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Which Internet Service Providers Have Data Caps?

Most fiber internet providers have unlimited data, but some cable internet still has caps

birds eye view of family on couch using multiple devices

Home internet plans with strict data caps can interrupt every part of your digital life. That’s because you need data for everything from scrolling Instagram to accessing smart speakers and streaming Netflix.

If you have a plan with a data cap and you’re not careful, you could get extra charges on your monthly bill. Even worse, your speeds could slow down dramatically at the end of every month.

The good news is that more and more internet providers are offering unlimited data plans. Even if you have a plan with a data cap, you’re likely to get at least 1TB of data per month–and that’s still enough for most households.

See below for a list of major providers that offer all-you-can-eat data with unlimited plans. We also have a list of providers with data caps, plus the overage fees you’ll pay for each.

Want more internet data every month?

Type in your zip code below to find providers with no data caps in your area.

Which internet service providers have unlimited data?

These providers all offer unlimited data on their internet plans. You never have to worry about overage charges or throttled speeds.

ProviderType of serviceMonthly data capSee plans
T-Mobile Home Internet 5GUnlimited
Fiber, 5GUnlimited
4G LTE, 5G, FiberUnlimited
Frontier DSL, FiberUnlimitedSee Plans
FiberUnlimited
DSLUnlimited
Windstream DSL, FiberUnlimitedSee Plans
Spectrum CableUnlimitedSee Plans
Optimum Cable, FiberUnlimitedSee Plans
WOW! CableUnlimitedSee Plans
Breezeline FiberUnlimitedSee Plans
Ziply Fiber DSL, FiberUnlimitedSee Plans
FiberUnlimited
Brightspeed DSL, FiberUnlimitedSee Plans
EarthLink DSL, FiberUnlimitedSee Plans
Cable, FiberUnlimited*

How much data do you need?

You need at least 600GB of data per month to do all the activities you usually do online without worrying about overage charges or network slowdowns. That could include anything from firing off tweets to downloading video games to streaming movies and shows.

Most internet providers give their customers 1TB of data to use per month. But some plans come with much less data than that, so watch out in case you use too much data. Be especially mindful of your data usage with satellite internet, fixed wireless internet, and cell phones.

What happens if you go over your data cap?

If you run out of data, you will likely be charged extra for any additional data you use. Internet providers that impose data caps usually charge $10 for every 50GB of data you go over your monthly limit.

You also may see drastically slowed speeds on your internet connection when you exceed your monthly data limit. Rather than charge you for excess data usage, cell phone companies and satellite internet providers typically “deprioritize” a user who has exceeded their cap, so that their web traffic gets moved to the back of line on the network behind other users. That slows your Wi-Fi to a crawl and makes it hard to do all but the most minimal tasks online.

Internet providers with data caps and throttling

Some of the biggest internet providers nationwide have data caps on their plans. Data caps are most common with cable and satellite internet providers—the latter of which have especially strict caps.

ProviderType of serviceMonthly data capOverage feesSee plans
Xfinity Cable1.2TB$10/50GBSee Plans
Cox Communications Cable1.28TB$10/50GBSee Plans
Xtream Powered by Mediacom Cable, Fiber350GB-1TB$20/50GBSee Plans
Buckeye Broadband Cable, Fiber250 GB–Unlimited$15/50 GBSee Plans
Sparklight Cable700GB–UnlimitedThrottling after 5TB on most plansSee Plans
Rise Broadband Fixed Wireless250GB–Unlimited$7.50/10GBSee Plans

If you’re worried about running out, don’t worry too much. Many providers let you buy more data, and some offer an unlimited data option for an extra fee on top of your monthly bill.

Data caps for satellite internet

Two of the three satellite internet in the US have very strict data caps. Since a satellite internet connection comes down from space, the provider has limited capacity to deliver fast speeds and plentiful data. That means you’ll have to be more budget-conscious about how much data you use.

With legacy satellite internet providers Hughesnet and Viasat, you get a small amount of high-speed data upfront. Once you use that up, your internet speeds will be reduced significantly—usually to around 1–3Mbps. The one benefit to this approach is it means you won’t get charged extra for exceeding your cap.

