The Best Satellite Internet Providers of 2019

by | Dec 28, 2018 | Brand Guides, Provider Comparisons (Versus)

Save yourself the hassle of searching through endless pages comparing satellite internet providers. If you’re looking for satellite internet with the fastest service, the best price, the biggest data plan, or a combination of all the above, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve done the research so you don’t have to.

Viasat and HughesNet: The Top 2 Satellite Internet Providers

Viasat Satellite Internet logoHughesNet Satellite Internet

Download Speeds

Up to 100 Mbps

Download Speeds

Up to 25 Mbps*

Upload Speeds

Up to 3 Mbps

Upload Speeds

Up to 3 Mbps

Intro. Price for Top Speed

$150.00/mo. $200.00/mo. after 3 months

Intro. Price for Top Speed

$59.99/mo.

Top Features

Fastest Satellite Internet Provider

Top Features

Free Standard Installation

View PlansView Plans
Viasat Satellite Internet logo

Download Speeds

Up to 100 Mbps

Upload Speeds

Up to 3 Mbps

Intro. Price for Top Speed

$150.00/mo. $200.00/mo. after 3 months

Top Features

Fastest Satellite Internet Provider

HughesNet Satellite Internet

Download Speeds

Up to 25 Mbps*

Upload Speeds

Up to 3 Mbps

Intro. Price for Top Speed

$59.99/mo.

Top Features

Free Standard Installation

*Data valid as of 12/19/2018. Speeds and pricing vary by area and are subject to change.

Compare satellite internet plans in your area:

People who rely on satellite internet have fewer options than they used to. Recently, three of the former top five satellite internet providers discontinued their service, leaving consumers with only two choices: HughesNet® or Viasat Internet.

Neither of these providers offer satellite TV, but they can both be paired with DIRECTV or DISH for satellite TV service.

Which satellite internet service should you choose?

Choose Viasat Internet your satellite internet service because it offers the fastest speeds. Satellite internet always has lag—it’s inherent to how the technology works. But because the lag is unavoidable, you’ll want as much speed as possible to reduce any additional delays.

Viasat Satellite Internet logo

Viasat Internet (formerly Exede Internet) recently updated its technology and now offers speeds up to 100 Mbps in some areas. Viasat Internet costs more than HughesNet, but you also get more speed and unlimited data. The variety of speeds offered by Viasat lets more consumers find a package that fits the way they use the internet. Whether you like browsing social media or streaming HD movies, Viasat has a package for you.

Packages

Viasat offers several internet packages with unlimited data and speeds ranging from 12 Mbps to 100 Mbps. These Viasat packages come with built-in Wi-Fi for setting up a home network. The most affordable plan starts at just $50 per month, but that cost will triple if you want the top speed.

Viasat Internet packages vary in speed but all have unlimited data.(§)

Featured Viasat Internet Plans

UNLIMITED BRONZE 12

Speeds up to

12 Mbps

Starting at

$50/mo.

$70/mo. after 3 months

UNLIMITED BRONZE 25

Speeds up to

25 Mbps

Starting at

$50/mo.

$70/mo. after 3 months

UNLIMITED PLATINUM 100

Speeds up to

100 Mbps

Starting at

$150/mo.

