Internet data caps: Who has them, who doesn’t and what you need to know

Joe Supan

Mar 17, 2021 — 6 min read

Going over your internet data cap could cost you, depending on which provider you have. Keep up with who does and doesn’t have data caps.

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You’re streaming, surfing and downloading to your heart’s content until … Oh no, what is that? You’re about to hit your internet data cap.

It’s not uncommon for providers to have data caps on home internet, but it can be confusing.

If you’re not sure which internet service providers have data caps, how much going over your data may cost or how to get no data cap internet, then you’re in the right place.

Internet data caps by provider

Many providers offer options to pre-purchase additional data if you know you’re going to use a lot for the month or add unlimited data to your plan. For instance, if your Buckeye data usage is going to be high one month, you can pre-purchase an additional 150GB of data for $15 — same price as the overage fee, but triple the data.

Brands, like AT&T, which already offers 1TB internet, offer options to add unlimited data on select plans for a monthly fee, while for others, like Spectrum, data caps don’t exist. Some providers, like Verizon Fios, don’t have fees for going over your data cap, but may discontinue your service if you habitually exceed your data limit.

What to know about internet data caps

Data caps are provider-imposed limits on the amount of data you’re able to transfer while completing activities online. The amount of data you use depends on your online activities.

For instance, sending and receiving emails may only use a few megabytes of data whereas streaming one hour of TV or movies in HD on Netflix uses up to 3GB of data. Imposing data caps or throttling your internet use is an internet service provider’s way of discouraging excessive use and taxing their bandwidth.

However, as interest in streaming services continues to grow, customers may think twice about which internet service provider they choose based on internet data limits.

According to Statista, the number of Netflix streaming subscribers in the U.S. has grown from 21.45 million in Q3 of 2011 to 73.94 in Q4 of 2020. So, between multiple streaming sources, online gaming, shopping online and more, do you need to be concerned about going over a 1TB internet data cap? Probably not.

A data cap of 1TB would let you stream every episode of “The Office” in HD — about 99 hours — more than three times every month.

If you are still concerned that your Netflix binges may send you over a data cap, you can follow our tips on streaming under a data cap, monitoring your data usage or take a look at which providers have internet data caps or offer no data cap internet.

Internet data cap details by provider

Providers who do have data limits often give more data to plans with faster internet speeds. As mentioned above, some providers allow you to upgrade to unlimited data while others may discontinue your service and still others may give you “courtesy months” with notices, but no data fees.

Click the following links to jump straight to a provider’s section:

AT&T data caps

AT&T allows 150GB data cap for DSL customers, 350GB per month for fixed wireless internet service and 1TB or unlimited data for its fiber plans. Customers who opt for AT&T’s Internet 1000 or Internet 500 plans or a bundle with DIRECTV, will get unlimited datga. Going over your AT&T data cap will result in a $10 per 50GB of data charge, or you can add unlimited data for an additional $30/mo.

Buckeye Broadband data caps

Buckeye Broadband has data caps of 250GB on their Starter Internet, Essential Internet and Ultimate Internet plans, and you’ll get unlimited data on its 1,000 Mbps plan. Buckeye Broadband customers who go over their data limit will be charged $15 per additional 50GB of data. Or, you can pre-purchase an extra 150GB of data for $15/mo. or upgrade to unlimited data for $30/mo.

Customers who exceed the 1TB CenturyLink data cap are subject to CenturyLink’s High-Speed Internet Subscriber Agreement. If you exceed the data limits, CenturyLink may discontinue service after three months of excessive use without following their notices or guidance. Customers on CenturyLink’s Gig plan will get unlimited data.

Cox data caps

All Cox internet plans come with 1.25TB of data. Customers who exceed the Cox data cap will be charged $10 for each additional 50GB block of data. Cox also gives the option to purchase an additional 500GB each month for $30/mo. or add unlimited data for $50/mo.

Frontier data caps

Frontier internet plans have no data caps or restrictions.

HughesNet data caps

HughesNet does things a little differently. All of their plans are 25 Mbps download speed, but where they vary is the amount of data you get each month. HughesNet data caps range from 10GB for $59.99/mo. to 50GB for $149.99/mo. There are no hard data limits, though. Exceeding your plan will instead result in reduced speeds, typically 1-3 Mbps.

MCTV data caps

MCTV internet plans have no data caps or restrictions.

Mediacom data caps

Mediacom data caps vary widely based on the plan ranging anywhere from 200 to 350GB for lower-level plans to well over 1TB (1,000GB) upwards of 6TB for higher-tier plans. There’s no option to add unlimited data, but with 1TB or more, you should be OK. Going over your Mediacom data cap will result in a charge of $10 per additional 50GB of data.

  • 200GB data cap for Access Internet 60 plan
  • 350GB data cap for Internet 60 plan
  • 500 to 1,000GB data cap for Internet 100 plan
  • 2,000GB data cap for Internet 300 plan
  • 4,000 to 6,000GB data cap for 1 Gig Internet plan

Optimum data caps

Optimum internet plans have no hard data limits; however, Optimum and their parent company, Altice, may impose limits for customers who violate their excessive use policy.

Shentel data caps

Shentel data limits vary based on your plan, ranging from 200GB of data for the 3 Mbps plan to 1TB of data for the 150 Mbps plan. Going over your Shentel data cap will result in a charge of $10 per additional 50GB of data, or new customers can choose to add unlimited data for $30/mo.

  • 200GB data cap for 3 Mbps plan
  • 250GB data cap for 5 Mbps plan
  • 300GB data cap for 10 Mbps plan
  • 400GB data cap for 25 Mbps plan
  • 500GB data cap for 50 Mbps plan
  • 750GB data cap for 101 Mbps plan
  • 1TB data cap for 150 Mbps plan

Spectrum data caps

Spectrum internet plans have no data caps or restrictions.

Suddenlink data limits apply to their lower-tier plans. The Internet 100 plan comes with a 250GB data cap while the Internet 400 and Internet 1 Gig plans have unlimited data. There’s no option to add unlimited data to a plan and exceeding your Suddenlink data cap will result in a charge of $15 per additional 50GB of data.

Verizon Fios data caps

Verizon Fios internet plans have no data caps or restrictions.

Windstream data caps

Windstream internet plans have no data caps or restrictions.

Xfinity data caps

Most Xfinity internet plans come with a 1TB data cap, while the Gigabit Pro plans come with unlimited data. Customers can add unlimited data for $50/mo. otherwise if you exceed your Xfinity data cap you’ll be charged $10 per additional 50GB of data.

Data caps on home internet FAQs

Which providers have internet data caps?

The following providers have varying data caps on their internet plans:

  • AT&T
  • Buckeye Broadband
  • CenturyLink
  • Cox
  • HughesNet
  • Mediacom
  • Shentel
  • Suddenlink
  • Xfinity

You can get no data cap internet from the following providers:

  • Frontier
  • MCTV
  • Optimum
  • Spectrum
  • Verizon Fios
  • Windstream

You can add unlimited data to select plans from the following providers:

  • AT&T
  • Buckeye Broadband
  • Cox
  • Shentel
  • Xfinity
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Joe Supan

Written by:

Joe Supan

Senior Writer, Broadband Content

Joe oversees all things broadband for Allconnect. His work has been referenced by Yahoo!, Lifehacker and more. He has utilized thousands of data points to build a library of metrics to help users navigate these … Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

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