Best Satellite Internet

As of October 2018, we’ve gathered intel on 2 very reliable satellite internet providers. There are two others which are BigBend Telephone Company and X2nSat but they’re low-profile and neither are as efficient as Viasat and Hughesnet.

If you’ve been searching for the best satellite internet providers, we’re certain you’ve come across Viasat and Hughesnet. They’re not that much of cheap satellite internet, however, they do offer a wide assortment of plans depending on what you prefer.

Satellite internet isn’t the fastest type of connection there is but if you live in a rural area or just don’t want to be part of a system full of sophisticated connections complemented with high-budget packages, then satellite internet is just for you.

Want to check out our reviews on other types of internet? See our breakdown on Xfinity, Verizon Fios and AT&T Internet.

If you want to see which internet providers are truly the best in the country, consider looking at our Top 5 Best Internet Providers list.

Here’s what makes Viasat and Hughesnet stand out from the rest:

Remember that there are only 4 known satellite internet providers in the country: Viasat, Hughesnet, BigBen Telephone Company, and X2nSat. The 2 latter providers are only limited to one state but the other two cover up most, if not, all parts of the United States.

So now the question remains: Which of the two are better than the other?

The answer: Both of them are equally good in their own ways. Each of them has advantages over the other while also having some disadvantages, making this a fair fight.

Some choose Viasat over Hughesnet while others prefer vice versa. As you can see from the chart, the plans do seem more expensive while not providing that much of high-speed internet.

Now it’s time to see what the fuss between the two is all about.

Let’s start with Viasat

Viasat - Fastest satellite internet that has you saving more money than cable.

Let’s get some things out of the way: yes, satellite internet does not have the same consistency as cable internet but what it does is that it provides a more convenient way to enjoy internet surfing without the hassles of wires, poor customer service, and evil hidden fees.

The best part about Viasat is that you can get it anywhere in the United States since the satellite hovers over the country, be it in the metro downtown areas or somewhere in the countryside.

It’s always guaranteed that wherever you travel in the country, the internet is always there for you.

Now let’s get right into the plans and check out what makes this satellite internet provider special:

What We Like

Flexible Plans to Choose From

The best thing about Viasat is that the plans they offer are as abundant as wired plans.

They may not have the same power as its wired counterparts but Viasat checks out for offering a rather numerous set of plans based on your preference.

Take a look:

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There’s a total of 5 plans for you to choose from and we’d like to say; each package isn’t bad at all. If you’re looking for more options in plans between this and Hughesnet, this is what you should be focusing on.

We’ll give you a brief rundown on each of them and then we’ll let you decide what you want.

  • Unlimited Bronze – 12 Mbps satellite internet that does the general things such as browsing the net, watch videos in Standard Definition and play online games by yourself.
  • Unlimited Silver – 25 Mbps that does a bit more than Bronze. Best for 1 or 2 persons inside the household.
  • Unlimited Gold 30 – 30 Mbps with more advantages over Silver including 100 GB data limit; 40 GB more than Unlimited Silver
  • Unlimited Gold 50 – 50 Mbps plan that is available for free to upgrade over Unlimited Gold 30 in select areas. Also includes 100 GB in data limit.
  • Unlimited Platinum – 100 Mbps that’s most ideal for watching HD movies, play online games with minimal lag and download media at a fast rate. Comes with 150 GB data limit.

If you were to ask us what our recommendation is, we’ll say go for the Unlimited Gold – enough to fill the void of your internet needs without having to pay too much just for higher internet plans.

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No Data Caps

The best part about Viasat plans is that if you exceed the data limit, they will not charge you for additional usage aka overage at all.

Use the internet anytime at any place without worrying about the costs.

Just be ready for the slowdown of the internet, that is, but we fair that better than having the company suddenly charge us $15 more dollars just because we went slightly over the limit by just 1 MB.

Easy Set-Up

One of satellite internet’s best perks is that once you subscribe to them, they’ll activate their services onto your home in just a snap.

And with that snap, the stressful cables won’t feel so good and will fade away due to the wireless tech of satellite internet (that was a The Avengers: Infinity War reference just in case you didn’t get it).

2-Year Price Lock Guarantee

While this may not be a huge persuasion to put a smile on our faces, it’s good to know that their prices are already what’s on the advertisement: no hidden fees, no mid-year price hikes, no activation fees.

With the exception of the one-time price increase on the 3rd month, the bill stays the same until the 2-year contract ends.