Starlink, on the other hand, has unlimited standard data for its residential plans but massive upfront equipment charges. If you need a plan for business or roaming, tiered pricing for priority data applies.

ProviderMonthly data capOverage feesSee plans
Starlink UnlimitedNone
10GB–50GB (followed by internet slowdown)None
60 GB–200GB (followed by internet slowdown)None

How much data do you need working or studying from home?

Each month, you’ll need enough data to attend Zoom meetings, work over Google Docs, collaborate with classmates or coworkers, and do everything else you usually do online. Streaming video and game downloads take up a lot of data, but even scrolling social media and checking email uses some.

You need an average of 600GB of data per month to avoid exceeding your data cap while using the internet to work and study from home. Most providers offer at least that much data, but there are exceptions.

Reasons for needing unlimited data

In fact, most national providers offer at least 1TB a month of data, which is plenty for a relatively small household of one to four people. You should seek out a higher data allowance, though, if you live with a lot of people, have gigabit speeds, or spend a lot of time doing high-data activities.

Reasons for needing unlimited data (or more than 1TB of data per month):

  • You live with five or more people
  • You regularly stream video in 4K
  • You have multiple people in your household who regularly attend Zoom meetings
  • You regularly host livestreams

You can find more information about managing your data budget further down on this page.

Find the best internet providers in your area:

Are there any internet providers with unlimited data near you?

  • No data cap

Does AT&T have data caps?

AT&T has no data caps for its fiber internet plans. You get unlimited data with any of AT&T fiber internet plans, which range in speeds from 300Mbps to 5Gbps.

  • Data cap: 100GB–Unlimited
  • Buy additional data for $10–$20 on 4G LTE plans

Does T-Mobile Home Internet have data caps?

T-Mobile’s standard 5G home internet has unlimited data, and that’s what most customers will get. However, if your home can get only T-Mobile Internet Lite, which works on 4G LTE networks, you’ll have a cap of between 100GB and 300GB (depending on your plan). You can buy extra blocks of data for $10 or $20, depending on how much you need.

  • Data dap: 1.2TB
  • Overage fees: $10 per 50GB

Does Xfinity have data caps?

Xfinity has a data cap of 1.2 TB per month, with an overage fee of $10.00 per each additional 50 GB. However, Xfinity will let a month of overages slide before it starts charging fees.

You can get the Unlimited Data option on any plan for an extra $30 per month. If you’re using more than 250 GB of extra data consistently, this option works out to be cheaper than paying the overages. If you go with Xfinity’s xFi Complete plan, you can get unlimited data for just $25 per month.

Data limits with Xfinity are not applicable for Gigabit Pro plans or in the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Does Verizon Home Internet have data caps?

Verizon Fios home internet doesn’t have any data caps. You also get freedom from contracts and symmetrical fiber internet speeds.

Verizon 5G Home Internet also gives you unlimited data each month. You won’t need to worry about overage charges and you can use all the data you like whether your home internet from Verizon is  5G or 4G LTE.

It’s worth mentioning, however, that Verizon mobile phone plans may have data limits. Make sure you’re getting a home internet plan from Verizon if you plan to use it full-time.

  • No data caps

Does Frontier have data caps?

Nope, Frontier doesn’t have any data caps. Customers are free to download as many 40GB video games they want without worrying about going over a limit—no strings attached.

  • No data caps

Does Google Fiber have data caps?

Google Fiber doesn’t have data caps. Yay! Feel free to use as much data as you like.

  • No data cap

Does Spectrum have data caps?

Spectrum does not enforce data caps, and doesn’t plan to do so in the future. It tried to back in 2021, but the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) didn’t allow it and the provider has since changed its tune.

  • No data cap

Does Windstream have data caps?

Windstream doesn’t have any data caps or usage limits in place, even on its DSL plans. This is a refreshing stance in an industry that usually has fine print and hidden clauses.

