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Hughesnet Internet Review: Affordable Internet for Remote Areas

Reliable Satellite Internet for Rural Connectivity


Price: $49.99–$79.99/mo.*

Speed: Up to 50-100Mbps

Data cap: Unlimited

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Provider star ratings are based on user reviews and our independent customer satisfaction survey.

Our Hughesnet internet review

Hughesnet offers affordable internet to rural areas that lack wired options like DSL or cable. Its pricing scheme is fairly straightforward, with three plans to choose from

Hughesnet also offers multitransport internet connections that combine satellite and terrestrial wireless under the name Hughesnet Fusion. These connections provider smoother, low-latency internet for real-time applications like online games and video chat, but don’t necessarily mean a faster speeds.

Although most Hughesnet customers we surveyed said they regularly received advertised speeds for their plan, during our testing we saw download speeds considerably lower than the 25 Mbps that Hughesnet claims. Although our connection occasionally hit higher numbers in speed tests, consistent speeds measured much lower than what Hughesnet advertises.


  • Low-latency Fusion plans
  • Lower-priced satellite-only plans
  • Purchased data doesn’t expire


  • Lower speeds

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Our Hughesnet hands-on testing

We signed up for Hughesnet to see how our experience compared to the providers’ claims and the experiences of customers we surveyed. The installation process was smooth and the installers did an excellent job (Hughesnet works with local contractors, so your experience may vary). We signed up for a 75 GB satellite-only plan and got to work seeing what it was capable of doing.

Testing Hughesnet speeds

Right away, we wanted to test the connection’s 25 Mbps download speed. We started with various online speed tests, which gave us a wide range of results, some notably higher than the advertised 25 Mbps. Of course, we wanted to see these results in action, and Hughesnet provides an app that makes it easy to track your connection’s data usage throughout the month.

Most video services suggest 25 Mbps as the minimum recommended speed for 4K video, so we found a video that offered 4K resolution on YouTube and started watching. YouTube will try to reduce your video resolution when it encounters buffering problems, even if you explicitly set the resolution in the video settings, so we used a browser plug-in to maintain consistent 4K resolution throughout the playback of the video.

We found that our connection couldn’t maintain playback on a 4K video and had to buffer extensively after each individual frame. In fact, it struggled almost as much with HD video, and without the plugin, YouTube would typically downscale the video to either 720p or 480p, which can get by on speeds below 3 Mbps.

We streamed 4K video over our Hughesnet connection for 12 hours a day until we had used up all our monthly data. This took us 19 days to use 75 GB of data, with an average of between 3.75 GB and 4.5 GB being used per day. This translates to between 43 and 45 minutes worth of video over a 12-hour period. Not exactly an ideal viewing experience.

What happens when you run out of data?

One of our biggest questions in this test was what would happen after we exceeded our data cap. Would we still have at least a semi-functional internet connection or would our speeds grind to a halt? After running out of data, we got much lower results on speed tests, though the difference was not as extreme as we expected. Similarly to before, there was a lot of variability depending on which speed test we used, but a few things stood out:

  • Speeds without data were slower than those with data across the board.
  • Speed test results were still higher than our estimated average speeds.
  • Speeds were higher in the morning and lower in the evening

The good news is that the drop off in speed isn’t as harsh as with some providers. Rather than capping your speed at some arbitrary point, it seems that your traffic is simply deprioritized, giving you slightly higher speeds during off hours and lower speeds during high-demand hours. The bad news is that regardless of what goes on behind the scenes, what you’re left with is a really slow connection.

Despite performing noticeably worse on speed tests, the difference over the course of the day seemed fairly negligible . Although we couldn’t measure the exact amount of data we were using, since the app just listed our remaining data at zero, over the course of 12 hours, we were able to get through about 43 minutes of 4K video, which is on par with what we were able to do before our data ran out. Despite Hughesnet’s pricing scheme is focused around the amount of data you want to buy, data didn’t really seem to matter much in the long run.

