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

Robin Layton

Nov 2, 2020 — 3 min read

We're using more data than ever on the internet; how can you track your use and avoid fees?

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 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 TB of internet data is and if you should be concerned about going over that much data if your plan has a data cap.

How much is 1 TB of data?

First, let’s define a TB. 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 GB to TB 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.

Here are providers with data caps:


  • 50 GB/mo. for DSL (includes AT&T High Speed Internet Basic, Express, Pro, Elite, FastAccess® DSL Lite, DSL Ultra and Xtreme Pro)
  • 350 GB/mo. for fixed wireless internet
  • 1 TB/mo. if you have AT&T Internet speed tiers 768 Kbps through 75 Mbps (Note: Starting Oct. 16, 2022, AT&T increased the monthly data allowance for AT&T Internet Basic 768 Kbps to 75 Mbps. Existing data allowances increased from 1 TB to 1.5 TB in bill periods starting on or after Oct. 16, 2022, for the next month’s usage).
  • AT&T does have unlimited plans for Internet 100 and higher or if you purchased the unlimited usage add-on for $30/mo. for a plan.


  • 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 the first time going over, blocks of 50 GB will automatically be added to your account for an additional fee of $10 each plus tax.
  • Charges will not exceed $100/mo., no matter how much data you use.


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


  • 200 MB to 6 GB, depending on the plan.
  • $10 per additional 50 GB.


  • 15 GB to 75 GB data limit, depending on the plan.
  • HughesNet does provide an extra 50 GB of data each month available between the hours of 2-8 a.m.

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 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
  • Post to social media for 5,600 hours

You would have to stream around 171 hours of 4K video monthly to reach 1 TB of data. That’s equivalent to you streaming 6 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

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Robin Layton

Written by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

Robin Layton is an editor with Allconnect. She works closely with the content team writers to ensure consumers get a fair and balanced reporting of the state of broadband services to help them understand the pro… Read more

Camryn Smith

Edited by:

Camryn Smith

Associate Writer

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