$200/mo. after 3 months

All Viasat Internet Plans

Package NameSpeedData ThresholdIntroductory PricePrice Increase
Unlimited Bronze 12Up to 12 Mbps40 GB$50/mo.$70/mo. after 3 months
Unlimited Silver 12Up to 12 Mbps60 GB$65/mo.$95/mo. after 3 months
Unlimited Gold 12Up to 12 Mbps100 GB$95/mo.$145/mo. after 3 months
Unlimited Bronze 25Up to 25 Mbps35 GB$50/mo.$70/mo. after 3 months
Unlimited Silver 25Up to 25 Mbps60 GB$70/mo.$100/mo. after 3 months
Unlimited Gold 30Up to 30 Mbps100 GB$100/mo.$150/mo. after 3 months
Unlimited Gold 50Up to 50 Mbps100 GB$100/mo.$150/mo. after 3 months
Unlimited Platinum 100Up to 100 Mbps150 GB$150/mo.$200/mo. after 3 months
Package NameUnlimited Bronze 12
SpeedUp to 12 Mbps
Data Threshold40 GB
Introductory Price$50/mo.
Price Increase$70/mo. after 3 months
Package NameUnlimited Silver 12
SpeedUp to 12 Mbps
Data Threshold60 GB
Introductory Price$65/mo.
Price Increase$95/mo. after 3 months
Package NameUnlimited Gold 12
SpeedUp to 12 Mbps
Data Threshold100 GB
Introductory Price$95/mo.
Price Increase$145/mo. after 3 months
Package NameUnlimited Bronze 25
SpeedUp to 25 Mbps
Data Threshold35 GB
Introductory Price$50/mo.
Price Increase$70/mo. after 3 months
Package NameUnlimited Silver 25
SpeedUp to 25 Mbps
Data Threshold60 GB
Introductory Price$70/mo.
Price Increase$100/mo. after 3 months
Package NameUnlimited Gold 30
SpeedUp to 30 Mbps
Data Threshold100 GB
Introductory Price$100/mo.
Price Increase$150/mo. after 3 months
Package NameUnlimited Gold 50
SpeedUp to 50 Mbps
Data Threshold100 GB
Introductory Price$100/mo.
Price Increase$150/mo. after 3 months
Package NameUnlimited Platinum 100
SpeedUp to 100 Mbps
Data Threshold150 GB
Introductory Price$150/mo.
Price Increase$200/mo. after 3 months

Data valid as of 12/19/2018. Speeds and pricing vary by area and are subject to change.

Data Thresholds

Although the data on the Viasat plans is technically unlimited, each plan has a “data threshold.”  Viasat data thresholds vary from 35 GB up to 150 GB. Keep in mind, these are thresholds, not limits.

If you go over your data threshold, your online activities will be deprioritized by the provider. This doesn’t mean it will throttle your speed. You will still get the full bandwidth you’re paying for, but the data transported to and from your connection may have to wait behind that of others on the network who have not yet hit their data threshold.

It’s like being on the freeway. Before you hit your data threshold, you’re in the HOV lane, cruising by all the traffic. After you hit your threshold, you have to use the slower lanes. You’re still on the freeway and the speed limit didn’t change, but you lost priority over other traffic.

Bundling Options

Viasat gives customers a $10 monthly discount on their satellite internet service for twelve months if customers bundle it with DIRECTV. That’s over $100 for the year. Ask about bundling DIRECTV when you call to order.

Note: Viasat satellite internet and DIRECTV satellite television will require two separate satellite dishes.

You can also get $10 per month off your Viasat Internet service by signing up for Viasat Voice satellite phone service.#

Upcoming Changes

Viasat launched a new telecommunications satellite, Viasat-2, in 2017. Along with allowing greater satellite internet coverage, it will reportedly allow Viasat Internet to provide service to more subscribers and offer higher speeds. According to one report, the new satellite could give Viasat Internet the capability to deliver satellite internet service up to 100 Mbps.

The satellite is already passing tests and recently demonstrated its potential for military communications. Look for even more improvements to Viasat Internet service offerings in the near future.

Installation

Viasat offers professional installation. Installation costs will vary depending on the requirements of your building.

Cutting-Edge Technology

Viasat launched a new telecommunications satellite, Viasat-2, in 2017. Along with allowing greater satellite internet coverage, this superior hardware allows Viasat Internet to provide service to more subscribers and offer higher speeds. Residential satellite internet service that reaches 100 Mbps wouldn’t be possible without Viasat 2.

See what ViaSat plans and available in your area:

HughesNet Satellite Internet

If you’re simply looking for the lowest price for satellite internet, HughesNet might be right for you. It’s top internet speed (and only speed option) isn’t as fast as Viasat Internet, but it is less expensive.

Packages

The 25 Mbps offered on all four HughesNet package tiers provides enough speed for your favorite online activities. With HughesNet, you can watch videos, listen to music, and stay in contact with your friends and family via social media or email, but you will need to keep an eye on your data.