  • Data cap: 250GB (Starter, Essential, and Ultimate plans), unlimited (Supreme and Gig Plus plans)

Does Buckeye Broadband have data caps?

Yes, Buckeye Broadband has a very low data cap of just 250GB per month for its Starter Internet, Essential Internet, and Ultimate Internet plans.

However, the Supreme and Gig Plus plans both come with unlimited data.

When you exceed your monthly cap (and, let’s face it, you definitely will with a data cap of just 250GB), you have to pay $15 for every additional 50GB of data you use. To keep that from happening, you can “pre-purchase” 150GB of data for $15 or add on unlimited to your plan for an extra $30 per month.

  • No data cap

Does Astound Broadband have data caps?

No, Astound Broadband doesn’t have data caps in any of the areas it serves, including each of its regional networks: RCN, Wave, Grand, and enTouche.

In all cases, speeds may slow after 2TB of data usage each month.

  • Data cap: 1.28TB
  • Overage fees: $10 per 50GB

Does Cox have data caps?

Cox has a 1.28TB data cap for all internet plans. 1.28TB is fairly generous, although it’s still possible for heavy streamers to exceed this. If you do, you will pay t $10 for each 50GB of extra data you use, up to a max $100 per month.

Unlimited data costs an extra $40–$60 per month.

  • No data caps

Does Optimum have data caps?

Optimum does not have data caps. It may crack down on data usage that it considers “excessive,” slowing your speed or suspending your account. For most users, though, it’s unlimited all the way.

  • Data cap: 200GB–6TB
  • Overage fees: $10 per 50GB

Does Mediacom have data caps?

Yes, Mediacom has data caps. They vary widely from package to package.

The cheapest package gives you just 350GB per month, but you get a ton more data on faster plans. Mediacom’s gigabit plan gives you 3,000GB (or 3TB) per month, which basically amounts to unlimited data for most users. If you spring for the 1GIG Unlimited plan, there are no data caps to worry about.

On all other plans, Mediacom charges $10 per 50GB of data over the cap.

  • Priority data cap: 10GB–50GB
  • Additional priority data: $9–$75

Does Hughesnet have data caps?

Yes, HughesNet has data caps on priority data, with options of 300GB, 100GB, and 200GB per month. However, it works a bit differently than other providers. You won’t be charged an overage fee for exceeding your limit. Instead, the provider throttles your connection speed down to 1–3Mbps. Whether this is better than paying a fee for more data at full speed is a matter of opinion, but 3Mbps is barely fast enough to check simple emails, and streaming is out of the question.

Buying additional priority data tokens costs anywhere from $9 to $75 depending on the amount of extra data you’re trying to purchase.

  • Priority data cap: 60GB–500GB
  • Additional priority data: $10/GB

Does Viasat have data caps?

Viasat says it has unlimited data, but it still has limits on data usage. But you don’t get punished with overage charges like you would with a cable or DSL provider. Instead you’ll just have to deal with a really slow connection.

The amount of GB you get from Viasat depends on your plan. If you go over, Viasat will lay down the law by “deprioritizing” your traffic. That means when you click on a video or email, it will send a request to Viasat’s network. Viasat will then push you to the bottom of the list to make way for internet users who haven’t yet used up their allotted GB for the month.

It’s basically the satellite internet equivalent of the doorman at a fancy nightclub making you wait in line as he opens the velvet rope for dozens of well-dressed VIPs. Technically you’re getting “unlimited” internet, but in practice you’ll be the scrub standing outside in the rain.

  • Data cap: 70GB–Unlimited
  • Overage fees: None

Does Sparklight have data caps?

Some of Sparklight’s eight plans come with unlimited data, but others have data caps as low as 700GB. Even on the “unlimited” Freedom Direct plans, your speeds could be throttled after 5TB per month. That’s a colossal amount of data (and more than almost anyone would need), but data hogs beware.

Since this cable internet provider operates in 24 states, the specific plan available to you will depend on where you live.

  • No data caps

Does Brightspeed have data caps?

Brightspeed offers mostly DSL internet, with fiber-to-the-home internet options in limited areas. Like with many other DSL and fiber internet providers, every plan comes with unlimited data.

