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The length of time it takes to download something depends on the speed of your broadband connection.Obviously the faster the connection, the quicker the download will be. The time also varies depending on the size of the file, which may range from 250 Kilobytes (KB) to well over 4 Gigabytes (GB).

The following statistics are Ofcom stats on how long it takes to download different files at varying speeds:

Headline Connection Speed
  56Kbit/s 512Kbit/s 2Mbit/s 8Mbit/s 24Mbit/s
Download graphical webpage (250kB) 36 Seconds 4 seconds 1 second 0.3 seconds 0.1 seconds
Download 5MB music track 12 minutes 1 minute 18 seconds 20 seconds 5 seconds 2 seconds
Download 25MB video clip 1 hour 6 minutes 31 seconds 1 minute 40 seconds 25 seconds 8 seconds
Download low quality movie (750MB) 29+ hours 3 hours 15 minutes 50 minutes 12 minutes 30 seconds 4 minutes 10 seconds
Download DVD-quality movie (4GB) 6+ days 17 hours 22 minutes 4 hours 27 minutes 67 minutes 22 minutes
Source: The Communications Market: Broadband, Ofcom (2007)

This shows only the estimated times, so times may fluctuate depending on the file and the ‘busyness’ of your line.

The graph shows dial-up taking extortionate amounts of time to download files, but also does not take into account the likelihood of losing connection, a problem predominately occurring with dial-up.

With faster speeds, particularly around 20Mb/s, you may be thinking “fantastic, I can now download loads of films as I have unlimited broadband and it takes no time to download”… but be careful of your broadband provider’ss FUP (Fair Usage Policy) which limits the downloads you can make. Most providers limit the amount of downloads to between 30GB to 60GB per month.

Virtually all internet providers have an FUP, so if you are a heavy downloader, check how much you can download, as your service is unlikely to be entirely unlimited.

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