Compare the top satellite internet providers of 2019

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What is satellite internet?

Satellite internet is a wireless internet connection that uses satellite radio signals to transfer data. An internet dish at your home beams your information request up to a satellite, which sends it down to a network station on earth. The network station then sends your request to the web server you’re trying to access. The server answers by delivering data back to your network station, which beams data to the satellite and finally, the information is sent back to your home internet dish.

Satellite internet offers a reliable, “always on” internet connection that doesn’t tie up your phone line, so you’re able to talk and surf at the same time. Since satellite internet doesn’t need wires to connect to your house, satellite internet is available in rural areas far from cable’s reach. Find satellite internet providers in your area with Allconnect.

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Best satellite internet providers of 2019

  • HughesNet  Best satellite internet provider overall
  • Viasat – Best satellite internet provider for high speeds

HughesNet and Viasat are the only satellite internet providers who provide service all over the U.S. HughesNet offers the best overall satellite internet in 2019 with HughesNet Gen5, while Viasat offers the fastest speeds among satellite internet providers. However, speed availability is limited by location. In select areas, only speeds up to 12 Mbps are available.

As ranked by Reviews.com as of 8/17/18.

Compare satellite internet providers in your area

  • Available in 50 states
  • Up to 25 Mbps available with every plan
  • Data allowance varies by plan
  • Bonus data times included with all plans
  • Built-in Wi-Fi included
  • HughesNet App lets you monitor data usage, buy extra data and pay your bill

  • Available in 50 states
  • Speeds vary from up to 12 Mbps to 100 Mbps
  • Data allowance varies by plan
  • Bonus data not included with all plans
  • Built-in Wi-Fi included
  • Viasat App lets you monitor data usage, buy extra data and pay your bill

Satellite internet providers like HughesNet let you choose plans based on monthly data allowance with fairly standard speeds across satellite internet plans.

Viasat may be better if you’re looking for faster internet speeds. Depending on where you live, speeds up to 50 Mbps or 100 Mbps could be available. Viasat also offers some plans with unlimited data, which HughesNet doesn’t have. Even with unlimited data, Viasat discloses that after a certain amount of data usage, your connection may get deprioritized during peak hours.

HughesNet may be better when it comes to actual internet speed performance compared to advertised speeds. According to a 2018 Federal Communications Commission report, around 80% of HughesNet internet users got median download speeds greater than 95% of the advertised speed. Around 40% of Viasat internet users got median download speeds greater than 95% of the advertised speed.

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Bundle your satellite internet service to save

Satellite internet providers like HughesNet and Viasat partner with TV service providers to offer bundle deals that save you money on your monthly bill. Check out similar packages from Viasat and HughesNet to see what you could save with a bundle.

HughesNet

  • Internet 25 Mbps, 10 GB data plan – $49.99/mo.* standalone
  • DIRECTV Select™ 155+ channels – $35/mo.* standalone
  • Phone – $29.95/mo.*
  • Internet, TV and phone – about $104.94/mo.* bundled

Bundled savings: $10/mo.*

Viasat

  • Internet 25 Mbps, Bronze unlimited data plan – $50/mo.* standalone for first 3 mos.
  • DIRECTV Select™ 155+ channels – $35/mo.* standalone
  • Phone – $19.99/mo.* when bundled with internet
  • Internet, TV and phone – $94.99/mo.* bundled

Bundled savings: $10/mo.*

*Pricing per month plus taxes for length of contract. Additional fees and terms may apply. Pricing varies by location and availability. All prices subject to change at any time. May or may not be available based on service address. Speeds may vary. As of 2/25/19.

On average, you’ll save the same amount per month by bundling Viasat with phone and TV as you would by bundling HughesNet with phone and TV.

However, after your first 3 months of service with Viasat, your monthly internet price will increase to $70 per month.* Plus, after using 35 GB of data with Viasat, your data could get deprioritized. If you don’t use too much data, consider either HughesNet’s 10 GB data plan or Viasat’s 12 GB plan, which doesn’t have a price increase after 3 months.

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Selecting your satellite internet provider

Keeping the following things in mind as you shop for a satellite internet provider can help you find the plan that’s best for you.

  • Price: Basic plans from major satellite providers like HughesNet and Viasat will often start around the same price point. Packages with faster data speeds (best for streaming and gaming) will come with higher monthly costs.
  • Data speeds: Consider speed options based on your browsing habits, or the quality of your favorite online activities may dip without compatible speeds.
  • Customer service reviews: Online reviews help gauge a satellite internet provider’s customer service performance and quality of services. Current customers will often use reviews and online forums to applaud providers with outstanding customer service or sound off when it’s lacking.
  • Contracts: Read through the terms of your potential plan carefully to know the details of your service and for how long you’re signing up. If you wish to cancel service later, you may encounter a cancellation fee.
  • Data caps: Depending on your plan, providers will cap your data at a certain amount and then slow your speeds for the remainder of the month. The higher your data cap, the longer your speeds stay as fast as you’re used to.

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Pros and cons 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.

  • Prone to weather-related disruptions or lags in speed.
  • Service can be more expensive than cable or DSL service.
  • Many 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.

Satellite internet provider customer satisfaction ratings

In self-reporting surveys like the Consumer Affairs overall satisfaction rating, Viasat (formerly Exede) has one out of five stars based on more than 100 consumer ratings as of 2/25/19.

In contrast, HughesNet has received an average satisfaction rating of two out of five stars based on more than 800 reviews on Consumer Affairs as of 2/25/19.

For more consumer insights on service from prospective satellite internet providers, visit Consumer Affairs.

Common satellite internet questions

Satellite internet providers like HughesNet are available nationwide and often cater to those in rural areas where internet access is limited. Call Allconnect to find providers and plans near you.

This internet connection type is best for those living in rural areas who want a broadband connection with moderate speeds. Satellite internet is ideal for those who casually surf for news, media and weather updates or stream movies and music.

Satellite internet providers use a satellite orbiting in space to transmit internet signals from your satellite dish to your computer. Your satellite dish sends data to the orbiting satellite, which then relays that data to a dish connected to the internet.

Latency refers to a lag or disruption in your service. To minimize, ensure your satellite dish is properly placed and that there are no trees or buildings obstructing the space between the dish and sky. Also, make sure your router is out in the open and close to where your service is primarily used.

No, some satellite internet providers, like Viasat, offer plans with unlimited data options. Viasat won’t charge you extra for going over a certain amount of gigabytes, but they may throttle your speeds if you go over a certain amount of data per month.

Since a satellite internet connection is wireless, satellite internet providers are able to provide high-speed internet service almost anywhere you can set up a dish.

Due to the way the satellite signal is transmitted, you won’t be able to game and stream as usual with satellite internet service. You may experience latency issues that will decrease the quality of internet activities that require a different type of connection.

Yes, broadband internet options include satellite, DSL, cable and fiber internet. Broadband speeds are a minimum of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

Last updated 2/25/19.

Get satellite internet near you

Whether you’re moving or just want to find a better deal on satellite internet at your current address, Allconnect can help. We make it easy to find and compare available internet providers and plans near you. Call now.

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