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Satellite internet providers

Shop satellite internet plan availability, pricing and speeds from providers in your area.

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What is satellite internet?

Satellite internet is an internet connection that uses satellite signals to send and receive data. Using geostationary (fixed position) satellites, providers can offer a reliable internet connection to nearly anywhere in the U.S.

You can use a satellite internet connection for downloading, streaming, uploading and even some gaming. Just like other types of internet providers, satellite internet requires a modem and a router for home Wi-Fi service, in addition to a stationary satellite dish.

Satellite internet providers in your area

There are only two nationwide satellite internet providers: HughesNet and Viasat. Both have different options for households of various budget, speed and data needs.

Satellite internet service from HughesNet and Viasat 

Compare
HughesNet
Viasat
Starting monthly price*
$39.99
$50
Speeds up to**
25 Mbps
100 Mbps
Plan term
Two-year agreement
Two-year agreement
Data allowance
Between 10-50 GB, depending on plan
Between 40-150 GB, depending on plan
Extra data
Starting at $9
Starting at $10
Home phone available
Yes
Yes

What are the best satellite internet providers?

Summary: While both providers are largely available throughout the U.S., Viasat is best for speed options while HughesNet is known for its pricing and bonus data.

Best for pricing, speed consistency and bonus data – HughesNet

Available throughout the U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, all HughesNet plans come with broadband download speeds up to 25 Mbps and low introductory pricing for the first six months. Customers can also take advantage of  “Bonus Zone” data – an extra 50 GB of data/mo. available from the hours of 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Best for speed options and data – Viasat

Available throughout most of the U.S., excluding Alaska and parts of Arizona, Viasat offers speeds up to 100 Mbps, though some areas may only have access to slower speeds ranging from 12 to 50 Mbps. Viasat plans are also likely to come with a higher data allowance, but lack the extra “Bonus Zone” data that comes with HughesNet. 

Is satellite internet a good option?

Satellite internet is available virtually everywhere, but it’s not for everyone. Satellite internet is best for residents of rural or suburban areas where cable or fiber internet connections are not available.

Satellite internet is improving, but still currently lacks the speeds and bandwidth capabilities of cable and fiber internet. In areas where satellite and DSL internet are the only available options, satellite internet may be your best option for broadband speeds.

Compare your available internet options and see if satellite internet is right for your home with our free ZIP code check service.

Advantages of satellite internet

  • Faster speeds than a standard dial-up connection with speeds comparable to DSL internet.
  • Satellite internet providers are perfect for rural areas where DSL and cable internet is not available.
  • Service usually has enough bandwidth to support light to moderate usage, web browsing and streaming movies and music.

Disadvantages of satellite internet

  • Prone to weather-related disruptions or lags in speed.
  • Service can be more expensive than cable or DSL service.
  • Satellite internet providers place monthly data caps on how much data a user may download or upload.
  • High latency makes playing real-time online gaming impractical.

HughesNet vs. Viasat data caps

Both HughesNet and Viasat plans have monthly data allowances. Viasat plans tend to offer a higher monthly data allowance than HughesNet. To give you an idea of how much data you’ll need with your satellite internet plan, here is an estimate of data consumption for various online activities.

How much data am I using?

  • Browsing the web/social media for 200 hours – 3 GB
  • Streaming 200 hours of music – 0.8 GB
  • Streaming 50 hours of SD video – 35 GB
  • Streaming 20 hours of HD video – 50 GB
  • Downloading a full-length SD movie – 4 GB
  • Downloading a full-length HD movie – 10 GB
  • Downloading a video game – 40+ GB

Why does satellite internet come with such low data allowances compared to other internet types?

Where a single fiber-optic node or cable internet hub may serve a dozen or more houses in a neighborhood, a single satellite may serve thousands of satellite internet customers all across the U.S. Consequently, available bandwidth capacity is limited with satellite internet, and providers use data caps to help ensure there is enough bandwidth for all.

HughesNet and Viasat both offer “unlimited” data

Fortunately, both HughesNet and Viasat plans come with no hard data limits. Once you reach your data limit, you will experience reduced, or throttled, internet speeds, but not an interruption in service or fees for going over your data limit. Your regular speeds will resume after the billing period in which you’ve gone over your limit ends.

Both providers also give you the option to purchase additional data “tokens” if you don’t want the speed reductions. Price and data amount for data tokens varies by satellite internet provider and plans.

David Anders David Anders
David Anders

Staff Writer

@allconnect

@allconnect

David joined the Allconnect team in 2017, specializing in broadband and TV providers. He is our transactional content lead and responsible for the most popular post in our Resource Center… Read more

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Satellite internet frequently asked questions

Is satellite internet as fast as cable internet?

Current satellite internet technology offers speeds comparable to DSL internet, but cannot deliver the speeds available with cable or fiber-optic services. Satellite internet speeds max out at up to 100 Mbps, while most cable providers can offer up to 10 times that speed.

Will satellite internet get faster?

Yes. Satellite internet is already significantly faster than it was in previous years and new, low-orbiting satellites could bring even faster speeds. Amazon recently announced Project Kuiper, which aims to launch over 3,000 satellites across the world to provide broadband internet access. Additionally, the low-orbiting satellites could also drastically reduce latency issues with satellite internet.

How can I boost my satellite internet?

Bad weather and extensive cloud coverage can interfere with your satellite signal, but if that doesn’t seem to be an issue, check out our tips to boost your satellite Wi-Fi signal.

Is satellite internet fast enough for me?

HughesNet plans come with download speeds up to 25 Mbps, which is considered broadband and is fast enough to support browsing the web, video streaming and downloading music. Viasat plans may come with download speeds ranging from 12-100 Mbps depending on your location, also fast enough for most online activities. For more information, see our guide to finding the right internet speed.

Is satellite internet good for online gaming?

Due to latency, playing real-time multiplayer online games with any satellite internet provider is impractical. Turn-based online games should work fine.

What is the fastest satellite internet service?

Where available, Viasat offers the fastest satellite internet speeds with download speeds up to 100 Mbps. These speeds are not available in all Viasat service areas, however. In some areas, Viasat only offers speeds up to 12 Mbps, which would make HughesNet the fastest satellite internet provider in that area with speeds up to 25 Mbps.


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Moving or looking for a new deal? Let Allconnect help you find the right internet plan for your needs. Call now to start comparing providers, prices and speeds in your local area.

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