Guide to Satellite Internet Data Caps
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Due to its nationwide availability, satellite internet service is a viable option for those who live in rural and remote areas. However, you still need to be aware of the internet data caps associated with using satellite internet.
Considering that the average household has approximately 25 internet-connected devices, it is best to understand your internet needs and lifestyle as well as the data allowance satellite internet providers include in their plans. Devices include cell phones, computers, tablets, televisions, and streaming media players.
Let’s take a look at everything you can keep in mind to avoid data overages.
What Are Data Caps?
Data caps are limits that internet service providers (ISPs) place on the amount of data you’re allowed to use in a given month. If you go over your cap, providers may either throttle your speeds or charge you overage fees. The amount of data you can use before you reach your cap will depend on the provider you work with.
It’s in your best interest to find a provider that offers a generous data plan so you can make the most of your internet service. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying more for your service than you need to.
Satellite internet data caps are different from the data caps placed on other types of internet connections. Services like fiber internet and cable internet often have a set amount–say 1TB–of data that you can use in a month before incurring overage fees. Satellite internet often has unlimited data per month, but has data limits on high-speed data. The only exception to this is that Starlink internet offers unlimited data no matter the speed.
Although you will face restrictions on your high-speed data usage, you likely will not be charged for data overages. While it may be slower speeds after you’ve used up your high-speed data, it still allows you to complete tasks like checking email, browsing the internet, and reading the news.
How Can I Stay Within My Data Cap?
Ask your internet service provider how you can track your high-speed data usage. Most likely, you will find it on the dashboard of your online user account. There may be settings and preferences you can establish here to make the most of your high-speed data use.
For example, HughesNet satellite internet offers a video data saver benefit. This means that data rates are optimized when you’re streaming video. If you watch a lot of streamed content, this feature can save money and the frustration of watching video over slower speeds.
You can also check with your provider to see if there is a plan with higher data caps, especially if you know your data needs exceed the cap. This may be more expensive, but it’s better than going over your limit and facing steep overage fees.
What Can I Expect if I Exceed My Data Cap?
In regards to high-speed satellite internet caps, you can expect your ISP to throttle your speeds (slow them down to their unlimited data speed) if you go over your high-speed data cap. Your internet speeds will be significantly slower until the next billing cycle.
Additionally, some ISPs may charge you additional fees if you exceed your data cap. So, not only will you have to deal with slow speeds, but you’ll also end up paying more for your internet service. Each provider is different, so we strongly recommend familiarizing yourself with their data cap rules.
Overage fees can add up quickly. Knowing now what your data needs are and the rules around your provider’s plans can mean significant savings.
What Should I Look For in a Satellite Internet Provider?
When you’re looking for the best satellite internet provider, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
You need to find a provider that offers the speeds and data limits you need. If you plan on streaming video, downloading large files, or gaming online, you may want to spring for a plan with higher data limits.
While Starlink internet service is the only one that doesn’t have data caps, look between HughesNet and Viasat to find the best plan that fits your budget. Just be sure to compare the prices of different satellite internet providers before making your decision.
HughesNet internet service offers 25 Mbps download speeds with no hard data limits, meaning you have unlimited data, but most likely at reduced speeds. They also allow you to automatically adjust data rates while streaming video content so you can minimize the amount of data that you use during these scenarios.
Viasat satellite internet covers 99% of the United States and offers an affordable connectivity program. They also offer fast setup times, and it takes typically 3-5 days to get started. Combined with a two-year price lock guarantee, it is easy to see why Viasat is one of the most popular.
Internet Data Caps Don’t Have to Be Complicated
Navigating satellite internet data caps might seem complex, but it’s easier than you might expect. Keep the above guidelines in mind and have a good understanding of what your monthly internet needs are. This way, you can avoid issues with slower internet and costly overage fees.