What We Don’t Like

Not ideal for modern media usage

If you’re planning to get satellite internet for the sake of watching Netflix, HD movies, constantly play video games online or live stream, then that plan is going to be kaput.

With the significantly small data limit that’s just up to 150 GB on the most expensive plan, you can only do so much with it. Sure, you can do the things we’ve previously mentioned but that’s only going to take you several days before you can even enjoy all of them fully.

Paying Too Much to Gain So Little

Unfortunately, satellite internet is truly the weakest internet connection versus DSL and fiber optics and Viasat is no exception to this criticism.

Since there are areas in the country where the likes of AT&T internet, Comcast Xfinity or Verizon Fios aren’t available, they’re forced to purchase satellite internet.

They pay a lot but in return, they don’t gain that much benefits: internet speeds that aren’t Sonic-speed, data limits that minimize internet fun, and the 3-month price increase.

Latency Issues

This should come as no surprise but if you’re a satellite internet subscriber, you’ll know the feel of the latency issues of the service.

Since no wires are involved and you have to be dependent on the satellite in space, it’s unpredictable what can happen to your internet – slowdowns, lag, and in some occurrences, downtime.

It can be very frustrating especially if you’re watching a thrilling basketball game where it’s overtime and the winning shot is suddenly cut off by internet issues.

Same goes for when you’re playing a heated online match where you’re winning, only to be abruptly stopped by the words Reconnecting you to the game…

You may use satellite internet for such intentions but don’t expect a smooth experience at all, Go with DSL or fiber if that’s your purpose.

Customer Service in General

While it’s always a given that customer service is always bad in these types of businesses, we have to say we’re fairly disappointed by Viasat in this discipline.

Sure, the free installation is cool and all but come on, unresponsive hotlines, premade emails that feel like talking to an NPC in an RPG and some reps can be rude when you call them.

It’s not as bad as some others (ehem Comcast Xfinity ehem) but still, that doesn’t get a free pass at being   in the customer care.

Is Viasat Good?

Well, you do only have two choices between this and Hughesnet but if you know the risks you’ll be taking as well as not minding customer service, you should be fine with this.

We advise getting the Gold plan if your area doesn’t have cable internet coverage but if you have more money to burn, then Platinum would be best for safe measures despite latency issues.

Hughesnet - Has vastly improved since its makeover in 2017 with major improvements on data perks and constant internet speed.

If you haven’t been a subscriber to Hughesnet before, it used to be such a terrible internet service. But since 2017, it has gone through a major overhaul that made it favorable for a lot of subscribers over Viasat.

It only has 25 Mbps tops on all plans but the good news about Hughesnet is that while all the plans are on one internet speed, they’re more consistent than Viasat’s.

What you’re paying for in the plans are the sizes of the data limits. There are 4 of them:

Now you may think, “Wait a minute, why am I going to pay more for the same internet speed but with different data limits?”  

This is where we’re going to find out what’s likable about Hughesnet post-2017.

What We Like

Consistent Stability

While it honestly does have some hiccups here and there, they put everything on a flat 25 Mbps to focus on the stability of the network.

This is where Hughesnet outshines its arch nemesis, Viasat. It sacrifices variety in favor of consistency and it shows.

Even after exceeding data limit, it still pertains the right amount of speed. It’s just a very reliable network to have.

No Hard Data Limits

It does feel cruel whenever the internet provider slams you to the wall saying “HEY BUDDY, YOU JUST WENT ACROSS THE LINE. TIME TO PAY UP!”

Hughesnet is an exception by being kinder to its consumers – when you go over the data limit, you can still use the internet at just a slightly reduced speed that’s tolerable enough to scroll through social media, watch SD quality videos and play casual online games.

Just don’t do any of those together at the same time or the reduced internet speed is really going to hurt you.

Video Data Server Technology

Simply put it, when you watch a video, it sucks up a lot of data from you.

Fortunately, Hughesnet saves you the trouble and data space by saving data from viewed videos so when you replay them, the internet data will be consumed less than half.

Bonus Data from 2 am to 8 am

To make up for just offering 25 Mbps, subscribers get an extra 50 GB every 2 am to 8 am that renews every month.

That means you can do all your downloads with the bonus 50 GB at those times without having to accumulate your original data plan.

HughesNet Overhauled Its Own System

The folks in the company call their brand-new system HughesNet Gen5 – a much-needed improvement that was established in 2017 to provide stronger satellite coverage, consistent internet speeds, and minimal latency issues.

It works and that’s why we like it.