  • No data caps

Does Breezeline have data caps?

This cable internet provider lets you use as much data as you need every month, with no data limits to be found. Prices go up after six months, though, so keep an eye on your bill and call in to negotiate after that initial promotional period.

  • No data caps

Does Ziply have data caps?

Whether you have a DSL or fiber internet plan from Ziply, data caps are nowhere in sight! You’re free to use as much data as you need.

  • Data cap: 250GB–Unlimited
  • Overage fees: $7.50 for every 10GB

Does Rise Broadband have data caps?

With the fixed wireless provider Rise Broadband, there’s a mix of plans with monthly data caps and plans with unlimited data. If you choose a plan with “Unlimited” in the name, you can download and stream to your heart’s content. Those tiers cost between $25 and $30 extra per month, depending on your speed. If you don’t have one of those plans and go over your data limit, you’ll be charged $7.50 for every additional 10GB of data.

  • No data caps

Does Quantum Fiber have data caps?

Quantum Fiber is a great option for home internet, if you can get it! In addition to unlimited data, new customers benefit from a Price for Life guarantee and included Wi-Fi gear (at least for now). Quantum Fiber is the fiber-to-the-home arm of Lumen Technologies. CenturyLink is the name for DSL internet services offered by Lumen Technologies.

Pro tip

Read our internet data guide for tips on how to avoid data overage charges.

What is a data cap?

A data cap is the maximum amount of internet you’re allowed to use per month. It’s also commonly referred to by internet providers as “data usage,” “data limit,” “usage allowance,” or “fair use policy.”

Everything you do on the internet uses data. Whether you’re checking a couple emails or binge-watching The Boys in 4K, you’re using megabytes or even gigabytes of data. And all of that counts toward your monthly limit.

Luckily, a lot of providers have stopped imposing data caps on everyday plans. They may still have fair use policies in place to prevent you from going data-crazy, but generally you’ll be free to use as much data as you like.

Want unlimited internet?

Type in your zip code below to see if there’s a provider that offers unlimited data in your area.

How do you find your data cap?

You can find out your data cap by asking your internet service provider, looking on your internet provider’s website or consulting your internet’s user app or online dashboard. Among internet providers who still have caps, most top out at 1 TB. Xfinity offers 1.2TB per month, though, and Cox Communications offers 1.28TB.

How can you avoid going over your data cap?

To avoid going over your data cap, you’ll have to budget out your average data usage for the month, and then stick to your budget.

One way to do that is to use an online data calculator, which will give you a quick readout of how much data it takes to do particular tasks.

Doing regular stuff like browsing the web and checking email won’t take up much data at all. Streaming music or playing games online also goes easy on your monthly allowance.

Here’s how much the average person uses on everyday online stuff:

ActivityAverage daily amount*Daily dataMonthly data
Emails122 sent and received0.05GB1.50GB
Streaming Music2 hours0.11GB3.30GB
Browsing Social Media2 hours0.19GB5.70GB
Gaming3 hours0.60GB18.00GB

Data you need to stream video

You’ll use up a lot more data by watching movies or TV on a streaming service like Netflix. Streaming in 4K uses several times as much data as HD, so consider limiting your 4K viewing to special occasions. (A Hobbit trilogy movie marathon, perhaps?)

ActivityDaily amountDaily dataMonthly data
Video chat in SD1 hour0.34GB10.20GB
Video chat in HD1 hours2.00GB60.00GB
Streaming in SD2 hours1.00GB30.00GB
Streaming 2 hours in HD2 hours4.00GB120.00GB
Streaming 2 hours in 4K2 hours16.00GB480.00GB
ActivityVideo chat in SD
Daily amount1 hour
Daily data0.34GB
Monthly data10.20GB
ActivityVideo chat in HD
Daily amount1 hours
Daily data2.00GB
Monthly data60.00GB
ActivityStreaming in SD
Daily amount2 hours
Daily data1.00GB
Monthly data30.00GB
ActivityStreaming 2 hours in HD
Daily amount2 hours
Daily data4.00GB
Monthly data120.00GB
ActivityStreaming 2 hours in 4K
Daily amount2 hours
Daily data16.00GB
Monthly data480.00GB

Data you need for downloading files

Downloading files is where you really gotta watch out. The richer and more high-tech the file, the more gigs you’ll use—that means you’ll spend a lot more data downloading prestige video games than you would a handful of MP3s.