Testing Hughesnet Data Tokens

Purchasing Hughesnet Data Tokens is a very easy process. The Hughesnet app prompts you as soon as your data for the month starts running low, and you can purchase tokens in the app. Any purchased tokens are added to that month’s bill, so you don’t need to have a credit card ready or make an additional payment.

As soon as we added data tokens to our account, our speed test results jumped up to where they’d been before and all leftover data from the tokens carried over to the next month. Data from data tokens is listed separately from your monthly data in the app, so had we run out our data for a second month in a row, we would have already had extra high-speed data ready to go.

Hughesnet testing takeaways

The biggest takeaway from our Hughesnet testing is that although Hughesnet connections seem capable of reaching that 25 Mbps download speed, the average speed we experienced was much lower, which makes many online activities outside the reach of Hughesnet customers.

The silver lining to these lower than expected speeds is that you might be able to get by with less data than you would normally expect. Normally we strongly suggest choosing plans with higher data caps because it’s really easy to burn through hundreds of gigabytes in a single weekend, even at satellite speeds. With Hughesnet, it took a huge amount of effort just to burn through 75 GB in less than a month, so it’s hard to imagine normal customers using more than 50 GB of data on a regular basis.

We haven’t yet tested Hughesnet’s Fusion plans, so we don’t know what impact the added reliability that comes from a second network would have on average download speeds, but our experience was that satellite-only plans definitely struggle to deliver consistent broadband speeds.

It’s also worth mentioning that according to our latest customer satisfaction survey, most Hughesnet customers reported “always” or “usually” getting their advertised speeds, so your experience may vary. Since online speed tests give wildly different results for satellite connections, it can be hard to know if you’re getting the speeds you’re paying for or not. Satellite performance can also vary by location, so it is also possible that our location was an outlier, but in any case, our connection definitely underperformed our expectations.

Compare Hughesnet internet plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedInternetView on Hughesnet site
Select$49.99/mo.*Up to 50 MbpsSatellite
Elite$64.99/mo.*Up to 100 MbpsSatellite
Fusion$79.99/mo.*Up to 100 MbpsSatellite and Wireless

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Hughesnet speeds: What’s best for you?

All Hughesnet plans have unlimited data so your main considerations is download speed. Hughenet’s Fusion plan offers up to 100Mbps, which is over the FCC definition of broadband internet. 100Mbps might not sound like a lot of speed, but it can work for smaller households with simple internet needs.

How fast are your Hughesnet speeds?

Click below for a quick speed test and find out.

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Hughesnet data caps

Hughesnet’s monthly priority data allowances range from 100 GB to 200 GB. Priority Data is always prioritized ahead of Standard Data on the network. If you exceed your monthly Priority Data allotment, you will automatically start using your unlimited Standard Data.

Hughesnet also sells additional data in the form of Priority Data Tokens. Because tokens don’t expire, extra data you don’t use this month gets carried over to the next.

Is Hughesnet internet the best option where you live?

Enter your zip code below to see a list of the top internet providers in your area.

Our favorite plan: Hughesnet Fusion

This plan has unlimited data and up to 100Mbps of download speed, so if your household uses the internet pretty heavily or uses latency-sensitive applications on a regular basis, the extra cost of the Fusion plan is well worth it. For the average customer, however, going with the satellite-only Elite plan could save you some money.

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Hughesnet ongoing deals and promotions + bundles

Get a $100 Prepaid Card via rebate when you order a new unlimited data plan from Hughesnet. Terms apply and offer expires 3/27/24.

Hughesnet internet fees

Installation feeFree Professional Installation for Lease
Lease set up fee$99.99
Equipment lease fee$14.99/mo. ($19.99/mo. for Fusion)
Equipment purchase$299.99 ($449.99 for Fusion)

Hughesnet’s fees aren’t abnormally high for an ISP, but they add up. Since Hughesnet is often considered the more economical alternative to Viasat and Starlink, this can be a significant issue and shouldn’t be overlooked when budgeting your monthly bills.

Hughesnet internet installation, equipment, and contracts

Satellite internet is known for expensive equipment and long contracts, and Hughesnet is no exception.

