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Why Does Xfinity Have a Data Cap?

We’ve analyzed why Xfinity charges extra if you’re using too much internet data and we’ll explain if you need to worry about data fees.

Internet service providers (ISP) across the country regularly use data caps to regulate traffic on broadband networks. Count Xfinity among the ISPs that’ll make you keep an eye on your monthly data usage.

For Xfinity customers, let’s break down why Xfinity has data caps, how to avoid overage charges, and whether you need to spring for Xfinity’s unlimited data add-on (or switch to a new ISP).

How Xfinity data caps work

Data caps, also known as data usage plans, are monthly limits on the amount of data you can download over your internet connection. This data includes everything from Instagram photos to movies on Hulu.

Xfinity’s home internet plans have a generously sized 1.2 TB data cap that provides enough data for most households and lands among the larger data caps for cable ISPs. Most cable internet providers have a 1 TB data cap, although competitors like Mediacom sport data caps up to 6 TB.

Pro tip: According to Xfinity, the average Xfinity customer uses only 368 GB of data per month. But you may exceed this average if you’re regularly watching 4K movies or downloading video games.

Xfinity charges $10 for additional 50 GB blocks of data once you exceed the cap, but it won’t charge you more than $100 in total overage fees. You can also get unlimited data by paying an extra $30 per month or by upgrading to Xfinity’s Gigabit Pro internet plan.

Historically, Xfinity has raised its data caps over time. In 2012, the ISP had a 250 GB data cap and introduced a 1 TB cap in 2016. With more people streaming 4K movies and taking video calls, it’s a safe bet that Xfinity’s data cap will keep increasing to accommodate customer needs.

Xfinity data caps vs. the competition

Provider Internet data cap Overage charge
AT&T 1,024 GB–unlimited $10 per 50 GB block
CenturyLink Unlimited None
Cox 1,280 GB–unlimited $10 per 50 GB block
Frontier Unlimited None
Google Fiber Unlimited None
Mediacom 200 GB–6,144 GB $10 per 50 GB block
Optimum Unlimited None
Astound Broadband Powered by RCN Unlimited None
Spectrum Unlimited None
Verizon Fios Unlimited None
Xfinity 1.2 TB $10 per 50 GB block

Xfinity isn’t the only ISP with data caps—AT&T, CenturyLink, and Cox are among the major providers who also have 1 TB data caps. If you’re getting internet for yourself or a small household, you’ll likely be fine with a 1 TB data cap.

But an increasing number of smaller ISPs are bundling free unlimited data for home internet customers to stand out against competitors like Xfinity. You’ll benefit from unlimited data if your house has more than four heavy internet users who are regularly streaming 4K video, taking video calls, or downloading large games.

Unlimited data is also a better value on fiber internet providers like Google and Verizon, which offer nearly equal upload and download speeds. Uploads traditionally count against data caps, but with unlimited data, you can upload files and host video calls with ease.

Check out our ISP data cap guide to see how Xfinity stacks up versus other ISPs.

What is Xfinity’s data cap for?

Why do ISPs implement data caps? One reason: because they can.

On paper, ISPs defend data caps as an important tool for traffic and cost management. With data caps, ISPs can ensure that high-traffic users aren’t bogging down the internet for everyone in their neighborhood.

But in practice, the reasoning behind data caps can be a little muddled.

A 2015 Xfinity memo reportedly told customer service representatives to avoid saying that data caps were for traffic management.1 Back in 2016, executives at ISPs Suddenlink and Frontier dismissed the idea that data caps were even necessary to manage high internet traffic.2

Ultimately, Xfinity’s data cap is just a fee for heavy internet users. You won’t have to worry about the cap if you’re just web browsing or checking email. But if your house needs a lot of data for daily video calls or schoolwork, the costs of Xfinity’s data cap will quickly add up.

Looking for a cap-free ISP?

If you’re in a home with lots of heavy internet users, consider looking for an ISP with unlimited data. Enter your zip code below to see what ISPs are available in your area.

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Avoiding Xfinity data cap charges

You can track your monthly data usage on Xfinity’s website and the Xfinity My Account app (available on the App Store and Google Play Store), so you don’t go over your allotted amount.

You’ll also get email, text, and Xfinity X1 notifications when you hit 75% and 100% of your data cap. That said, most people won’t have to worry about hitting Xfinity’s data cap.

If you’re regularly skirting near Xfinity’s data cap and want to lower your data usage, video applications like Zoom and Netflix have video quality settings that’ll limit your streaming video resolution.

We suggest you use them if you’re worried about using too much data. While you’ll have low picture quality, you’ll also cut down on your monthly data usage.

Final take

You likely won’t have to worry about Xfinity’s data cap if your internet is used by two to four people.

But data caps can become a deal breaker if your home has multiple people regularly streaming 4K videos or taking Zoom calls. If you’re tired of regularly racking up Xfinity data overage charges, your best options are to get Xfinity’s unlimited data plan or shop for an ISP that includes unlimited data.

Don’t want to pay extra for unlimited data?

Use our search tool to see what ISPs are available in your area. Major ISPs with unlimited data include Spectrum, Verizon Fios, and Google Fiber.

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Xfinity data cap FAQ

Is there a data cap on Xfinity internet?

Xfinity has a 1.2 TB monthly data cap for home internet customers.

How much is unlimited data with Xfinity?

It costs $30 per month to add unlimited data to your home internet plan.

How do I get around my Comcast data cap?

Xfinity’s data cap covers your home internet usage only. Data that you download from an Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspot or smartphone mobile data connection won’t count toward your data cap.

What happens if you go over your Xfinity data limit?

Once you exceed your data cap, Xfinity charges $10 for every 50 GB of data your account uses. Xfinity limits its data overage charges to $100.

Why is my Xfinity data usage so high?

Streaming 4K video and downloading large files like games are easy ways to use up a lot of data. We’d recommend monitoring your data usage or limiting your video streaming quality if you’re regularly exceeding your data cap and don’t want to pay for unlimited data.

End notes

  1. Dante D’Orazio, The Verge, “Leaked Comcast memo reportedly admits data caps aren’t about improving network performance.” November 2015. Accessed June 1, 2021.
  2. Ethan Wolff-Mann, Money, “Broadband CEOs Admit There’s No Real Reason For Data Caps Besides Boosting Profit,” July 2016. Accessed June 1, 2021.

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