Internet Data Caps – Should You Ever Exceed them?

data caps

While you are choosing the Internet Service Provider, you must bear in mind that “data caps” tend to be one major determinant of the right ISP. You cannot rely on a provider just because it offers blazing fast internet speeds. These internet speeds are of no use – if the allowed data limit is significantly less. Moreover, the data caps are very important and have a massive impact on your internet experience.

To help you in this regard, we have collected all the information relating to data caps and ranges that you should know while switching to a different provider. It is always advisable to go with packages such as spectrum internet packages that do not have any data limitations.

What are data caps?

In simpler words, one can say that data caps are data usage limits in case of a cable, DSL, fiber-optic, and satellite connection: just like you purchase mobile data and certain GBs are added into your subscription bundles. Once you have them, you can use the internet as long as you have some data left. However, as soon as you run short of the data, you cannot stream or browse anything.

Streaming and browsing over the internet includes everything – be it watching something on Netflix or simply using Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform. Some providers do not go by the data caps or data limits. Instead, they use different names for the same thing, and that’s “fair use policy,” and “monthly usage allowance,” etc.

Some of the Internet Service Providers do not slow down your internet speeds but send you a warning alternatively stating that you have reached the limit. If you continue to use the internet, and the usage surpasses the data caps, they will charge you extra in your next bill.

Why do the providers use data caps?

They use data caps merely because they can! There can be no answer simpler than this. However, if we actually look into it from a skeptical point of view – then the fair use policy is fully justified. The Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can produce a limited Internet bandwidth and capacity. Therefore, they impose certain limitations on users – so that their usage does not cause slow internet speeds for other users out there.

According to the ISPs, these data caps aim to provide better and faster internet services to their customers, and they are pretty much succeeding in it. However, spectrum internet packages manage to do so without any apparent data caps.

Some of the ISPs in the USA are exploiting this situation and are using relatively smaller data caps rather than upgrading their infrastructure that manages extensive internet usage. The consumer must make sure that he does not take internet services from an ISP that offers internet plans below 600 GB. The reason is – the 600 GB is a minimal data cap and will blow through your allowed limit just by using Netflix – or simply browsing through Instagram.

If you feel uncomfortable with the data caps and restrictions imposed by the ISP, you should better look for ISPs with unlimited data limits. And, to your relief, such plans are available. For example, Spectrum and Frontier have no data caps or limits. Even if they have a fair usage policy, it goes as far as 1024 GB of data, and that doesn’t end so quickly – except that you stream ULTRA HD all day long!

Internet Service Providers and their Data Caps

ISPs Data Caps Overcharge
AT&T 1024 GB or 1 TB(Unlimited) $10 per 50 GB Block
Frontier Practically Unlimited None
Spectrum Practically Unlimited None
Xfinity 1228 GB (Unlimited) $10 per 50 GB Block


AT&T Internet Plans according to Data Caps

AT&T Plans Data Caps
AT&T Internet 1024 GB or 1 TB
Internet 300 1024 GB or 1 TB
Internet 1000 Unlimited
Internet and TV Bundles Unlimited


Tracking down your AT&T Internet Data Caps

AT&T will provide you an estimation of how much data you are consuming after you log into your account. You will receive an official Email from AT&T notifying you that you have used 65%, 90%, and 100% of your data, respectively.

This is somehow tolerable and near to what spectrum internet packages offer their customers.

When you get the AT&T internet connection for up to two bills, you will receive notices and warnings, but they won’t charge you. However, in the third bill, they will charge $10 for an additional 50 GB internet block. After the third bill, AT&T will impose a fine of $100 to $200 as an overuse charge.

Xfinity Internet Plans according to Data Caps

AT&T Plans Data Caps
Usual AT&T Plans 1,228 GB
Gigabit Pro Unlimited


Tracking down your Xfinity Internet Data Caps

For the first two months, Xfinity will not charge you even if you exceed 1,228 GB. However, after that, Xfinity will charge $10 for an additional 50 GB of data that can go up to $200 per month. Moreover, Xfinity will send you emails and in-browser notices when you are near to reaching your data caps. Hence, in this way, you can prevent any overuse of internet data.

The Verdict

To your surprise, some of the users do not use as much internet that their limit reaches somewhat near to the data caps. However, 1 TB is now reachable, provided that we stream 4K videos and play heavy action games that consume a lot of data and internet speed.

Hence, 1 TB data caps can be sufficient in many average and usual households. For heavy gamers or professional purposes, it is suggestive that you go with unlimited data caps such as those provided by spectrum internet packages.

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