What factors should be considered when choosing an offer? 

  • Your available budget; 
  • The desired connection speed; 
  • The desired data volume (limited or unlimited volume); 
  • The cost of the download volume that is not included in the offer (price beyond the allowance for offers with a limited volume);  
  • The desired technology (Xdsl, cable, fibre*, satellite, mobile);  
  • Standalone offer or offer included in a bundle;  
  • The providers that are available for the connection location (fixed Internet); 
  • The quality of the customer service of the chosen provider. 

* Fibre is a technology which is fully being rolled out in Belgium. Read more about this technology and find an answer to your questions at fibreinfo, the BIPT site where all the information is gathered.

How much do I want to spend? 

The price of the connection depends, among other things, on the volume you can download and the connection speed. If you choose an offer with a limited download volume, to avoid any unpleasant surprises, remember to check the price beyond the package, i.e. the price of the content you download beyond the download volume included in your Internet offer.  

You can compare the offers that are available for sale in your municipality on the tariff comparison website. That site gathers all the existing tariff plans in a correct and neutral manner. Everything is monitored by the BIPT. 

What is Internet volume and what is Internet speed? 

The Internet volume is the amount of data you use. The size of files you download from the net or upload to the net is expressed in megabyte (MB).
1,000 megabytes equals 1 gigabyte (GB).

The Internet speed is the speed with which a device connected to the Internet (tablet, computer, mobile phone) can download or upload data. This speed is usually measured in megabits per second (Mbps). The download speed indicates how fast you can download files, but also how fast you can open an Internet page or watch a video. The upload speed is important when you send an e-mail and when you post pictures or videos on social media.

In order to find out how the Internet speed relates to the Internet volume the following rule of thumb should be used: 8 bits = 1 byte. As 8 bits constitute 1 byte, the Internet speeds should be divided by 8 to obtain the Internet volume (per second). If the Internet speed is 40 Mbps this means that you can download 5 MB (40/8) per second. Downloading a 10 MB file will therefore take 2 seconds.

What Internet speed and what Internet volume do I need?

The use you want to make of your Internet connection determines the Internet volume and Internet speed you want to choose:

  • In principle, in order to use the Internet and send e-mails an Internet speed of 1 Mbps is already sufficient;
  • If you want to play online with others, a higher Internet speed can be necessary depending on the nature of the game;
  • If you intend to upload large amounts of data on a regular basis, you should mind the speed with which you can send those data (“upload speed”);
  • If you want to stream or download a lot of videos and music make sure that the download volume is either large or unlimited.

The Internet speed required to watch videos depends on the kind of videos as well as on the provider of the Internet service involved. The best-known video platforms (e.g. YouTube) publish the recommended minimum Internet speeds on their web sites.

  • To play videos in standard quality (“SD” or “Standard Definition”), such as for online meetings, an Internet speed of 3-4 Mbps is sufficient in principle and sometimes even 1 Mbps is enough.
  • Nowadays however, most videos are broadcast in high resolution (“HD” or “High Definition”): HD video an Internet speed of 5 Mbps is usually sufficient.
  • In addition videos are also broadcast in very high resolution ((“4K” or “UHD” or “Ultra High Definition”): in principle those require Internet speeds of 15 to 25 Mbps.
  • Nevertheless a higher Internet speed is recommended to cope with variations in Internet speed. Especially for live broadcasts it can be necessary to add a few extra Mbps to the speed required.

What about the speed and volume when several family members use the Internet simultaneously?

The total Internet speed of a single connection that is required is the sum of the speeds of all applications used.

Let’s take the example of a 30 Mbps connection: if someone is reading his or her mail using 1 Mbps, this leaves 29 Mbps for the rest of the family. This can then for instance be divided among a 3 Mbps SD video on a family member’s laptop, a 15 Mbps live Ultra HD (high definition) quality on the television screen, etc. Consequently, the 30 Mbps speed is not divided equally among all end-users. The available speed will be divided in accordance with the speeds required by the applications on all the connected devices.
For example, 30 Mbps will not suffice to simultaneously watch several live videos in Ultra HD because that would require more than 30 Mbps.

What is the theoretical download speed?

The table below shows the theoretical download time for a number of Internet applications depending on the speed of the connection: 

Theoretical download speed

Internet usage

10 Mbps

30 Mbps

50 Mbps

100 Mbps

200 Mbps

1 Gbps

Downloading an average web page from a web site (2 MB)

1.6 sec

0.5 sec

0.3 sec

0.2 sec

0.08 sec

0.016 sec

Downloading music (5 MB)

4 sec

1.3 sec

0.8 sec

0.4 sec

0.2 sec

0.04 sec

Downloading a music video (25 MB)

20 sec

7 sec

4 sec

2 sec

1 sec

0.2 sec

Downloading a standard quality film (750 MB)

10 min

3.5 min

2 min

1 min

0.5 min

6 sec

Downloading a DVD-quality film (4 GB)

50 min

18 min

10 min

5 min

2.5 min

30 sec

Mind you: the Internet speed mentioned on the web sites of the operators is a theoretical maximum speed, which can only be reached in the very best of circumstances. The actual connection speed indeed depends on factors such as the distance from your home to the street cabinet, the number of persons using the network at the time of download or even the capacity of the distant server of the web site visited or the internet service used (in case of a large number of visitors the response may be slower).

Before signing the contract, you should ask your operator what the minimum speed will be that you will be entitled to for your line, taking account of your address.

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