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Best Internet Providers with No Data Caps

Everything you do online involves sending and receiving data. The more you do online, the more connected devices you have, and the more data-demanding a task is — like streaming TV in HD, for example — the more data you use. It’s probably not something you think about unless your internet provider enforces a monthly data cap.

Many of the best internet providers offer unlimited data, but not all. Cable providers Cox, Mediacom and Xfinity, among others, have monthly data caps. DSL internet is not always free of caps either, as AT&T and CenturyLink also come with a cap. Other connection types, such as satellite internet and fixed wireless, may come with much lower monthly data allowances. 

If your internet plan comes with a data cap, exceeding the monthly limit could inflate your internet costs by up to $50 or $100 depending on the provider or restrict your service for the remainder of the billing cycle. No one wants added fees or restricted service, but monitoring your data usage throughout the month doesn’t necessarily seem practical either. Your best option? Find an internet provider with no data caps, like the ones featured below. Each provider listed below is available to at least 2% of US residents, according to the Federal Communications Commission, and offers unlimited internet access at no extra cost.

Kena Betancur / AFP/Getty Images

AT&T is our pick for best fiber internet provider overall thanks to its high availability, competitive pricing, fast speeds and, of course, unlimited data. All AT&T Fiber plans come with no data cap, which means you can stream, game and browse social media to your heart’s content without fear of incurring overage fees. Starting prices for AT&T Fiber plans range from $35 per month for up to 300Mbps to $60 per month for gigabit service. A $10 equipment fee will add to your monthly bill, but data overage fees certainly will not.

Not all AT&T plans are free of data caps, however. AT&T Internet, a DSL-based service, and AT&T Fixed Wireless plans come with a data cap, and potentially hefty fees for going over. AT&T’s DSL service comes with a 1TB per month cap while fixed wireless caps your monthly data at 350GB.

Read our AT&T internet review.

 

AT&T Home Internet

Unlike AT&T, Frontier offers unlimited data with both its DSL and fiber-optic internet services. Equipment costs are also included in the monthly cost and no contracts are required, making Frontier one of the more straightforward providers when it comes to pricing. 

Unlimited data adds to the value of any internet plan, but some Frontier plans are a better value than others. Frontier’s DSL service starts at $38 per month (remember that includes your equipment) but maxes out at top download speeds of just 9Mbps. Faster DSL plans, where available, range from $45 to $55 per month for speeds of 25 to 115Mbps.

You’ll find more value in Frontier FiberOptic plans, especially if you opt for the provider’s 500Mbps or gigabit service. Frontier FiberOptic 500 starts at $60 per month while gig service starts at $80 per month. The lowest-priced plan is less of an internet deal at $50 per month for 50Mbps, but it still comes with the convenience of unlimited data.

Read our Frontier home internet review.

 

Frontier Communications

Kinetic is another service that comes with unlimited data regardless of whether it’s DSL or fiber optic. Speeds and pricing can and do vary by location with Kinetic, more than just about any major provider it seems, but unlimited data is one standard customers across all markets can enjoy.

Kinetic service areas largely span rural and suburban areas, making the provider a great option for unlimited internet in rural areas. On top of that, Kinetic offers faster DSL speeds than many competing providers with speeds of 100Mbps or higher available to more than 64% of its customer base.

Read our Kinetic by Windstream review.

 

Kinetic Internet

Optimum

Optimum and fellow Altice brand, Suddenlink, include unlimited data with all plans. They’re the first cable internet providers to make the list, not because they’re anything particularly special, but because I ordered the providers alphabetically and Cox and Mediacom both have data caps.

Along with the advantage of unlimited data, Optimum (and Suddenlink) plans are priced lower than most considering the speeds you get. Pricing just went up a bit in most markets, and the company voluntarily opted to lower upload speeds, just because, but you can still find good value and unlimited data in Optimum internet plans.

Read our Optimum review.

 

Optimum Internet

Starting prices for Spectrum internet are a little higher than most, but all plans come with fast speeds, no contracts and, you guessed it, unlimited data. That, plus a modest equipment fee of just $5 per month — and that’s if you choose to rent a router — puts Spectrum right up there with Frontier when it comes to straightforward pricing. 

Spectrum’s cheapest internet plan starts at $50 per month, which is on the high side compared to other providers, but the speeds you get, up to 200Mbps, are worth the cost. The next tier, Spectrum Internet Ultra, is an even better deal at $70 per month for speeds up to 400Mbps. You may want to check out other options for gigabit service, however, as Spectrum’s gig plan starts at $110 per month.

Read our Spectrum review.

 

Spectrum Internet

In my recent review of Starry Internet, I was impressed by the provider’s ability to offer affordable, high-speed service over a fixed wireless network. The provider flagship plan offers up to 200Mbps starting at $50 per month, but gig service is available in select areas starting at $80 per month. 

Regardless of the Starry plan you choose, it’s going to come with unlimited data as well as no contract requirements or added equipment fees. Considering the speeds, pricing and extra perks like unlimited data and free equipment, Starry is worth checking out if you happen to live in a city where service is available.

Read our Starry Internet review.

 

5G may be the future of home internet, at least in underserved areas where cable and fiber internet is either unavailable or too expensive. Enter T-Mobile. The 5G provider is available to more than 300 million homes, a third of which are in rural or suburban areas.

T-Mobile 5G home internet customers will only have one plan option — speeds of 25-110Mbps starting at $50 per month — but the plan does come with unlimited data, no contracts and no added equipment fees. As 5G technology continues to emerge, we may see better plans with faster speeds and greater availability from T-Mobile and other providers, but for now, T-Mobile is likely your best bet for 5G home internet with unlimited data.

