Tech & Gadgets

How Much Data Do You Need for Your Internet Plan?


Today, a lot of internet providers are starting to offer plans with unlimited data, but there are still many that impose data caps. A data cap is a limit on how much data you can use each month. It is important to know how much data you are using so you can choose a plan that is right for you and your online habits. The amount of data people generally use will vary greatly by what they do online. If you are a big gamer or streamer, you will use a lot more data than if you like to just browse the web and send emails. 

How Much Data Does Streaming Use?

Streaming, whether it is shows and movies or music, is one of the things that can use up a lot of data. If you are a big fan of video streaming sites like Netflix, you are using about 3 GB of data per hour. If you choose to stream your shows and movies in SD, you will only be using around 1 GB of data per hour. Streaming music on apps like Spotify or Apple Music takes up a lot less data than streaming movies. In fact, Spotify uses about 1 GB per 7 hours of streaming music. 

How Much Data Does Gaming Use?

If you are a big online gamer, you probably use a good amount of data every month. It takes approximately 1 GB to play 42 rounds of an online game like Fortnite. One software update can take anywhere from 1-3 GB of data. If you buy the digital version of a game, you will have to download the entire game, which can also use a lot of data.

How Much Data Do I Need for Sending Emails and Browsing the Internet?

If you only use the internet to stay connected, browse the web, and send emails, you probably will not need a ton of data. In fact, it only takes about 1 GB to send and/or receive 1,000 emails. You can also surf the web for 20 hours and use just 1 GB of data.

What Happens if You Go Over Your Data Cap?

The consequences of going above your data limit will vary by the provider you chose. Typically, one of two things will happen:

  1. Overage fees: Some internet providers enforce an overage fee for going over your data cap. This fee is typically charged in increments. For example, with AT&T’s internet plans, you will be charged $10 for each additional 50 GB of data you use over your limit that month. 
  2. Throttled speeds: Some internet providers have “soft data caps.” This means you will not be charged an overage fee if you go over your limit. Instead, your internet speeds will be throttled, meaning that your internet connection will be much slower than normal. Some internet providers might even slow your connection down to speeds as low as 1 to 3 Mbps.

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