HughesNet’s four packages offer 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds, but each has a different data limit.

Featured HughesNet Internet Plans

10 GB of data

Starting at

$59.99/mo.

for 24 months

20 GB of data

Starting at

$69.99/mo.

for 24 months

50 GB of data

Starting at

$129.99/mo.

for 24 months

All HughesNet Internet Plans

Package NameSpeedData**Price
HughesNet 10 GBUp to 25 Mbps10 GB$59.99/mo.
HughesNet 20 GBUp to 25 Mbps20 GB$69.99/mo.
HughesNet 30 GBUp to 25 Mbps30 GB$99.99/mo.
HughesNet 50 GBUp to 25 Mbps40 GB$129.99/mo.
Package NameHughesNet 10 GB
SpeedUp to 25 Mbps
Data**10 GB
Price$59.99/mo.
Package NameHughesNet 20 GB
SpeedUp to 25 Mbps
Data**20 GB
Price$69.99/mo.
Package NameHughesNet 30 GB
SpeedUp to 25 Mbps
Data**30 GB
Price$99.99/mo.
Package NameHughesNet 50 GB
SpeedUp to 25 Mbps
Data**40 GB
Price$129.99/mo.

Data valid as of 12/19/2018. Speeds and pricing vary by area and are subject to change.
Speeds and pricing are for 24 months and require 24-month commitment.

Data Plans

In addition to the included data, you’ll also get a Bonus Zone of 50 GB of free data between 2:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m.(#)

Although you can still use the internet if you exceed your data plan, HughesNet  will reduce your speed to about 3 Mbps. So, taking advantage of the Bonus Zone for activities that use a lot of data will help keep your internet running quickly. But if you do go over your data plan, don’t worry. Even at the lower speed, you can still enjoy most online activities.

Pro Tip: The Bonus Zone occurs during hours most people will find inconvenient, but you can make good use of it with a little planning. These hours are a great time to download games or movies you want to play or watch later. Doing this will help you save on your regular data by watching or playing something you’ve already downloaded instead of streaming it during your non-bonus hours. Some services even allow you to schedule downloads in advance, making this strategy even more convenient.

Additional Services

HughesNet includes Wi-Fi in its packages and offers free standard installation.(‡) It also features Video Data Saver, which automatically adjusts your internet speed to help save data while still streaming smoothly.(†,‡)

What is satellite internet?

Satellite internet is delivered wirelessly, making it different from DSL, fiber, and cable internet. Instead of digging intrusive trenches and installing cables, satellite internet providers launch communication transmitters (satellites) into orbit around the earth. Orbiting satellites provide the connection necessary to deliver a variety of electronic communications, including TV, phone, and internet services.

Most satellite internet connections qualify as broadband internet.

The wireless nature of satellite internet service makes it available almost anywhere, providing service to many people who otherwise couldn’t access the internet. For example, many rural residents and people living or working in remote locations rely on satellite technology to stay connected with their friends and family around the world.

What about other satellite internet providers?

During our research, we were surprised to find so few satellite internet providers. We were sure some providers must be missing. However, due to some recent brand consolidations, each line of research led us to only the two providers we reviewed above. Below is a brief explanation of why some known names in satellite internet were not included in this article.

dishNET

DISH used to provide satellite internet service under the brand name dishNET, but that is no longer available. However, DISH still offers affordable satellite TV.

WildBlue

WildBlue is part of Viasat Internet. It’s the same service and uses the same equipment—it’s simply sold under a different brand name.

EarthLink

EarthLink still offers internet service (including wireless) but it does not offer satellite internet. The wireless internet service is delivered via 4G cell towers rather than satellites.

Exede Internet

In 2018, Viasat (Exede’s parent company) dropped the name Exede Internet and now uses Viasat Internet as the brand name for all its satellite internet service offerings.

Where can I get satellite internet?

Although high-speed satellite internet is available almost everywhere, it might not be for you. If you would like to explore your other options, we can help you there too. To see a list of Internet Service Providers available in your area, simply enter your zip code in the box below.