Read our T-Mobile 5G home internet review.

 

Verizon Fios ranks right up there with AT&T Fiber when it comes to speeds, pricing and customer satisfaction. Another thing going for the provider: unlimited data. Each of Verizon’s Fios plans — 200Mbps starting at $40 per month, 400Mbps starting at $60 per month and gig service starting at $80 per month — come with unlimited data. A $15 equipment fee can add a sizable chunk to your bill, but you can skip the fee by using your own equipment or opting for the gigabit plan.

Verizon’s DSL service also comes with no data cap, but at $75 per month for sub-broadband speeds of 1-15Mbps, the service is tough to recommend. If given the option of Verizon DSL or another provider, you’re probably going to get a better value with the latter, even if that provider offers a data cap.

Read our Verizon Fios review.

 

Verizon Fios

WideOpenWest, or WOW, is the last cable provider on our list, and while it’s not that I’m saving the best for last (again, it’s just alphabetical), WOW is certainly in the running. WOW plans start at just $20 per month for speeds up to 100Mbps, but other plans include 200Mbps, 500Mbps and gigabit service. All plans come at a starting price of less than $60 per month, and all plans come with unlimited data.

WOW is one of the lesser-known, lesser-available providers compared to big providers like Cox, Mediacom, Spectrum and Xfinity, but the provider is making a name for itself with highly competitive pricing and favorable service terms, like unlimited data.

Read our WOW review.

 

WOW! Internet

Ziply Fiber

The newest provider featured on our list of top ISPs with no data cap is Ziply Fiber, which began offering service to the Pacific Northwest in early 2020 after relieving Frontier of DSL and fiber-optic networks in the region. Ziply Fiber offers three fiber plans ranging for $20 per month for speeds up to 50Mbps to gig service starting at $60 per month. DSL service is also available in select areas starting at $40 per month, but speeds vary based on location. Customers can enjoy unlimited data with either service.

With only a little over a year or so under its belt, Ziply Fiber is off to a great start. The speeds, pricing and service terms (like no data caps) are right on par with, or in some cases better than, many of the leading DSL and fiber-optic providers. We’ll keep an eye on this one, and if you’re in the Pacific Northwest, I’d definitely recommend checking them out.

Read our Ziply Fiber review.

 

Other providers with (sort of) unlimited data

These providers are not truly unlimited, but either offer unlimited data options or won’t penalize you too harshly for going over your limit. While no data cap is ideal, these providers are a close second.

CenturyLink: CenturyLink DSL and fiber plans technically come with a monthly data cap of 1TB, but the provider doesn’t seem to actively enforce it. There’s no overage fee for exceeding the 1TB limit, but the terms of service do state that frequent and excessive overages could result in service interruption.

HughesNet: HughesNet has “no hard data caps.” What does that mean, exactly? While all HughesNet plans come with speeds up to 25Mbps, the different plan levels vary by the amount of data you get, somewhere between 10 and 50GB. If and once you exceed that limit, HughesNet may drastically lower your speeds for the remainder of your billing cycle to free bandwidth for folks who haven’t yet gone over theirs. There’s no overage fee, though, and you can add more data throughout the month if the slowed speeds are a nuisance.

Rise Broadband: Rise Broadband is a fixed wireless provider popular in many rural areas due to its ability to deliver internet service without the need of a dedicated phone, cable or fiber wire. It’s also a popular choice for unlimited internet, but only if you opt for (and pay a little extra for) an unlimited plan. Rise Broadband plans range from 25 to 50Mbps starting at $35 to $55 per month but come with a data cap of 250GB. If you want unlimited data, the same plans will cost you around $10 more per month. 

Xfinity: Xfinity is the largest internet provider to not include unlimited data with its plans. That’s not to say unlimited data isn’t available with Xfinity, but you’ll have to pay a pricey premium if you want it. Customers can opt for unlimited data for an added $50 per month, but considering Xfinity plans normally come with 1TB of data per month (which is more than most will come close to using), it may be more economical to just watch your monthly data usage and try to avoid going over.

Internet provider data cap FAQs

What uses the most internet data?

Streaming video, especially if it’s in HD or 4K. According to Netflix, streaming in standard definition can consume 1GB per hour, HD can eat up 3GB per hour and 4K can use as much as 7GB per hour. So let’s say you binge all 485 minutes of Squid Game in HD this month. That’ll add up to around 24GB of data.

Why do internet providers have data caps?

There’s only so much bandwidth available, so providers may have to enforce data caps to keep everyone happy and connected. This is especially true with satellite internet technology, which has limited bandwidth. Consequently, you’ll find the lowest monthly data allowances, by far, with satellite internet service. In the case of DSL and cable internet providers, which often come with a data cap of 1TB, if any, the providers largely just want to discourage excessive usage. If they were planning to make extra money in the form of overage fees, they’d lower the data cap from 1TB, which is typically far more than the average household will use.

Is 1TB a lot of data?

If you have a 1TB data cap, the good news is that’s probably going to be more than enough for your needs. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the average household used somewhere around 200 to 300GB per month on roughly 10 connected devices, according to a recent Statista study. Even as the pandemic prompted millions of people to work, learn and seek their entertainment from home, average monthly data usage spiked in March of 2020 to around 400GB, which is well below 1TB.

How can I use less internet data?

There are a number of ways to reduce your internet data use, including streaming in standard definition as opposed to HD, downloading music or TV shows instead of streaming them repeatedly, and disconnecting unused devices from your Wi-Fi network. 

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