My broadband plan counts both uploads and downloads towards my data limit; what is the difference?

When you are looking for a new broadband internet plan you may have noticed some plans count only download usage towards your data limit, while others charge for using both uploads and downloads. What is the difference?

Downloads:

Counting downloads involves almost everything you normally do on the internet. If you are surfing the web, it is using download data; if you open up a website, it uses downloads; and if you watch YouTube videos or open up some of your friends’ photos on Facebook, you are technically downloading information from the world wide web onto your computer.

Many broadband plans only count downloads, and this is a good thing. It means any uploading you do from your computer onto the internet will not be counted towards your monthly usage limit. So, what are uploads?

Uploads:

Uploads are where you are adding content onto the internet. If you add an attachment to an email, it is an upload. If you put one of your own photos onto a website like Flicker or Facebook, it’s an upload. Sticking your home movies onto YouTube or Slideshare? This too is a form of upload.

Some broadband plans charge for both uploads and downloads, so beware when you sign up to a plan you know what you are going to be charged for. If you are someone who puts a lot of photos and videos online, or who speaks regularly on Skype, you should definitely reconsider when thinking of signing up to a plan that counts uploads towards your data limit.

Are you someone who does peer-to-peer file sharing? This involves large amounts of upload usage, and this is one reason some internet providers have attempted to lessen your usage by counting these uploads towards your monthly data limit. However, if you are someone who only downloads songs or TV shows, or who just watches live streaming videos, these are all considered forms of downloading.

Plan comparisons:

One interesting situation where you can directly compare plans with or without the counting of uploads is with current some TPG ADSL2+ contracts. For $49.99 a month you can get either 130GB of data (only downloads counted), or 180GB of data (both uploads and downloads counted) with your TPG ADSL2+ speed plan.

The TPG ADSL2+ 130GB plan would be better for those people who upload a lot; whereas the TPG ADSL2+ 180GB plan would suit someone who mainly uses downloads. Think about what you do on the internet and be wise when you next sign up to a broadband plan. This will ensure you are connected to the best plan possible, as well as lessening your chances for running out of your monthly usage too early, or in some cases, large excess charges for when you go over your allotted data usage limit.