Disclaimers

* The HughesNet Gen5 service plans are designed to deliver download speeds of 25 Mbps and upload speeds of 3 Mbps, but individual customers may experience different speeds at different times of the day. Speeds and uninterrupted use are not guaranteed and may vary based on a variety of factors including: the configuration of your computer, the number of concurrent users, network or Internet congestion, the capabilities and content of the Websites you are accessing, network management practices as deemed necessary, and other factors. When you connect to the HughesNet service using Wi-Fi, your experience will vary based on your proximity to the Wi-Fi source and the strength of the signal.

span style=”font-size: xx-small;”> Free standard installation valid on Lease option only. Not valid with the Purchase option. Limited-time offer.

On the Unlimited Bronze 25, Silver 25, Gold 50, and Platinum 100 service plans, after 35, 60, 100, or 150 GB of data usage, respectively, Viasat may prioritize your data behind other customers during network congestion.

  • Minimum 24-month service term unless you select the no long-term contract option. Equipment lease fee is $9.99/mo or $10.00/mo depending on equipment type. Taxes apply. Speeds and streaming video quality are “up to,” are not guaranteed and will vary. Service is not available in all areas. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time. Viasat and the Viasat logo are trademarks of Viasat, Inc.

VIASAT INTERNET BILL CREDIT OFFER: The Viasat Internet bill credit offer is available only to customers who have not had DIRECTV service during the previous 24 months, who otherwise qualify to receive DIRECTV service and who are also new Viasat Internet customers. You must agree to separate 24-month service agreements to receive both DIRECTV and Viasat Internet services. $120 savings is based on discount of $10/mo on Viasat Internet bill for the first 12 months of your service term. The monthly internet service fee will increase by $10/mo after the 12 month introductory bundle price expires. To receive the credit, you must remain a DIRECTV and Viasat Internet customer during this time period. Viasat Internet offers are subject to applicable taxes and may be changed or withdrawn at any time.

VIASAT INTERNET: One-time standard installation fee may be charged at the time of sale. Minimum 24-month service term. Monthly service fee, equipment lease fee, and taxes apply. Speeds are “up to,” are not guaranteed and will vary. Service is not available in all areas. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time.

DIRECTV SVC TERMS: Subject to Equipment Lease & Customer Agreements. Must maintain a min. base TV pkg of $29.99/mo. Programming, pricing, terms and conditions subject to change at any time. Some offers may not be available through all channels and in select areas. Visit directv.com/legal or call for details. NFL, the NFL Shield design and the NFL SUNDAY TICKET name and logo are registered trademarks of the NFL and its affiliates. NFL team names and uniform designs are registered trademarks of the teams indicated.

©2018 AT&T Intellectual Property. All Rights Reserved. AT&T, Globe logo, DIRECTV, and all other DIRECTV marks contained herein are trademarks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

#New customers in participating sales channels who order Viasat Voice at the same time they order Viasat Internet will receive a savings of $10 per month on their Viasat Voice service for the first six full months of services provided they continue to receive both services. Existing Viasat Internet customers in participating sales channels who add Viasat Voice service will receive a savings of $10 per month on their Voice service for the first six months of Viasat Voice service provided they continue to receive both services.

**If you exceed your monthly plan data, you will experience reduced data speeds until that start of your next billing period. Reduced speeds may be as low as or lower than 1 Mbps and may cause Web sites to load more slowly or affect the performance of certain activities, such as video streaming or large downloads/uploads. Visit legal.HughesNet.com for network management details.

HughesNet is a registered trademark of Hughes Network Systems, LLC, an EchoStar company.

Minimum term required. Monthly service and early termination fees apply. Visit legal.HughesNet.com for details.

About the Author

John Dilley continually offers unique insights and a fresh point of view. He writes for several websites including CableTV.com and HighSpeedInternet.com. Along with writing, John has a passion for music. He is the lead vocalist and secondary guitarist for The Family Gallows in Salt Lake City. John also shares his personal ideas and philosophies through stories he publishes on his blog, JDilley’s Questions.

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