caps earlier in the year because of COVID-19 because everyone was relying on their broadband more than ever. Most of Sky’s packages were already unlimited, but if you had a package with a usage allowance they are now unlimited too for the foreseeable future.

Eir – Say that all new Fibre broadband packages come with fully unlimited data allowances. However – on broadband packages set up before July 2018 there is a fair usage policy of 1TB (1,000GB) per month.  Eir say that usage in excess if this is subject to a charge of €2.50 for every 10 GB up to a maximum of €100 per month (values inclusive of VAT).

Virgin say that no limit on data transfer allowance will apply for customers of new Broadband products, “except for customers of limited products with specified data transfer allowances.”

Vodafone used to have a fair usage limit if 1000Gb a month. But when we checked in Nov 2020 there was no longer any mention of a fair usage amount. However, but they do say that they will set thresholds and if they are ..

of the opinion, that your usage of the Services materially exceeds the Threshold over any month, Vodafone may contact you to advise you that your usage exceeds its fair use policy. If the excessive usage continues to exceed the Threshold after receipt of a request to desist from or alter the nature of such usage, Vodafone reserves the right to charge you for the excessive element of your usage” .

We have seen online forums where Vodafone customers have said they have gone up to 3000GB with no problem.

Pure Telecom used to have a fair usage policy stating that customers could not go over 1000Gb (1Tb)  per month. But now ,in Nov 2020 , they say they: – “may rely on the Fair Use Policy where: (a) your usage of Pure Telecom Services is unreasonable; or (b) your participation in a Fair Use Promotion is unreasonable.”
No figures on limits are given.

Imagine have a fair usage limit of 1000Gb . They say that if you exceed the fair usage limit after a warning, they reserve the right to suspend or terminate your Service

Whilst 1000Gb seems quite a big number – it could be exceeded in a family household with everyone using the home broadband / WiFi to play games, watch films or transfer photos or other large files to devices.

For example viewing films on Netflix uses about:-

  • 1GB of data per hour for standard definition video
  • up to 3GB per hour high definition video,
  • and up to 7GB per hour of 4K Ultra HD video.

If several people are streaming videos every day on different devices – that could easily result in 100 hours a week or 400 hours a month. If that was HD video it would mean data of 1200GB per month. (1.2 Terrabytes)

As more and more people move away from watching “normal” TV – the amounts of data used are just going to grow even more.

Now that you know more about the reality of unlimited broadband – you can check out our latest comparison of broadband prices  in Ireland to help you choose the best provider to suit your needs.