What speed and what volume do I need?

Depending on what use you want to make of your Internet connection, specific bit rates or bandwidths are recommended:

  • Do you chiefly want to surf and mail?
    In that case a 1 to 2 Mbps bit rate is enough.
  • Do you want to download movies and music?
    In that case a minimum bit rate of 10 Mbps may be useful. Make sure that the downloadable volume is high or unlimited.
  • Do you want to play online games with others?
    Then a higher speed may be needed, depending on the type of game.
  • Do you want to watch Internet television?
    In that case your provider may not leave you the choice of the type of connection.

If you intend to put large quantities of content on the Internet, you should mind the upload speed.

Beware: if your Internet connection at home is used simultaneously by several people, this can influence the average speed. 

In the table below you can find the theoretical download time for several Internet applications, depending on the speed of your connection.

 Theoretical download speed

Using the web

2 Mbps

8 Mbps

24 Mbps

50 Mbps

Downloading a web page from a site (250 kB)

1 second

0.3 seconds

0.1 second

< 0.1 second

Downloading a song (5 MB)

21 seconds

5 seconds

2 seconds

1 second

Downloading a music video (25 MB)

1 minute 45 seconds

26 seconds

9 seconds

4 seconds

Downloading a low-quality movie (750 MB)

52 minutes

13 minutes 6 seconds

4 minutes 22 seconds

2 minutes

Downloading a DVD-quality movie (4 GB)

4 hours 48 minutes

1 hour 11 minutes

24 minutes

11 minutes

Source: BIPT

Beware: you provider can only give you a maximum speed for your connection. This means that the speed advertised will only be reached in optimum conditions.

The real connection speed depends on factors such as the distance from your home to the telephone exchange, the number of persons using the network at the time of download or even the capacity of the distant server (if visited massively, the response may be slower).

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

In the table below you can find the average volume needed for the most common applications :

Table with average volumes needed by common applications

BIPT Council Decision of 4 December 2012