Two-fold increase in connected devices in our homes in last 5 years

When incurring charges, capped broadband customers pay on average £11.30/month

31% of broadband customers have no idea what the cap on their data is

INTERNET hungry British households are being stung with MILLIONS in charges every month for going over data limits.

That’s the finding of an online YouGov survey that reveals the average charge for exceeding data usage in a month is £11.30 – the figures show that customers could be handing a potential annual windfall of £140,028,048* to internet providers selling broadband packages with outdated data limits.

According to Ofcom, the average UK household uses 58GB of data each month, much more than the 10-40GB monthly limited offered on ‘attractive’ headline broadband packages by major providers. This acceleration in use is partly due to the growing popularity of data heavy video on-demand services, such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video.

Worryingly, 86% of capped broadband customers surveyed said no one in their household keeps track of their data usage and a quarter (25%) who go over their limits say they aren’t offered a plan that matches their usage requirements.

TalkTalk, the only provider to offer completely uncapped data usage and who won’t slow customers down even at peaks times on any of its broadband packages, has thrown down the gauntlet to rivals by announcing it will offer totally unlimited internet free for 18 months.

TalkTalk has called on rivals to follow their lead and ban capped packages as research shows we have TWICE AS MANY internet connected devices in our homes as we did five years ago.

In the Ofcom Communications report from 06/08/2015, Ofcom said “…10GB per month is not sufficient for most households. Ofcom’s Infrastructure Report 2014 found that the average data use over a fixed broadband connection was 58GB per month in 2014; the amount of data downloaded (rather than uploaded) was 53GB per month, equivalent to 35 feature films.”

In the past year alone, TalkTalk has seen downloads increase by more than 50%, so the cost of going over imposed caps will only spiral in line with data demands.

For customers on BT’s Standard Broadband package, data caps can mean an extra £72 in charges a month for those who use 58GB, the amount of data the average household uses each month according to Ofcom.

Our increased demand for bandwidth supports the finding that almost half (48%) believe that internet access is as important as other household utilities like water, gas and electricity. A quarter (25%) claim they couldn’t live without broadband for ONE DAY.

Customers aren’t just counting the financial cost of data caps. The charges are causing ANXIETY too. A fifth (21%) of those on capped broadband reported feeling worried by the prospect of going over their limit and said the threat of charges spoilt the enjoyment of being online.

TalkTalk’s Managing Director for Consumer Tristia Harrison said: “Our research shows that for almost half the population, internet connectivity is on a par with other essential utilities like water and electricity. 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% 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.”