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Why Does Xfinity Have a Data Cap?

Internet service providers (ISPs) across the country regularly use data caps to regulate traffic on broadband networks, though some are more generous than others. In an effort to provide competitive services, Xfinity by Comcast has recently started trialing higher data caps and rollover plans in select areas.

For subscribers in those trial locations — or for other subscribers interested in Xfinity internet data policies in general — this article will cover the basics of data capping and how to avoid any unwanted overage charges.

Data caps and your internet

Data caps, also known as data usage plans, are essentially monthly limits on the amount of downstreaming data available over an Internet connection. Xfinity users who exceed their caps may face overage fees based on the amount of data used over the limit.

Xfinity’s standard data cap historically maxed out at around 250 GB, though the company has temporarily suspended that data use ceiling as it trials higher options, from 300 GB and above on a monthly basis. Customers should check with Xfinity to find out if their area is part of an ongoing trial, and, if so, what limits they should expect on their Internet usage.

The results of data usage plans

For consumers, capping ostensibly ensures more fair and equal broadband use across most plans and tiers. However, another notable effect of data caps is that users are forced to consider — and sometimes limit — their Internet usage to avoid being penalized by their service provider.

A recent study proves this trend, showing that users with data caps tend to significantly reduce their usage if nearing the limit of their cap. Conversely, users that may end a billing cycle with lots of unused data tend to ramp up their usage.

Across wired internet services, on average, users with uncapped plans pay substantially less per gigabyte of data than their counterparts on metered plans. This difference results in huge revenue for service providers, which likely also contributes to data limit popularity.

How to avoid exceeding a plan limit

Xfinity offers several solutions to help customers avoid going over their data cap. Users will automatically receive notifications when they reach 90 percent, 100 percent, and 110 percent of their monthly plans, and they can opt to receive notifications for lower thresholds as well. Those alerts can be delivered via in-browser messages, emails, or texts. 

To further help consumers stay under their caps, Xfinity offers a data calculator and suggests that users track their usage history by viewing the usage meter in their account. The company also recommends enrolling in unlimited data plans where offered, if data caps are interfering with your usage.

Penalties for going over a data limit

For customers that still surpass their plan ceiling, Xfinity is currently extending three courtesy months. This means that users get three months in which they can exceed their data plans before they are charged any overage fees. If a customer goes over for a fourth time, however, they will be charged $10 per 50 GB block of data added to their account

Before choosing any service provider, consumers should make sure to research the available plans to make an educated decision on whether the ISP is a good fit.

Those considering Xfinity service who have questions about how the data usage plans will affect them should visit the company’s frequently asked questions page or speak with a representative directly to learn more.

*Pricing and speeds are current as of writing. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.

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