Music Tech

How Much Of Your Broadband Allowance Does Internet Radio Consume?

Thecomparison-logo+Andy Heaps of has over 15 years of practical experience in the telecoms industry and specializes in broadband.

Internet radio is becoming more and more popular and this has seen a rise in the amount of people who are listening to the radio via their computers. This includes live streams of traditional radio broadcasters as well as music sites such as Pandora. A recent survey has indicated that internet radio usage in the United States around 60 million people listen to internet radio, a figure which is expected to rise to as much as 77 million by 2015.

Now that Google and Apple are launching their own online music services, the rise in internet radio usage is only going to keep growing in the foreseeable future, and that could mean a rise in the amount of people who are using up all of their monthly data allowance before the end of the month.

The downside to this popularity is the problem of data limits that a lot of broadband providers place on their service, and someone who wants to listen to internet radio for long periods of time each day, could very well find that they eat up their data allowance very quickly indeed. And if you are not careful, you will find you are going to get a hefty bill for exceeding your monthly data limit from your internet provider.

The thing about internet radio broadcasts is that they use more bandwidth the higher the quality is, and therefore that has a knock-on effect of using more data more quickly. Internet radio transmissions are typically downloaded in Kilobytes per second (Kbps) and the standard speed of an internet radio transmission comes in at around 128 to 320 Kilobytes per second.

In order to work out how much data your internet radio hobby is going to use up, you can use a simple calculation. If you download an internet radio transmission that comes in at 128 Kilobytes per second for 60 minutes then you will have used 57.6 Megabytes of data in that 1 hour. If you stream an hours worth of internet per day for 30 days then you would have eaten up 1.7 Gigabytes of data, and of course, the higher the quality of the broadcast, the more data you will be using up. For example, a 320 Kilobytes download will use up a whopping 140.62 Gigabytes per hour and that works out at a data munching 4.2 Gigabytes of internet usage in 30 days. So as you can see, even for one hour per day for a month, you are looking at quite a considerable amount of your monthly data allowance being used each month.

With more and more companies imposing data limits on their internet services then ever before, it can be difficult for radio lovers to use the internet for listening to the radio for any length of time. That is why it is important to find a broadband provider that offers unlimited internet usage each month, and if you are not on an unlimited plan, and you love listening to radio via the internet, then now is the time to switch. There are still a number of broadband providers who have tariffs that include unlimited internet usage, however, these do come at a cost, and you are likely to find that you are paying more each month than you were on your limited plan.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Share on:


  1. I use around 3.5 GB of data per month. It’s safe to say music consumes at least 2.5 of that. Hopefully the tech sector will push wireless carriers to upgrade their infrastructure, raise data ceilings, and improve speed.

  2. kbps is kiloBITS per second, not kiloBYTES. This makes some difference because the first is a measure of data transfer/processing, and the second is a measure of data storage. When it comes to counting data usage on a wireless or wireline data plan, keeping the two straight makes a difference because 1000 kbps = 1 Mbps, while 1024 KB = 1 MB.

  3. When I am away from home (normally just weekends) I take my iPad with me. It has an app for my favourite radio station.
    I use it mainly for e-mails and web browsing, but daren’t use the radio app because I don’t know how much data it is using. I pay for 1Gb per month.
    I have no idea what speed the station downloads at – is there any easy way of finding the speed?

  4. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about bandwidth, since my mobile phone subscription includes unlimited data usage. On average I use probably over 2 GB per day in total, out of which only a small fraction is used for music and podcasts.

  5. “For example, a 320 Kilobytes download will use up a whopping 140.62 Gigabytes per hour and that works out at a data munching 4.2 Gigabytes of internet usage in 30 days.”
    An average audio stream of 128 Kbps will use about 16 Kilobytes of data per second.
    So an hour of streaming at 128 Kbps will use about 56.25 Megabytes of data.

  6. I am lost! 128 Kbps = 128×8= 1024KBps So, one minute takes up 1024×60= 61440KB and I hour uses 61440×60=3686400KB = 3.7MB in an hour. Where am I wrong, please?

Comments are closed.