Hughesnet installation and equipment

Hughesnet connections require an outdoor satellite dish, typically mounted on the roof. As such, professional installation is required. Hughesnet does give you the option of purchasing your equipment, but since this investment won’t start saving you money for about 30 years, we suggest just leasing your equipment from Hughesnet.

Hughesnet Fusion plans come with additional equipment for connecting to wireless networks that you can set up yourself inside your home. This equipment comes with additional monthly fees.


Hughesnet internet contracts

Hughesnet plans require a 24-month contract, which is among the longest you see with an internet provider. We aren’t fans of long-term contracts, and two years is about as long as they get.

See what other Hughesnet customers are saying

We like to have the most comprehensive information about customer experience, so please go to our Customer Review form and let us know about your experience with Hughesnet and check out what others have said.

Read Reviews

Hughesnet internet customer ratings

OverallSpeedReliabilityCustomer servicePrice
Hughesnet customer satisfaction rating3.1/53.1/53.1/53.2/53.1/5
Average rating*3.7/53.8/53.7/53.7/53.3/5

Hughesnet tied with Viasat for overall customer satisfaction in our annual survey, though it managed to edge ahead of the competition in most other categories. The biggest difference between the two was in price, where Hughesnet was looked at much more favorably.

Hughesnet customers also reported much more consistent speeds than Viasat, whose higher speeds are a big selling point. A full 58% of Hughesnet customers say they “always” or “usually” get their advertised speeds compared to only 39% of Viasat customers reporting the same

See what other Hughesnet customers are saying

Something about how we like to collect our own data around customer experience so please go over to our Customer Review form and let us know about your experience with Service Provider and check out what others have said.

Read Reviews

How Hughesnet compares to the competition

ProviderPlan price rangeSpeeds (range)User Rating§Order online
Starlink$110.00/mo.50–250MbpsN/AView Plans

For those looking for faster satellite internet speeds, Viasat has slightly higher max speeds than Hughesnet.

Newer LEO satellite services like Starlink can offer even faster speeds than traditional geostationary satellites, along with lower latency, but these satellite companies are still struggling to get up and running. Starlink is the only publicly available LEO satellite provider, and its customers are currently waiting months to get equipment. Most people can’t wait that long to check their email.

For those looking for a low-latency satellite connection, a better option might be one of Hughesnet’s Fusion plans, which combine satellite with low-latency wireless connections.

Read our full reviews of Hughesnet vs. its main internet competitors

Is Hughesnet internet right for you?

Hughesnet is the simple internet solution for people in underserved areas of the US. If you just need a connection that can handle the basics, Hughesnet will get you online and probably save you some money compared with other satellite providers.

FAQ about Hughesnet

Can I watch video on Hughesnet?

Hughesnet’s top speed of 100Mbps is technically enough to watch video (even 4K video), but we found it incredibly difficult to actually maintain those speeds consistently. We ran into serious buffering issues on video resolution above 720p.

Is Hughesnet internet actually unlimited?

Hughesnet does not have hard data caps, but there are still some restrictions on data usage. All Hughesnet plans come with unlimited standard data. Plans also come with a certain amount of priority data, which can be replenished with data tokens.

As implied by the name, connections using priority data on the network are given priority over those using standard data, which is handled using a best-effort connection. You can still theoretically get the full 50Mbps or 100Mbps download speed on standard data when there’s limited traffic on the network. If, however, there are too many people using priority data, their data will be prioritized over yours, resulting in lower speeds.


Our editorial team bases our analyses on customer input from our annual customer satisfaction survey, results from our speed test tool, and proprietary internet provider data on speeds and pricing. To strengthen our research, we look closely at provider contracts to get hard-to-find information on price hikes, data caps, and extra fees, and we keep tabs on the latest news reports and online reviews. When applicable, we also rely on our personal experiences testing these services.

We tested our Hughesnet connection by setting it up in a residential area where Hughesnet offers service and connecting a single laptop to the network over WiFi. We then used our speed test tool and several other publicly available speed tests to gauge the connection’s speed when using monthly data, when out of monthly data, and when using purchased data from data tokens. To test speeds over time, we used YouTube videos set to 2160p 4K resolution.

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