Everything you use the internet for consumes data. Some things, like streaming in HD, are more data hungry than others, but the point stands that all internet activity involves either downloading or uploading data. After a month, household internet data use can really add up.
That doesn’t matter if you’ve got an internet service provider with unlimited data. On the other hand, if your ISP enforces a data cap, going over could result in added fees or throttled speeds.
I’d recommend passing on a home internet provider that comes with a data cap altogether, if possible. These are some of the best internet providers that offer unlimited data. Not all providers and plans are available in all areas.
Honorable mentions 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.
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 $25 to $35 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 all plans. That’s not to say unlimited data isn’t available with Xfinity. Service terms can vary widely by location with Xfinity, so select plans in some markets may very well come with unlimited data. In others, unlimited data is available for an additional $11 per month for xFi gateway customers or $30 per month for customers who use their own gateway device. Considering Xfinity plans normally come with a generous 1.2TB of data per month (way more than most will come close to using), it may be more economical to just watch your monthly data usage and avoid going over.
Pros and cons of internet plans with no data caps
For the most part, the reasons to choose an unlimited internet provider or plan far outweigh the reasons not to, but there may be some instances where accepting a data cap makes sense.
- No overage fees or other penalties for exceeding your limit
- No having to monitor your data usage throughout the month
- Unlimited data is ideal for multiple devices or those who use large amounts of data for working from home or learning online
- Monthly pricing may be higher
- It may not be worth the upgrade
Some providers charge a premium for unlimited data, which could add $10 or more to your monthly bill. Others may only offer unlimited data with select service types or plans and, while the unlimited data may be enticing, it’s possible that upgrading to a pricier plan could have you paying for more than you need.
Those instances are fairly uncommon, however, which means internet plans with no data cap are typically the better value. When considering internet providers, I’d always check out the ones with unlimited data first.
Internet provider data cap FAQs