Should you be concerned about going over 1 TB of data?

Robin Layton

Apr 10, 2023 — 3 min read

A data cap of 1 TB will likely take a long time to reach, but it still is possible to reach that much data in a month.

How much is 1 terabyte of data?

First, let’s define a terabyte. It is a measure of data used every time you connect to the internet. It’s larger than gigabytes (GB), megabytes (MB) and kilobytes (KB).

Here’s a list of data measurements from smallest to largest:

  • Kilobyte (KB)
  • Megabyte (MB) – 1,000 KB
  • Gigabyte (GB) – 1,000 MB
  • Terabyte (TB) – 1,000 GB
  • Petabyte (PB) – 1,000 TB

Internet provider data caps range from gigabytes to terabytes or unlimited plans. Factors like your internet service provider and household activity affect data usage. If you’re a single user, a smaller plan will work for you, but if you have multiple people connecting to the internet, choose a larger plan.

Maybe you spend most of your time gaming and streaming music and high-definition videos. If you’re an avid data user who uses 1 TB or more of data, select an unlimited plan and forget about tracking data.

Just a short year or two ago, most of us using the internet couldn’t fathom using 1 terabyte (TB) of data. However, that’s changed, as a recent report says that the monthly average of data consumed by internet users was 513.8 gigabytes (GB), or over half a terabyte, in the first quarter of 2022. This is up 11% from the 2021 fourth-quarter report.

According to a Fierce Telecom report, Frontier “CFO Scott Beasley said the average fiber customer on its network now consumes almost a terabyte (TB) of data each month.”

Every consumer struggles with data usage and selecting the right plan, so let’s find out just how much 1 terabyte of internet data is and if you should be concerned about going over that much data if your plan has a data cap. Internet service providers (ISP) caps are generally by month, so here are some of the activities you would have to do to use a terabyte a month:

  • Browse the web for over 20,000 hours
  • Game for 10,000 hours
  • Watch 300 hours of HD video

How long it takes to use 1 TB of data

AT&T’s internet data calculator shows you just how much it would take to use 1 TB of data. According to the calculator, you could do the following activities* and still use less than half of 1 TB of data in a month:

  • Send and receive 40,000 emails
  • Stream 8,500 hours of music
  • Surf the internet for 2,000 hours
  • Game for 16,500 hours
  • Stream high-def videos for 350 hours
  • Make 5,600 social media posts, with images

You would have to stream around 171 hours of 4K video monthly to reach 1 TB of data. That’s equivalent to you streaming six hours of 4K video daily for a month.

If you worry about data usage, take steps to manage it proactively. Try streaming standard-def videos instead of high-def or 4K videos and always check your data usage throughout the month. Here are more tips for managing your household data.

So, can you use 1 TB of data in a month? The answer is yes, with the gaining popularity of 4K video streaming, but it’s not likely the average user will run into this problem.

What can you do with 500 GB

Data usage rates for common internet activities

  • Browsing the web/social media for 200 hours – 3 GB
  • Streaming 200 hours of music – 0.8 GB
  • Streaming 50 hours of SD video – 35 GB
  • Streaming 20 hours of HD video – 50 GB
  • Downloading a full-length SD movie – 4 GB
  • Downloading a full-length HD movie – 10 GB
  • Downloading a video game – 40+ GB
Managing your data caps

Providers with data caps

Some ISPs have unlimited data caps, but most of them use around 1.25 TBs as the data limit per month. Read more about ISPs and data caps.


  • 10 to 100 Mbps plans: 50 GB/mo. (includes AT&T High Speed Internet Basic, Express, Pro, Elite, FastAccess® DSL Lite, DSL Ultra and Xtreme Pro)
  • Fixed wireless internet: 350 GB/mo.
  • Internet speed tiers 768 Kbps through 75 Mbps: 1 TB/mo.
  • Any fiber plans: Unlimited


  • Most plans, depending on location: Most customers who use more than 1.2 TB of data in a month for the first time will not be billed for exceeding the limit. After that, you can be charged up to $50/mo for going over 1.2 TB or you can add data for $30/mo. Charges will not exceed $100/mo., no matter how much data you use.


  • All plans: 1.25 TB data limit. $10 per additional 50 GB, up to $50/mo.


  • Access Internet 60: 200 GB
  • Internet 60: 350 GB
  • Internet 100: 500 to 1,000 GB
  • Internet 300: 2,000 GB
  • Gig Internet: 4,000 to 6,000 GB


  • 15 GB to 100 GB data limit; no hard limits. HughesNet provides an extra 50 GB of data each month, available between 2 to 8 a.m.

Terabyte FAQs

How many gigabytes are in a terabyte?

There are 1,000 GB in a TB. For scale, with a 1 GB plan, you can listen to eight hours of music, watch about an hour and a half of videos or spend about 10-12 hours surfing the internet.

A terabyte is a measurement of internet data. For size, one terabyte can hold 1,000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

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Robin Layton

Written by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

Robin Layton is an editor for the broadband marketplace Allconnect. She built her internet industry expertise writing and editing for four years on the site, as well as on Allconnect’s sister site … Read more