At some point in using your home internet service, you may exceed your data allowance for the month. This is called a data cap, also known as fair use policy. Many find it frustrating to have to pay extra to keep your internet going when you feel like you’re already paying a lot for it in the first place. But as we’ve become more tech-savvy over time, our previously sufficient internet plans may not be adequate for our growing needs.
Photo by Aditya Singh
ISPs and Data Caps
Many internet service providers, or ISPs, impose data caps to limit usage. Fair use policy means the ISP needs to provide the best internet service to all its subscribers and cannot do so if too many people use too much data at once.
Some ISPs set their data cap too low at the onset, but over time, these caps were raised and managed appropriately. Some ISPs can offer unlimited data at competitive rates. What about AT&T? Does this provider come with data caps?
AT&T Internet Plans and Data Allocation
AT&T Internet, previously known as U-verse Internet, offers unlimited data, but only specifically for their highest Fiber plan and their TV bundles; their TV service was formerly U-verse TV.
They have three plans powered by AT&T Fiber:
- Internet 100, which estimates download speeds at 100 Mbps at $35 per month,
- Internet 300 at 300 Mbps at $45 per month, and
- Internet 1000 at 940 Mbps at $60 per month.*
Only the Internet 1000 plan provides unlimited data. However, there is limited availability for these plans, as it is not yet available everywhere.
What may be available are their standard plans of download speeds from 10 to 50 Mbps, each at $45 per month. These plans, as well as the Internet 100 and 300 plans, have a data cap of over 1 TB or 1,024 GB.
The 50 Mbps plan allows you to stream videos on several devices while sharing photos and videos on your social network and handling online gaming. This may be sufficient if you have a small household of moderate internet users. But if your house is full of data hogs, the Fiber plans are a good investment.
If your household regularly streams a lot of videos on multiple devices, you should consider the Internet and AT&T TV bundle, which has no data cap. At $94.99 per month, you get high-speed internet and access to live TV, over 5,000 streaming apps, over 40,000 shows, free subscriptions to specific channels for the first three months, and 500 hours of DVR cloud storage.
AT&T Internet will not charge you overage fees in the first two months. It will send you warning notices in the third payment cycle about going over your data allowance before charging you $10 for each additional 50 Mbps you consume. If you’re not careful, you could rack up the maximum $100 in overage fines. In which case, you should consider either upgrading your plan or changing how you connect to the internet.
*These rates as of November 4, 2020. Please check AT&T’s website for pricing updates.