Satellite Internet Providers

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About Satellite Internet

Satellite internet is available almost everywhere in the United States and to virtually 100% of the population. With stats like that, you almost certainly have a satellite internet provider in your area.

Unlike traditional internet that relies on cords and cables, satellite internet works by sending a wireless signal from the dish mounted on your house to a geosynchronous satellite in space. By always maintaining the same position in the sky, the satellite can beam your signal back to the provider’s network access point. Because this wireless method makes internet available anywhere you set up a dish, satellite internet is ideal for rural communities that lack landlines for DSL, cable, or fiber internet.

Although data sent via satellite happens at a very high speed, the 44,000-mile round trip to outer space and back will understandably cause some latency. Latency, or lag, is the time it takes for data to travel. This differs from bandwidth, regularly called internet speed, which is the amount of data that can be transferred in a second. Satellite internet companies have greatly improved their bandwidth, which will help download speeds, but activities that require sending a lot of data back and forth, like online gaming, will still show notable latency.

List of Satellite Internet Providers

Provider User Rating Max Download Speed
Viasat 2.0/5 100 Mbps View Plans for Viasat
HughesNet 2.5/5 25 Mbps View Plans for HughesNet


You can’t beat satellite Internet for availability. It is available almost everywhere. You just need a clear view of the sky and the property rights to have a satellite mounted.


While satellite Internet is faster than dial-up, it is not as fast as cable or fiber.

The long delay in signal makes it almost impossible to play online games or stream. Browsing is also delayed as each page takes a few seconds to begin loading.

Final Analysis

Satellite Internet is widely available and the set-up is minimal. The relatively low speeds and high latency can be frustrating, so it would be a good idea to first check for wired Internet options. Satellite is still a good alternative to dial-up Internet and sometimes the best choice for rural areas.

Need internet and TV? We’ve got you covered.

Best Satellite TV Providers: Buyers Guide helps you compare the most affordable satellite internet providers by zip code. But if you’re looking for satellite TV, too, just be aware that neither Viasat or Hughesnet offers television service. There are only two satellite television providers: DISH and DIRECTV. Read on to learn more about the different options available to you so you can find the most affordable satellite TV provider for your zip code.

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What should I consider when searching for a provider in my area?

The great thing about satellite TV is that you can receive service regardless of where you live. From city dwellers to farmers, it’s available to everyone. All that’s required is the manufacturer’s equipment and undisturbed reception. However, it is important to consider the differences between the providers. Pay attention to the various services, equipment essentials, and reviews for each provider. In the end, it’ll come down to whichever company offers the features you’re looking for.


Both DIRECTV and DISH offer great options. Their packages are wide ranging with varying prices and promotions. DIRECTV offers six English TV packages with up to 325+ available channels, and it offers four Spanish TV packages with more than 110 available Spanish-language channels. Like most TV companies, DIRECTV also offers a myriad of add-ons, including a selection of premium content like HBO, STARZ, and SHOWTIME. One of DIRECTV’s most popular features is NFL SUNDAY TICKET, which is by far the best way to watch professional football. It covers every out-of-market game in HD and allows you to watch up to eight games simultaneously. You can also upgrade to NFL SUNDAY TICKET MAX, which allows you to stream live games on your phone or tablet on the go, making this is an unbeatable option for sports fans.

On the other hand, DISH offers four English TV options with 290+ available channels. Some smaller packages are less expensive than comparable DIRECTV packages, which is especially nice because DISH keeps its prices the same for two years, while DIRECTV will raise them on customers after one year. Like DIRECTV, DISH offers premium content such as HBO®, STARZ, and SHOWTIME. DISH also has the powerful Hopper 3 DVR, which allows you to store up to 2,000 hours of television and record up to sixteen shows at once. DIRECTV’s Genie DVR can store up to 800 hours of television and record five shows at once, which doesn’t stack up in comparison to DISH’s superior equipment.

Need to know more? Click here for an in-depth comparison of DISH and DIRECTV.

Top 2 Satellite Providers Summary

ProductMax Speed
#1Viasat25 Mbps
#2Hughesnet25 Mbps
Max Speed25 Mbps
Max Speed25 Mbps

Other Options for Rural Internet

Satellite internet is your best option for rural internet, but more options may be on the horizon. The expansion of fixed wireless and 5G technologies will soon bring additional internet options to some rural areas. As these new services become available, we’ll continue to update our database to show you all your options. For more information on these technologies, see our page about rural internet.

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