Make the most of your bigblu broadband data usage

26th July 2018

Here at bigblu we offer our customers a carefully curated range of tariffs and services to make sure we cater for every kind of data usage. If you’re a couple who prefer the satisfying snap of the newspaper to a news app, a radio drama to a Netflix multi-series and vinyl to Spotify then why subscribe to our 100GB data plans when you could spend that money on a pressing of Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde (I’d stick to our 10 GB plans and Visions of Johanna instead).

Or you could be a small country-based business sending heavy files, uploading video but fed up with restricted rural broadband and you want to make the most of dedicated business plans that can reach you anywhere in the country, no matter how remote. Or perhaps you’re a family of four with a near-insatiable appetite for ‘first-person shooter’ games, The Crown on Netflix, the Grand Tour on Amazon and YouTube make-up tutorials (which family member loves which we dare not say).

If that’s the case you’ll want to check out our unlimited Fixed Wireless plans. Although it’s always worth remembering that even on ‘unlimited’ plans, every provider will operate a traffic management plan that may see them ‘throttle’ your speeds if you start draining the data.

What is data?
Which brings us on to a question that customers often fail to ask for fear of embarrassment but here at bigblu there is no such thing as a stupid question, only simple answers to help you make sense of the sometimes far-too complicated business of broadband.

When your computer, tablet or phone uses the Internet to upload and download things, it uses data. Uploading is when you send an email, upload a photo or video, or log on for a video chat with a client in the US or a relative Down Under. Downloading includes retrieving information when you visit a web page, opening your emails and attachments, streaming web radio or videos from YouTube or using Google Maps to work out exactly where that American client is based.

The amount of data you use depends on what you are doing. Video streaming or downloading a movie, for instance, uses more data than sending an email or uploading a photo. To help you make the most of data, whatever your allowance, we’ve put together some facts, tips, tricks and expert advice on data consumption.

Data usage guidelines
The table below outlines some typical uses for your bigblu broadband connection and defines the rough data consumption of each. This is a guideline only as the exact amounts likely to be consumed will depend on your operating system, your browser and the thing that you are downloading or uploading.

Data Usage Guide

ActionData usedLevel
Email200 email = 70MB (depending on attachments)Low
VoIP/SkypeVoice call = 0.73 MB/min
Video call = 2.12 MB/min
Web browsing20hrs = 1.5GB Low
iTunes music download120MB per hourMedium
Low Definition movie download0.75GB per movieMedium
High Definition movie download3.5-4.5GB per movieVery high
Spotify7.25hrs = 1GBMedium
Catch-Up TVNormal 1hr = 0.75GB
HD 1hr = 2.75GB
Software updatesUp to 5GBHigh
YouTube/Netflix/Online video30min = 0.2GBVery high
iCloud/Dropbox back-upDepends on amount of data storedVery high
HD video1 hour = 2GBVery high

Making the most of your insomniac data
All of our satellite broadband plans come with an unlimited night-time allowance that’s included free. This is excellent for scheduling data heavy activities like downloading catch-up TV programs or HD movies. Here at bigblu we recommend PlayOn, a digital recording service that saves you plenty with off-peak downloading of your favourite films and shows so you can watch anytime of the day. BBC iPlayer also has a scheduling tool for doing just this.

You should also turn off automatic software updates on all your devices to stop them working their magic during peak hours make sure you do them overnight. If all of this is still sounding all a bit mumbo jumbo and you need any help setting any of this up, then talk to our Tech Support Team.

Exhausted apps constantly running in the background
Many smartphone apps and bits of software (even websites) consume data in the background even if you don’t think you’re using them or viewing them.  Developers are dreaming up new, dynamic and innovative apps every day and trying them is all part of the fun of using the Internet, but some of them are very data intensive. If you feel you’re using too much data, or your data allowance goes quicker than you think it should, take time to look at what apps are live on your phone and could be using up your allowance even when you think your phone or tablet is in standby mode. If you need any help setting any of this up, talk to our Tech Support Team.

Time for some house rules, okay?
As a general rule, watching videos, and streaming online or TV content over the Internet consumes very large amounts of data.  Many younger people these days routinely watch their favourite TV programs on YouTube, even when they could watch them just as easily on terrestrial or satellite TV (where there’s no data implication). If you’re a family, and you’re struggling with your data consumption, set some house rules about YouTube, Netflix and similar data-hungry websites.

Stick like glue to your data consumption
If you’re concerned about your data consumption or want to see how your data allowance is being consumed, there are a number of ways you can do this:

  • Data monitor apps
    You can download the GlassWire data monitor app from the Google Play store free of charge for Android devices or the My Data Manager & Security app from iTunes if you have an iPhone or iPad. These apps allow you to monitor the usage of data on the device as a whole as well as breaking it down by application. It can, for example, display the quantity of data each app (like Facebook or YouTube) may be using.
  • Laptops or desktop computers
    You can download GlassWire for your personal computers too. GlassWire is a free, open-source, bandwidth monitor that works on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX. GlassWire keeps track of how much you use your internet/network connection and allows you to view this information either via a web browser or by using the command-line tools.
  • Security & local networks
    If you’re concerned about your data consumption and feel that your data allowance disappears more quickly than expected, we would recommend ensuring that your Wi-Fi network is totally secure. Otherwise, you might find your neighbours or passing vehicles are using your network. Our key advice here is don’t use simple or easy to guess passwords, or worse still, no password at all. This will prevent any rogue devices or users from automatically, even accidentally, joining your network; this is quite common if you live in a location where multiple visitors might pass through.