BestSatelliteOptions is reader supported. When you make purchases through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn how.
Table of Contents
Selecting the best internet service provider (ISP) to meet your family’s unique needs can be tricky, especially when there are so many quality options. Our internet experts at BestSatelliteOptions are dedicated to explaining your options to help you make the best possible choice for all your internet-related needs.
Today, we’ll be taking the time to explore everything you’ll need to know about the capabilities of Starlink vs. HughesNet and how you can choose between them!
According to Starlink’s parent company SpaceX, Starlink is currently serving more than 145,000 users in 25 countries across the globe. Presently, Starlink is only available in select regions within the United States, Canada, and other areas abroad. However, their coverage reach is anticipated to significantly expand over time due to the launch of several more satellites into low orbit earlier this year and other launches planned for the future.
Many of Starlink’s plans for expansion have suffered significant issues over the past few years due to critical silicone shortages around the world, which have caused massive production delays. As a result, many prospective consumers will be waitlisted to receive Starlink services, which may not become available for until well into 2023.
Speed, Data & Pricing
According to reports, Starlink had initially intended to keep its pricing and service options as simple as possible by offering only a singular internet plan for users. This plan changed relatively recently with the sudden introduction of their new premium internet tier, which will reportedly provide consumers more than double the antenna capacity of basic Starlink accounts and deliver much higher internet speeds.
- Data: Unlimited
- Speed: 100 to 200 Mbps with an average latency of approximately 45 MS
- Price: $599 for equipment (plus fees and shipping) and a continued service cost of $110 per month
- Data: Unlimited
- Speed: 150 to 500 Mbps, with a latency of only 20-40 MS, though 20 MS can be expected in many locations
- Price: $2,500 for equipment (plus fees and shipping), a continued service cost of $500 per month, and a $500 deposit
To help keep things more straightforward and to better allow users to determine whether or not to sign on with Starlink for internet services, let’s cover some of the overall pros and cons that come with Starlink’s various plans:
- Starlink satellite internet is (or will be) available to people living or working in highly remote or rural locations that were previously unable to receive internet or were stuck relying on other, slower satellite internet options.
- Starlink is easy to install.
- Starlink does not hinder consumers by locking them down with long-term contracts.
- Starlink premium users will receive improved performance in poor weather conditions.
- Starlink premium users will receive prioritized 24/7 Starlink support.
- Starlink’s equipment and monthly costs are exceedingly high and may not be affordable for many people or businesses.
- Starlink is not portable compared to cellular internet.
- Some services may experience disruption during poor weather conditions.
- Starlink may provide slower internet in cities compared to other internet options.
Max Download Speed
HughesNet satellite internet arguably provides a more straightforward package selection than Starlink, even though it technically offers twice as many data plans. They serve as one of the two most commonly-used traditional satellite internet service providers in the United States. They are widely regarded for providing quality internet options for those living in far-reaching areas that other internet connection types such as cable and DSL cannot go.
Unlike Starlink, which is currently available in only select areas across North America, HughesNet is widely available across the entire contiguous United States, including Alaska and Puerto Rico. The company has been in operation since the early 1970s and currently serves more than 1 million different subscribers across the country.
Speed, Data & Pricing
As briefly stated above, HughesNet offers four specific internet plans. However, each of these plans features the same 25 Mbps download speed. The primary differences between each plan are their monthly costs and the total amount of data that each option allows users to consume on a monthly basis. Their cheapest plan includes 15 GB of data, while their most expensive plan includes 75 GB.
In addition to these costs, HughesNet offers two ordering options for customers, which differ wildly in price. Consumers who choose to purchase their equipment see a one-time fee of $449, which includes the cost of installation. Those who choose to lease the equipment will receive a $99 setup fee and an additional $14.99 equipment fee added to their monthly bill.
Once again, we’d like to cover some of HughesNet services’ primary pros and cons to better assist prospective internet users in deciding which ISP is the best choice to meet their needs. Some of HughesNet’s essential benefits and drawbacks include:
- Their data plans are very transparent, especially regarding pricing.
- They offer multiple setups and installation options.
- Their plans carry no price hikes for at least two years.
- They provide opportunities for consumers to add more data plus free Bonus Zone data.
- They’re available in many rural areas that can’t receive other types of internet.
- They offer relatively low data caps for all of their plans.
- All of their plans offer the same low download speed.
- Their prices for higher data cap plans are relatively costly.
- Their options may not meet the needs of avid internet users or gamers.
Max Download Speed
The Difference between LEO & GEO
The primary difference we’d like to note between Starlink and HughesNet services involves distinguishing between low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites and Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit (GEO) satellites. The latter are more traditional and are the satellites used by HughesNet internet service. They orbit above the Earth’s equator at approximately 22,300 miles above its surface. Because of this, they cannot provide continuous service for specific locations at or above about +/- 70 degrees latitude. Additionally, internet service provided by these satellites often experiences intense lag or latency due to the massive distances signals have to travel.
In contrast, Starlink internet uses LEO satellites, which orbit the Earth approximately 300 miles above the surface. These satellites are arranged in “constellations” that enable better, uninterrupted internet communications for users across the globe. They don’t tend to suffer the same latency or lag issues as GEO satellites. These aspects can help ensure a quality user experience, and many experts anticipate that LEO satellite internet will eventually become the preferred provider of global communications.
Choosing between two or more high-quality internet service providers can be a serious challenge, especially when you have terrific companies like Starlink and HughesNet.
Consider exploring our website’s database of other quality providers for access to more information. Use our recommendations to ensure you’re partnering with only the best of the best!
Table of Contents