Table of Contents
- Internet Providers and their Data Caps
- Is Unlimited Data Really Unlimited?
- What if I Cross My Data Limit?
- How Many Internet MBs Do You Need?
- What Type of Internet Usage Consumes Most of Your Data?
- Does Uncapped Means Unlimited?
- How Do I Get Around Internet Data Caps?
- Bottom Line
From sending emails to streaming Netflix, all online activities require internet data, but regularly downloading heavy files and streaming HD videos probably uses up most of your data.
Many ISPs enforce data limits, but not every provider does so. With rapid advancements in internet technologies, providers are increasing their data ceilings or eliminating them altogether and providing unlimited high-speed internet plans.
Internet plan with unlimited data means you would not have to pay any extra charges no matter how much data you consume. So, you can use as much data for your online activities as you want, as long as you are subscribed to that unlimited data plan. But if you abuse your privilege, you might have to get out of the plan as per the clause mentioned in the contract.
Internet Providers and their Data Caps
Some providers like Optimum, Frontier FiberOptic, Spectrum, RCN, and MetroNet Internet offer unlimited data with all of their internet plans. While others like CenturyLink, Suddenlink, AT&T, and Wave Broadband only provide unlimited internet on high-tier plans. Also, internet providers like Cox and Xfinity offer subscribers an unlimited data add-on option at an extra monthly charge.
Here is a list of some of the top internet service providers who offer unlimited data caps:
|Internet Providers||Data Cap|
Is Unlimited Data Really Unlimited?
An unlimited data allowance in your internet plan means you may use internet data without worrying about exceeding data limits and paying a data overage fee as a penalty. So, you can use as much data for your online activities as you want, as long as you are subscribed to that unlimited data plan.
What if I Cross My Data Limit?
Well, the consequences vary depending on your service provider’s conditions.
Frontier FiberOptic does not include data caps in most of its plans. However, if your area only has access to Frontier satellite internet plans, then you will experience data caps. If you exceed your Frontier satellite internet data limit, you will experience reduced speeds. You can buy and allocate Restore Tokens to get rid of speed restrictions.
Most Xfinity plans come with a 1.2 TB data cap, which are quite hard to beat. However, Xfinity non-Internet Essentials and non-Internet Essentials Partnership Program customers may purchase an unlimited data allowance by paying an additional $30/mo. For light internet users, who do not consume more than 5 GB, Xfinity offers a flexible data option in which you get a $5 credit every month. Xfinity will not bill you for the initial two months when you surpass its 1.2 TB data cap, but after that, it will charge you $10 for every additional 50 GB consumed. You can log in to your Xfinity account and check your data usage. Xfinity also sends in-browser notifications and emails when you are approaching your data limit.
CenturyLink would not impose any fine for exceeding your data limit. But, it will ask you to decrease your internet usage or upgrade your plan. Most CenturyLink plans include a data cap of 1,024 GB. Only subscribers of the Fiber Gigabit plan get to enjoy unlimited internet.
Cox includes a data limit of 1.25 TB on all of its internet plans. However, it gives you an option to buy an extra 500 GB by paying $29.99/mo. or get unlimited data by paying $49.99 monthly charges. On exceeding your monthly data limit, Cox will give you an extra 50 GB data block at an additional cost of $10. You can use Cox Connect App or log into your account to check your data usage meter. Whenever you hit 85%, 100%, and 125% data levels, Cox will notify you through emails and text messages to warn you.
How Many Internet MBs Do You Need?
While every internet user will have his own definition of a good internet speed depending on their online lifestyle, here are some basic guidelines regarding different internet speeds and what stuff they can handle:
|Internet Speed||Recommended Number of Devices/Users||Quality of Speed|
|25 Mbps||1 – 2||Basic|
|100 Mbps||3 – 4||Average|
|200 Mbps||4 – 5||Fast|
|500 Mbps||5+||Very Fast|
|1000 Mbps or 1 Gbps||5+||Gigabit|
Have a look at some average minimum download speed requirements for your daily online activities:
- Surf the web, send and receive emails: 1 to 5 Mbps
- Stream videos in HD format: 15 to 25 Mbps
- Stream videos in 4K format and play games online: 40 to 100 Mbps
- Stream videos in 4K format, play games online, and download heavy files: At least 200 Mbps
What Type of Internet Usage Consumes Most of Your Data?
According to Netflix, streaming in Full HD and 4K Ultra HD for an hour consumes almost 3 GB and 7 GB, respectively. So, with the most commonly available data cap of 1,024 GB (1 TB), you can enjoy 333 streaming hours of Full HD or 143 streaming hours in 4K Ultra HD every month. That is a lot of data for those who do not live with a large family or who are not Netflix binge-watchers.
Does Uncapped Means Unlimited?
Uncapped means there are no limits at all, but once you reach the threshold level, you will experience reduced speed.
How Do I Get Around Internet Data Caps?
Technically, you cannot bypass your internet data caps. But, if you realize that you are crossing your data limits on a regular basis, you may enable data compression on your browser, use a VPN with compression, or install data-saving apps.
There you are!
Now that you have learned the basics about data caps, unlimited internet plans, and speed you need for your daily online activities, it is high time you should check if your current internet service provider is delivering enough speeds along with generous data caps to perfectly meet the needs of your entire household and that too at a reasonable price.
And remember what may be perfect for a small household with light internet usage or solitary individual, may not be a suitable option for a big family with heavy internet needs or a home-based online business. We would recommend you take your time to think this through and keep all available unlimited data options in view of your budget and requirements before making a final decision.