Analysis Shows Hundreds Of ISPs Are Hamstringing Customers With Data Caps

The only people who think data caps are a good things are the ISPs that make huge amounts of money by charging customers each month for overages. While ISPs with data caps are in the minority, new research from a company called BroadbandNow has surveyed every internet provider out there and found that out of all the ISPs in its database (over 2,500), 196 of them have imposed data caps.

The data caps vary regionally, meaning that some providers will have smaller or larger data allotments in different areas. While 196 providers out of around 2,500 sounds small, the carriers on the list imposing data caps are some of the largest in the country, meaning that large numbers of Internet users are subject to the caps. Xfinity from Comcast alone has 109.4 million people in its service areas. InternetWorld Stats claims that there are 320,067,193 Internet users in the US meaning that nearly a third of that population is in a Comcast serviced area, many with no other option for broadband.


BroadBandNow writes that in cases where a Internet provider has multiple data cap sizes around the country, the smallest data cap amount is listed in its chart. The data cap size information came directly from the ISP website. The smallest data cap in all the land is from a phone company called NTCNet in Newport, New York and rings in at a scant 3GB. Ars Technica says that it called that ISP to be sure the information wasn't a typo and was told that the 3GB is correct, but that the cap isn't enforced and usage isn't monitored.

The largest data cap allotment on the list is 10TB, offered from an ISP called netBlazr boasting 365,000 subscribers. You would have to binge watch lots of Netflix programming to eat up that datacap. When it comes to Xfinity from Comcast, the company enforces a data cap of 1TB. That might sound like a lot of data to some, but you can destroy that if you like to binge "Longmire" on Netflix and do a bit of gaming on the side. The data cap is most definitely a roadblock for cord cutters and considering Comcast is a cable TV provider it's easy to make assumptions.

Xfinity does offer you two months of going over that data cap before hitting you with overages that are $10 for ever 50GB of data you go over your allotment. ISPs maintain that data caps keep their networks from being overly congested. Many disagree with that statement; few people curb their internet use when they reach their arbitrary data cap and simply pay for the overage and keep consuming at their usual rate. These fees seem to many users as just another way to charge users more for service each month.

"Statements from Internet providers suggest that data caps are a necessary step to combat network congestion. Opponents of data caps believe that the motivation for data caps has more to do with recovering declining cable revenue or creating a roadblock for streaming services like Netflix. Whichever side you believe, the outcome is the same — data caps are becoming commonplace," writes BroadBandNow.

While the BroadbandNow list doesn't include cellular service providers, they all have data caps typically involving throttling of speeds after a certain amount of data is used.