  • An MP3: 3.5 MB
  • An HD movie: 4 GB
  • Update for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: 100–250GB (Not the full game, mind you—just the update.)

Data you need for smart home devices

This is the approximate data used by the following smart home devices:

  • A smart thermostat: 50MB per month
  • A voice assistant: Up to 100MB per hour (if you’re using it as a smart speaker)
  • A motion-activated HD security camera: 140-300GB per month
  • A smart doorbell: 50–300GB per month
  • Smart bulbs and smart plugs: 50MB per month

Does net neutrality stop data caps?

Net neutrality currently doesn’t stop data caps, but it discourages internet providers from putting caps on certain online activities and not on others. For example, California passed a net neutrality law in 2018 that bars internet and wireless providers from putting zero caps on their properties—like AT&T’s HBO Max—while imposing caps on rival services in the same category.

The idea behind this legislation is to prevent internet providers from abusing their market power to promote their own brands while directly or indirectly punishing customers for using other similar internet platforms. The California law was challenged in the courts, but it looks like some degree of net neutrality in California is here to stay.

The issue of net neutrality is in the midst of a partisan tug of war at the federal level, but the FCC has announced a Broadband Consumer Label program that will require major providers to display accurate and easy-to-understand data about the cost and performance of their services starting April 4, 2024. We expect to see widespread adoption of these so-called Nutrition Labels by years’ end.

FAQ about internet data caps

What is my data cap?

Your data cap is the amount of data you can use on your home internet each month without incurring overage fees or speed slowdowns. Many internet providers impose a monthly data cap of 1TB, while Xfinity has a cap of 1.2TB per month and Cox gives you 1.28TB per month. However, there are many internet providers that have no data caps and let you use unlimited data all month.

Which providers have data caps?

Cable internet providers are most likely to have data caps, but not all do. Here’s a list of national internet providers with strict caps:

  • Xfinity
  • Cox
  • HughesNet
  • Viasat
  • Mediacom
  • Buckeye Broadband
  • Sparklight
  • Rise Broadband

Which providers don't have data caps?

The following providers currently have no data caps on any of their plans:

  • AT&T
  • T-Mobile Home Internet
  • Verizon Fios
  • Verizon 5G Home Internet
  • Frontier
  • Google Fiber
  • CenturyLink
  • Windstream
  • Astound
  • Spectrum
  • Optimum
  • WOW!
  • Starlink
  • Breezeline
  • Ziply
  • Quantum Fiber
  • Brightspeed
  • EarthLink
  • Frontier

What is bandwidth throttling?

Bandwidth throttling is the practice of lowering internet speed (often significantly) for certain users or certain types of traffic. This is typically done when an individual is using excessive amounts of data in a single monthly period. Due to customer backlash, it’s not a very common practice because it involves getting less service than you’re paying for.

Throttling is also sometimes used to manage network load during peak times. In these cases, providers may lower bandwidth of some (or all) users slightly to ensure that the network functions as expected for most customers. This is one reason why you may see a lower-than-advertised speed when using a speed test.

Find an internet provider near you

Looking for a provider with no data caps? Enter your ZIP code to find the ones listed in this article in your area.

Author -

With more than 15 years' experience in the coverage of tech and consumer issues, Chili Palmer holds a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Weber State University. Before joining highspeedinternet.com, she wrote about home internet and cable TV for Switchful.com. Her writing and editing work has also appeared in the Idaho Business Review, Utah Business magazine, Top Ten Reviews, Deseret News, and more. Previously writing under the name Rebecca Palmer, Chili is passionate about providing accurate and accessible information any time you're trying to connect … whether you already speak geek or just got your first smartphone.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.

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