My two older children (8 and 10) both have a netbook and all three children have a Nintendo DS. All of the devices listed above connect to the Internet through my 20mb ADSL line.
The reason for telling you this and creating the list above is to show that it isn’t just people using Bit Torrent or other filesharing services that consume a considerable amount of bandwidth in a month.
I’m fortunate, my telecom operator offers unlimited 20mb broadband with no fair usage policy for £32.99 a month – any capped offering would cause me to either change my behaviour or pay more money, or stop my children using their devices.
In fact I have a real world example of what happens when my completely connected family descend on a capped household.
In the summer we visited my parents for ten days, we all took our portable devices with us and did what we always do, watch television, play games, download podcasts, download apps and updates and generally use all the trappings of a 21st century connected world.
A week after we left I got a call from my mum – apparently she had been charged an extra £60 on her bill for the extra data we used over and above her 20GB cap. BT charge £5 for every 1GB you go over the cap and we were only there for ten days.
The Guardian are reporting today that the average home broadband user gets through about 17GB of data per month – which given that it is an average means there are lots of people using 1GB and a few people using 200GB but I think the average is going to increase dramatically, not because the high end users will be using more but because the majority of users will be.
Almost all of the television watched in our house is done over the internet, in fact while I was putting ideas down on paper for this post yesterday my son was watching a rented movie from Apple on the Apple TV, my wife was listening to the radio (through her iPod Touch plugged into a speaker dock) and my daughter was watching iPlayer on the iMac.
One of her favourite BBC shows is horrible histories, streaming a single episode would use up 304mb of bandwidth – she watched three back to back in the one sitting (a reward for finishing her homework).
That’s almost a 1GB just from one evenings usage by my daughter – the movie my son downloaded was closer to 2GB and later that evening an update to the Playstation 3 was 350MB and I watched three HD TV shows on the iPlayer at about 1.5GB each and my wife watched about a weeks worth of Eastenders through the Playstation 3.
That is almost 10GB of data usage in a single day – half my parents monthly allowance and that was a fairly typical day. The 10GB was rounded off in the end with the podcasts I downloaded in the morning, a couple of apps, transferring some photos and general internet usage.
I might be unusual at the moment but as televisions become more connected, as devices become more pervasive and internet television becomes common place – that 17GB average is going to seem as outdated then as a 56kb modem does today.