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Available virtually anywhere in the US, Viasat and HughesNet both offer satellite internet where other types of internet connections can’t go. There are a ton of satellite myths out there to discourage you from choosing satellite, so be sure to do your homework before swearing it off. If you live in a suburban or rural area, you have more options than you might think.
$49.99 – $149.99/mo.
Max Download Speed
12 – 100 Mbps
Max Download Speed
Pricing, speeds, offers, and availability vary by service address and are subject to change at any time. Additional fees, taxes, and terms may apply. *Pricing for first 3 months in select areas. As of 8/1/22.
Viasat Internet Plans
Depending on your location, Viasat satellite internet has plans that come with up to 100 Mbps download speed. You can enjoy fast internet speeds to browse the web and stay connected to loved ones easily. Leveraging its satellite network, Viasat is prevalent among the most underserved rural communities where fiber and cable aren’t accessible.
HughesNet Gen5 Internet Plans
HughesNet Gen5 brings you more of everything you love to do online: fast speeds, unlimited data with no hard data limits, and built-in WiFi for better home coverage. While download speeds aren’t as fast as Viasat, they offer cheaper introductory pricing and professional installations within five days of ordering your service.
HughesNet offers lower introductory prices that are ideal for budget shoppers, while Viasat offers higher speeds in select areas. Check out how else these two satellite internet providers stack up on other features below.
If you get satellite internet, you’ll need a physical dish installed at your home to receive signal. Both providers offer a professional installation where a trained technician will stop by to set up your equipment.
For HughesNet, a professional technician will install the HughesNet WiFi modem and satellite dish, and also connect two devices, such as a desktop computer or smartphone for you. You can usually get a visit scheduled within five days of setting up your service.
Likewise, Viasat will send a certified satellite installation technician who’s trained to find the best placement for your satellite dish. They typically schedule appointments anywhere from 3 to 5 business days after signing up.
Of these two satellite providers, Viasat is the only one that currently offers internet security. Viasat recently launched Viasat Shield Premium in partnership with Bitdefender, which offers customers cybersecurity and antivirus protection for a user’s home network and devices. On its own, Viasat charges a small fee per month for the service but includes it for free with all internet plans.
Neither provider enforces hard data caps. However, once you use a certain amount of data for the month, they may prioritize your data behind other customers during network congestion which will result in slower speed. In other words, you may experience internet throttling if you hit a data threshold.
Satellite has inherent high internet latency due to the distance signal have to travel between your satellite dish and the satellite. There will be very little difference in latency between Viasat and HughesNet for this reason. While it’s possible to game online and stream video over satellite internet, High latency rates can make them frustrating activities. However, high latency has little effect on general browsing and sending emails.
There are additional costs associated with internet service you don’t want to overlook before signing up. We’ve outlined the most common internet fees you might see on your bill as a one-time charge or recurring payment.
When it comes to equipment fees, Viasat and HughesNet offer similar rates. For a monthly equipment lease, HughesNet charges $14.99 per month, and Viasat offers $12.99 per month.
Viasat and HughesNet both charge a one-time fee of $99 for a professional home installation. Occasionally, you may find a deal where this fee is waived, so be sure to call in to speak with a representative.
Early Termination Fees
If you sign up for one of their plans and cancel your service before your 2-year service agreement expires, you’ll likely face an early termination fee. Both Viasat and HughesNet require 24-month contracts and charge $15 for each remaining month left on your term. This can add up quickly if you decide to switch early on, so be sure you’re ready to commit before signing up.
First-time customers can enjoy a discounted rate for the first few months of service with either provider. However, Viasat increases its monthly internet price after the first three months whereas HughesNet offers lower prices for the first six months of service. After your rate increases to the standard rate, the price will remain fixed for the duration of your service agreement.
Picking a Provider
On the surface, you might think satellite internet companies are one and the same. But Viasat and HughesNet each offer unique perks that set them apart. Let’s recap on a few aspects that might sway you one way or the other.
HughesNet: Budget Shopper
Of the two providers, HughesNet satellite internet is more affordable on the whole. While its equipment lease is a few bucks short of Viasat, it offers a lower introductory rate for a longer period (three months vs six months). If you want to stretch your dollar further, HughesNet is the way to go.
Viasat: High-Speed User
HughesNet might offer cheap internet plans at the get-go, but Viasat internet service offers higher bandwidth in select areas. With download speeds up to 100 Mbps, you can enjoy an internet connection on more devices at once. You can also bundle home phone with Viasat, but is unavailable with HughesNet.
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