Which Internet Service Providers Use Data Caps?
January 4, 2021
Comcast recently announced that it will roll out its 1.2 TB data cap to all non-unlimited home Internet customers nationwide in January 2021. While 1.2 TB is among the highest data caps currently used by Internet providers, many customers who are working remotely are concerned it may not be enough. Data caps are an unfortunate yet prevalent part of the Internet experience. And while several of the larger Internet service providers still use them, it's clear that they're becoming less and less sustainable. The growing number of people working from home and streaming TV has changed the way we view our Internet data usage. As more people have had to stay home, the Internet has stepped in as a much more frequently used tool for work, socialization, leisure, and recreation. This increased level of use has no doubt resulted in more people than usual getting notifications from their providers that they're approaching their data limit, and many of them have likely been charged overages or had their speeds slowed. This is especially possible with cable or DSL Internet users.
Which Providers Have Data Caps?
Some Internet providers are upfront about having data caps in their lower-priced plans—others are not, and many of their customers find out the hard way. Providers will often hide this information in their fine print, which is why we’ve taken the liberty of showing you a non-exhaustive list of the larger providers in Montgomery County and Harris County that use data caps. Hopefully, you can use this information to avoid hidden fees or throttled speeds each month.
As you can see, while these Internet service providers cap data on their lower-priced plans, some do offer unlimited data plans as well for a higher price. If you currently receive your Internet service from one of these providers and you're finding it difficult to curb your data usage, you’ll need to decide if you can pay the higher fee for an unlimited plan, stay under the data cap on your current plan, or find providers in your area that offer unlimited data on all their plans.
How Do I Avoid Data Caps?
A smaller household likely won’t have a problem keeping data usage under 1 TB, but larger households may have some difficulty. This is especially true for households in which people are distance learning, working from home, streaming HD or 4K TV, gaming, or using smart home technology.
There are plenty of data usage calculators online, and it would be worth trying one to see where you stand with your plan's caps. If you live in a larger household, you may be surprised at how close your family can get to using 1 TB of data in a month. And as technology becomes more and more advanced, it’ll be harder to use less data. Look at video streaming, for example; SD video uses approximately 0.5 GB per hour, HD video uses about 2 GB per hour, and 4K uses around 8 GB per hour. If you video-chat for work, SD video uses approximately 0.34 GB per hour, while HD video uses close to 2 GB per hour. Our technology, and therefore data usage, will only continue to develop exponentially. No limit on data, no matter how high, will stay sufficient for long. This is why data caps are not sustainable.
Why Do Providers Use Data Caps?
Internet service providers can only deliver so much bandwidth. Because of this limit, they discourage customers from using too much data in order to accommodate all users. This is why some providers might use the term “fair use policies” when setting and enforcing data caps. Putting data caps in place is the more affordable alternative for an Internet provider than updating their infrastructure to keep up with modern technology and Internet usage.
Many providers limit data usage, but not all of them do. With Internet and technology advancing, some providers, especially ones with a fiber infrastructure, offer unlimited speeds on all their plans and have completely done away with data caps.
Before you choose a new Internet plan, there are several questions you should be asking yourself. One of the most important ones is whether it comes with data caps, overages, or throttling that could affect your Internet use. If you’re looking for a fast, affordable plan free of any limits or hidden fees, check your community on our website to see if Tachus fiber is available in your area.