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Starlink vs. Viasat: Which Internet Provider Is Best for You?

Do you prefer living on the cutting edge or relying on proven solutions?

  • Lowest latency
    • Price: $120.00–$200.00/mo.
    • Customer rating: N/A
    • Speed: 5–100Mbps
    • Internet type: LEO Satellite
    • Data cap: Unlimited
  • Best for data
    • Price: $99.99–$119.99/mo.
    • Customer rating: 3.1/5
    • Speed:50–150 Mbps
    • Internet type: GSO Satellite
    • Data cap: Unlimited

Compare Starlink and Viasat head to head

Satellite internet is experiencing a boom in new technological innovations, spearheaded by low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations like Starlink. While new LEO satellites promised internet connections with faster speeds, lower latency, and more affordable prices, Starlink really only delivered on the latency issue. Meanwhile, traditional geostationary (GSO) satellite providers like Viasat might not be pushing into the unknown with their technology, but they’re continuing to offer consistent, reliable service, as you’d expect after 40 years of experience.

Furthermore, GSO providers have been slowly, but consistently, improving their service in recent years—arguably in response to the new competition from LEO providers. Despite having very different technologies, GSO providers seem to be closing the gap, for now.

Pros and cons: Starlink vs. Viasat


  • Low latency
  • Portable options
  • Unlimited standard data


  • High equipment costs
  • Long delivery times
  • Unreliable speeds


  • Faster speeds
  • Unlimited data


  • High latency
  • Speeds vary by region
  • Prices vary by region


Want to know what all the options are in your area? Take a look by typing in your zip code below.

Plans and pricing: Starlink vs. Viasat

Viasat has a single one-size-fits-all plan. Starlink plans are slightly more expensive than Viasat plans and come with a much larger up-front equipment cost, though they can hit higher max speeds.

Starlink plans and pricing

PackagePrice*SpeedOrder online
Starlink Standard $120.00/mo.20Mbps–100MbpsView Plan
Priority 2TB $500.00/mo.150Mbps–500MbpsView Plan
Starlink for RVs $150.00-$200.00/mo.5Mbps–50MbpsView Plan

Starlink offers just one standard option for residential internet, but also offers portable and in-motion internet access through its Starlink Roam plans. While this can be an incredible option for those who want internet access that goes wherever they go, it comes with both higher prices and lower speeds, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons before you make the switch.

Viasat plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedData capOrder online
Viasat Unleashed$99.99–$119.99/mo.*50–150 MbpsUnlimited

When signing up for Viasat, you only have one option, though the plan does vary slightly in price and pretty significantly in speed depending where in the US you’re located.

Not sure how much speed you need?

Take our quiz to find out.


Extra fees: Starlink vs. Viasat

Equipment FeeInstallation FeeOther Fees
($2,500.00 for Flat High Performance equipment)
Self-installationAdditional mounts from $37.00–$59.00
Additional cables from $26.00–$93.00
($250.00 Lifetime Lease)
$0.00–$300.00 professional installationNone

Equipment and installation are significant concerns when switching to any new wireless plan. Viasat makes switching relatively painless with free professional installation (with credit approval) and an option for a very low monthly equipment rental fee. Installation involves mounting a satellite dish on or nearby your house and running a cable inside to the router. The dish requires careful alignment, which must be done by a professional.

Starlink installation is simpler in many ways, but also much more expensive. There is no option to rent equipment, so you must purchase it all upfront at more than twice the cost of purchasing Viasat’s equipment. Although it’s much more forgiving as far as alignment, installing it on your roof usually gives you the strongest signal. Working on your roof is always potentially dangerous, so be sure to consider this before you sign up.

Internet types: Starlink vs. Viasat

Internet typeOrder online
StarlinkLEO SatelliteView Plans
ViasatGSO Satellite

Both Starlink and Viasat offer some important differences between. Starlink operates a constellation of tiny satellites in low orbit that cross back and forth across the sky. Viasat operates just a few large satellites in geosynchronous orbit, very far from the surface of the Earth. The time it takes for your data to travel to one of those satellites and back causes incredibly high latency or lag on your connection. In contrast, Starlink’s satellites are close enough to the Earth that your latency probably isn’t noticeably higher when compared with other internet types.

While latency is a big deal for certain kinds of activities like online games or livestreaming, most online activities depend more on download speeds. Although Starlink initially boasted much higher speeds than its competition, these speeds have continued to drop as more and more people sign up for the service. Currently, Starlink and Viasat plans have a considerable amount of overlap, though Starlink still has higher top speeds. These speeds could improve as Starlink launches new satellites or they could continue to drop as new customers connect to the already overburdened network.

Data caps: Starlink vs. Viasat

Data CapOrder online
StarlinkUnlimited standard dataView Plans
ViasatUnlimited data

Starlink has waffled back and forth on data caps. After initially having a truly unlimited connection and later trying and failing to manage congestion on its network with a data cap, Starlink plans once again have unlimited data, though you still have to pay for data allotments to get priority speeds.

Viasat has now eliminated data caps and now offers truly unlimited data, similar to how Starlink operated at launch. Speeds are not throttled or deprioritized in favor of those who pay extra. There are also no overage charges or fees associated with your data usage. Viasat does note that households who use over 850GB of data in a month might experience slowing, so although it’s not entirely clear at this point if that means deprioritization, but even if it does, this is something like Viasat as giving you nearly the equivalent of Starlink’s 1 TB Priority Data plan for free each month. Not a bad deal.

Contracts: Starlink vs. Viasat

Contract lengthOrder online
StarlinkNo contractView Plans
ViasatNo contract

Neither Starlink or Viasat require no long-term contracts and we think that’s great. Starlink does require you to buy your equipment upfront, which is a pretty big investment, but it’s definitely better than paying huge termination fees down the line.

Viasat makes switching even more painless by offering an option to lease your equipment, while also offering a purchase option at a lower cost than Starlink.

Installation: Starlink vs. Viasat

Installation optionsOrder online
StarlinkSelf-installationView Plans
Viasat$0.00–$300.00 professional installation

Starlink doesn’t offer professional installation, so you’ll have to set up your equipment yourself. Although it’s much simpler to install than the equipment for GSO satellite service, doing any work on your roof can be dangerous if you don’t have experience doing it. If you’re not confident installing your dish on your roof, we suggest that you contact a friend or hire a local handyman for assistance. Starlink has also struggled with the logistics of getting equipment to new customers, with the wait lasting up to 11 months at one point.

Viasat offers free professional installation with credit approval, which definitely takes a lot of the headache out of switching providers if you qualify.

Availability: Starlink vs. Viasat

Both Starlink and Viasat are available nationwide, even in remote locations. Starlink Roam plans give the added benefit of accessing the internet anywhere you go, whereas Viasat and Starlink Residential plans only function at your home address.

To see all the internet providers available in your area, enter your zip code below:

Final call: Starlink vs. Viasat

Although Starlink was once the clear winner among satellite internet providers, it now occupies more of a niche role. For people who need low latency or portability, Starlink is still the best option. For people who care more about price or data usage, Viasat will probably fit your needs better and they’ll have it installed on your house in days, not months.

View Starlink Plans


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.

Author -

Peter Christiansen writes about satellite internet, rural connectivity, livestreaming, and parental controls for Peter holds a PhD in communication from the University of Utah and has been working in tech for over 15 years as a computer programmer, game developer, filmmaker, and writer. His writing has been praised by outlets like Wired, Digital Humanities Now, and the New Statesman.