A lot of people these days believe that Google Fiber and local providers are the only ones that don’t charge excessively for their internet services. While there is some truth to this – the internet system in the country is not perfect – you will find that the scene is not fully taken up by giant providers that sell expensive mediocre plans.
Fierce Telecom recently came out with a list of providers in the cable internet, wireless, and wireline categories, and a comparison based on speed, usage caps, technology, and overage fees. It is a given that you will not get every provider’s service in every region, which makes comparisons a bit hard. However, this does provide a riveting look at some of the best cheap internet providers this year.
If you are getting FTTH or Fiber-To-The-Home service, then you have the best news of all. Only AT&T® among the providers places a cap on usage, and even that is only for users on their 300 Mbps plan. The gigabit-speed plan has no metering on it. DSL users and Telco customers still have to deal with a cap, but the cookie is that these services are soon to be replaced.
You find the most caps implemented among the cable internet providers, who make use of the coaxial cable lines first set up for cable TV. Altice® and Charter® don’t set usage caps on their plans, but it needs to be mentioned that Charter® is bound to refrain as a condition in its TWC® takeover.
When you check out plans from the rest – Comcast®, Mediacom®, Cox®, and Cable One®, you will see that usage caps are part and parcel. Cox® and Comcast® have a reasonable 1 TB data cap setting across the board, but it is $50 extra per month for a fully unlimited plan. For Mediacom®, the caps start at 150 GB a month when you get the slowest plan. This goes up to 6 TB if you opt for the gigabit-speed plan.
If you want uniformity in plans, this can be seen in the wireless arena. Here, you get similar plan from all four big networks. You also have “unlimited” plans without a hard data cap, but with a de-prioritization threshold instead. After you reach the latter, your data gets de-prioritized, if there is local tower congestion. This is meant to make your data slow down in congested places after you hit the threshold, although it is an improvement over having to pay overusage fees.