No Price Hikes

Contrasting Viasat is the absence of price hikes: no additional fees, no activation fees, no 3-month price increase, nothing.

What they advertise is what you’ll pay.

This is one of the perks in HughesNet to make up for all their 25 Mbps-only internet plans.

Offers Business-type Internet Plans

Are you running a business and want to avail a satellite internet service for your team? HughesNet has got you covered.

Here are their internet plans for business:

  • Business 35 GB: 25 GB Daytime data + 10 GB Anytime Data; good for 2-4 persons with moderate internet usage.
  • Business 50 GB: 25 GB Daytime data + 25 GB Anytime Data; good for 5 persons with moderate internet usage.
  • Business 70 GB: 25 GB Daytime data + 50 GB Anytime Data; good for 5-9 persons with frequent internet usage.
  • Business 150 GB: 50 GB Daytime data + 100 GB Anytime Data; good for 10 persons with heavy internet usage.
  • Business 250 GB: 25 GB Daytime data + 25 GB Anytime Data; good for 10 or more persons for an internet-based business.

What We Don’t Like

Very Limited Capabilities for the User

So you have satellite internet with 50 GB. What now?

You can always stream on Netflix, play video games or watch HD videos but don’t expect to do any of these constantly till the end of the month. You may not know you’re going to need more data until that throttled speed hits you.

No Faster Internet Speed

Face it: it’s hard to get things done in America when you’ve got only 25 Mbps. Sure, you can have the internet anywhere in the world but if you’re a home-based internet user, you’re going to need more than 25 Mbps and a max of 50 GB a month.

Overpriced for What You’re Getting

While Viasat may cost you $100 for their 100 Mbps plan, HughesNet will ask you the same price but only for a mere 25 Mbps.

At some point, it’s just not worth getting their most expensive plan if other companies have the same price but with more consistent speeds.

So why bother choosing a satellite internet over cable? We’ll let you know later on.

It Still Has Latency Issues

Its internet stability may be much better than Viasat but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. HughesNet still tends to have the same problems as its counterpart but that’s really how satellite internet providers really go.

Customer Service is Meh

Just like Viasat, it’s not the worst customer service out there but it does surely need to improve similar to their new satellite technology.

What we need is a representative who knows how to be humble and will get you out in any major problematic situation regarding internet quality.

Is HughesNet Good?

If you don’t have any choice because your area doesn’t have cable internet coverage and you have enough money to spare for monthly internet service, HughesNet is undoubtedly good.

It doesn’t stretch far from Viasat in terms of overall good quality but despite the lack of more than 25 Mbps per plan, at least Hughesnet does a good job at keeping the quality stable.

But with good signals and lots of perks to be had from their service, you don’t want to just miss out on their exclusives.

Verdict on Both Satellite Internet Providers

So now it comes to this question: Why bother choosing satellite over cable if they’re much more expensive, have little to no perks, have not-so-great customer service, and have very expensive plans with slow internet speeds?

That is because of several things: because satellite internet lets you roam anywhere in the world with internet, the joy of not having any annoying wires inside the home, and because they’re more widely available to America more than any other cable internet providers.

So which one is which should you choose? Consider that both Viasat and Hughesnet have pros and cons towards each other.

Viasat has more plans for you to choose from 12 Mbps up to 100 Mbps however the 3rd month price increase and the inconsistent network quality give this mixed reactions for subscribers.

On the other hand, people choose Hughesnet for the consistency despite only offering just 25 Mbps on all plans but have various data limit capacities. But the big sad react here is that they feel too overpriced just for paying 25 Mbps.

All in all, it’s really up to you on whether or not these are worth your while.

Why Choose Satellite Internet?

People have been wondering this for ages since the internet has become a household utility. Why go for satellite if you can have more choices of faster speeds and lower prices on wired internet?

Because satellite internet is the most widely available type of internet for anyone in the United States. It covers all states and can be installed within just minutes after subscribing to them.

Another reason is that you don’t have to worry about internet signals at all since the satellite is hovering over planet Earth – that is until bad weather comes in.

You can also bring it anywhere you go in the world as long as you’re a subscriber.

However, for the most part, people buy satellite internet because their areas do not have coverage for certain wired internet providers.

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Sam Churchill
Sam Churchill
Sam Churchill is the founder and editorial in chief at Daily Wireless. He has spent more than 2 decades blogging about all forms of wireless communications.

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Sam Churchill
Sam Churchill is the founder and editorial in chief at Daily Wireless. He has spent more than 2 decades blogging about all forms of wireless communications.

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