How Often Do You Exceed Your Monthly Broadband Quota?

Recent research suggests that only a small percentage of Australians actually exceed their download quotas each month. How often do you find yourself being shaped as the end of the month looms?

ZDNet reports that a recent study of Australian broadband usage patterns by Market Clarity found that only 15% of Australians regularly exceed their broadband allowance, and that the typical Aussie account uses 7GB a month.

I very much suspect Lifehacker readers are heavier broadband users than average and that 7GB would barely be enough, so I’m wondering: how often do you exceed your monthly allowance?

Feel free to expand upon your strategies for ensuring you don’t go over the limit in the comments.


  • i have had it happen once in the last 6 months, re downloading all my steam content after a HDD failure…

    i am on 200/200 plan with iinet and dont get close to using it all

    • If you’re exceeding your limit every month… that’s probably a good motivator to upgrade.

      Generally speaking, the next plan up is going to cost less than paying for extra blocks of data.

      If, however, you’re happy to be shaped for a few days, then stick where you are 🙂

  • haha when I first signed up for internode last year (ish) I thought 30gb would be enough for three hungry users. Following months and we were given an extra 20gb free, which I thought would be /then/ good enough. 2 months ago I switched to ADSL2 (or at least ‘full speed’ ADSL) that came with 60gb. The point is, we have still found a way to chew up every last mb, every month, for the last 18 months. Thus I don’t try to buy more 😛

  • This needs to be an option:

    “It happens occasionally, but only because I’m careful about managing downloads”

    I shunt as much of my downloading onto unmetered sources as possible, I also try to schedule downloads to off-peak times if possible.
    Occasionally, close to the end of a month, I will go over the limit.
    Often I’ll queue up stuff to deliberately take myself to and over the limit in the last few days of the month.

  • I used to be on a 10/10 plan with iiNet and managed to only get shaped every now and then (3 times a year at most). Now I am still paying the same but have 50/50 to use.

    By default any torrents we put on my server are downloaded during offpeak time but we do often force downloads when we want to watch it the same evening. We use about half our quota at most and never get shaped.

  • Usually every 2nd or 3rd month I’ll bust my limit. My brother-in-law, who has 3 computers and as many kids, busts his nearly every month. We’re both on a similar plan with Exetel with 30gb peak/unlimited off-peak.

  • I have been on the TPG Unlimited plan for a few months now. Prior to this I was on a 200GB plan for approx 1.5 years and only capped it a couple of times.

    Prior to being with TPG I was with Optus and capped it pretty much every month

  • I’m currently on a 10/unlimited naked plan with Exetel although about to change to TPG.
    Most downloading is scheduled for off-peak but I still go over quota maybe every 3rd month when some are forced through during peak although at 50c/GB excess it’s still cheaper to stay on same plan rather than bumping up to next plan rate.

    However price revisions have removed Exetel’s price advantage and I’m looking at TPG’s $60/200GB naked or possibly their $30 unlimited when combined with their $30 phone plan (which will remain unused). Anyone care to share their TPG experiences?

  • We use to exceed the limit all the time last year on our 50GB plan, and would often buy an extra 10GB data pack. Just before Christmas the new plans came out and for the same price I get 200GB. Now we don’t go near it (averaging about 70GB).
    However that has led to a bigger problem – everyone has big plans leading to congestion at the exchange. I work from home and am definitely looking forward to school kid youtube watchers going back…

  • We have 40/40 in a house of 4, with my two siblings being complete noobs and using YouTube to watch TV shows/movies.

    I schedule my downloads for the off-peak times and rarely get shaped, but we exceed the on-peak limit more often than not.

  • We go through periods of not using anywhere near our total peak quota each month, and then periods of exceeding it every month. When we do exceed it, its usually not till the last few days of the month and it is because we’ve downloaded a huge game off steam (last month we got the civ IV package which was about 10GB in total for four games) or because we’ve watched a lot of videos online.

    I tend to switch plans every now again depending on what are needs are and we do try to be careful and do most things during offpeak time when the quota is almost three times as much as peak.

  • Yes I moved to Australia and had Telstra’s Big Pond.

    Got stung for over usage many many times (the last one cost me in a thousands of $). I changed to iinet and never had a worry. Staff are friendly, service is solid and accounts department is responsible.

  • We have only exceeded ours once, though we doubled our limit’s usage recently causing us a hefty bill. We should have put measures in place re email notification but since we rarely use 50% of our quota we have never gottan around to doing it, it would be nice had the ISP emailed us when a certain (lets say 5GB) amount exceeded our limit, thus alerting us of what was happening and to make the required measures to ensure it didn’t keep going up! (exceeded the quota by 15GB).. costly when you dont get shaped for exceeding. There should be a cut off limit for those of us who aren’t aware its happening.

  • Previously had 50/50 gb between 4, 2 were technically illiterate. We’d never hit the cap but only because of my nagging.

    The thing is the net just doesn’t work at 64kbps these days, packets just get dropped and requests timeout so it’s nearly the same as having the net cut off.

    Pretty hard to exceed an unlimited plan with Exetel now.

  • Optus upgraded my 170GB plan to 500GB; and I’m doing TOO well in keeping up with where I should be at for the day. As I post this, I’m at 33% and 38% (peak/off); but I’m supposed to be at 38%.

  • It feels like every time I upgrade my usage inflates. I used to get by with 30GB and then I upgraded to 80 and my usage increased. I’m now on 130GB and I come very close to exceeding it every month. Luckily, I keep a close watch on my usage.

    Also, scheduling in utorrent helps a lot as well. Exceeding that is no problem as off-peak is during the ungodly hours of the night anyway.

  • I had one of those big iiNet plans and i had to manage the usage really closely to stay within limits.

    Then one day I snapped and got the unlimited plan from TPG now I’m in digital haven, downloading torrents in the middle of the day at 1.5MB/s (of course, with QoS on).

  • Fark, I only have an 8GB on peak that we go over almost every month… Upgrading to the next plan up isn’t really an option as it already costs $75 a month

  • constantly going over, but I found that if I set up an old laptop to reset the modem every X minutes I could avoid shaping penalties and keep the speed up.

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