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HughesNet Review

Posted by: Scott Teran       Updated: 1/17/2017

The Bottom Line

HughesNet’s satellite internet service is worth checking out. Its plans are offered at a discount (while it lasts), and HughesNet has been recognized for delivering internet speeds as advertised. Though its customer service is just average and can use improvement, it’s something all internet service providers could improve.

  • PROS
  • Speeds are as advertised
  • Variety of service plans
  • Great discounts & deals
  • CONS
  • Below average customer service
  • Equipment can be expensive

PRICE 9/10

HughesNet prices are competitive, and its discounts more so.

What’s the real price?

HughesNet’s advertised price depends on the plan, and some plans are not available everywhere. In the first location we checked, we could only get the Connect or Connect Pro plan, and neither had special pricing. In the second location we checked, we could choose from the Choice, Prime Plus, Pro Plus, or Ultra plan. The Choice and Prime Plus plan had a $20 a month discount, and the Pro Plus and Ultra plan had a $10 a month a discount. Both discounts are only temporary, so it’s worth checking which plans and special pricing are available in your area.

Deal Update: Save up to $100 before 6/30/16

HughesNet is offering free installation ($99 discount) when you lease a select plan. It’s also offering a $100 discount if you purchase a select plan. You should be aware that the specials are temporary and are not available for every plan or area.

Hidden fees

HughesNet is upfront with its fees and pricing; there are little to no surprises. However, there is an early termination fee if you end your contract before 24 months. The fee is $400 if you cancel during the first 90 days of the contract, then it decreases by $15 per month for each month of active service. Also, if you leased the equipment, you have 45 days from cancellation to return the equipment in good condition or be charged a $300 fee (yikes!). Regardless, at the end of the contract you have to return the equipment.

Equipment

HughesNet equipment includes a satellite dish and modem. If you plan on using Wi-Fi in your home, be aware that HughesNet service does not include a wireless router. You’ll have to find a router yourself (prices at Amazon); HughesNet does not recommend a specific model to use with its service.

You have two ways to pay for equipment: purchase or lease. If you purchase, it will cost $400 for equipment (installation included). If you lease, there is a one-time installation fee of $99 and a $9.99 per month fee for the equipment.

PLANS 10/10

Plenty to choose from…if you live in the right place.

HughesNet packages

HughesNet has more plans than its competitors dishNET and Exede but all plans are not available to everyone. Depending on where you live, you may be able to choose only two plans, whereas some areas have four plans. We’ve included all HughesNet plans below, but you’ll have to enter your zipcode to see what’s available to you.

HughesNet Plans

Plan Advertised price/mo Regular price/mo Download speed (Mbps)** Upload speed (Mbps)** Anytime data allowance (GB) Bonus data allowance (GB)*
Connect $4999 $4999 5 1 5 5
Connect Pro $5999 $5999 5 1 10 10
Choice $6999 $7999 5 1 5 50
Prime Plus $3999 $5999 10 1 10 50
Pro Plus $6999 $6999 15 2 15 50
Ultra $7999 $8999 15 2 50 50

*Twilight Data: Data available between the hours of 2am and 8am **Speeds are not guaranteed

Which plan is right for me?

To help you decide if a plan is right for you, we’ve included the FCC’s Broadband Speed Guide below. The guide provides minimum download speeds (emphasis on minimum) for various internet activities, but be aware that “internet speeds are not guaranteed.” So if you need 5 Mbps speed at bare minimum, we recommend erring on the side of caution and going with a 10 Mbps plan or higher.

Activity (single user) Minimum Download Speed
Web browsing 1 Mbps
Watching video 4Mbps
Video conferencing 4 Mbps
Online gaming 5 Mbps

DATA 7/10

The only data limit that matters is anytime data.

How much data do I get?

There’s a big difference between anytime data and bonus data. Anytime data can be used, well, any time; however, bonus data is only available between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. So though HughesNet advertises a total data allowance of 60 GB with its Prime Plus plan, for example, 50 GB is bonus data, and only 10 GB is anytime data. Other satellite internet providers offer twilight data as well, but we think it isn’t much of a benefit because of the time restriction.

What if I hit the limit?

With HughesNet, your internet speed will be throttled when you exceed your data limit. There’s no overage fee, which is nice, but your speed will be so slow you probably won’t want to use the internet.

HughesNet does include a feature called Smart Browsing that lets you continue to email and browse the internet after you’ve exceeded your anytime data. You won’t be able to download or upload any large files or stream media (movies, music, etc.), but you can still get to your email. Smart Browsing is only available with the Prime Plus, Pro Plus, and Ultra plan.

SPEED 10/10

Delivering speed as advertised.

What internet speed do I get?

HughesNet’s plans have 5–15 Mbps download speeds, and though speeds are not guaranteed, HughesNet is ranked #1 by the FCC for meeting advertised performance. Exede is the only competitor to offer plans with higher advertised speeds (25 Mbps).

There are numerous factors that can affect your internet speed, and many have nothing to do with the service itself (e.g., multiple users on the same network). Consider a plan with higher speeds if you’re a serious internet user or if you have others in your household.

VPN slowdown

If you use a virtual private network (VPN), your internet speed can be reduced by 50–70% according to HughesNet.

EQUIPMENT 9/10

The 1TB Genie DVR is pretty great, and some “cool” features make it even better.

SUPPORT 7/10

Customer service could use improvement.

More complaints, better grade

Like most internet service providers, HughesNet can improve on its customer service. It does maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which means it responds to complaints, which is good… but it still gets complaints. It has 2727 complaints in the past three years (at the time of this writing), compared to 1461 for Exede (Exede has a B+ rating).

We didn’t experience any issues with customer service, but that doesn’t mean you won’t.

THE TAKEAWAY

HughesNet delivers solid satellite internet.

Worth a look with high potential savings

If you’re looking for satellite internet, Hughesnet is worth considering. We’re not fans of the bonus data—something competitors do better—but HughesNet’s discounts are hard to beat and its speeds aren’t bad.

The Prime Plus plan is a good deal (while it lasts)

Considering the $20 a month discount, the Prime Plus plan gets our recommendation. For $39.99 a month, you get download speeds of 10 Mbps and 10 GB of anytime data, which should be enough to watch a movie or two, stream music, and browse the internet without interruption. And if you did go over the 10 GB data limit, you’d still have Smart Browsing, which would let you continue to use email and do some casual web browsing.

Scott Teran - Reviews.org Writer

Scott Teran

Staff Writer

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Disclaimer: The information featured in this article is based on our best estimates of pricing, package details, contract stipulations, and service available at the time of writing. All information is subject to change. Pricing will vary based on various factors, including, but not limited to, the customer’s location, package chosen, added features and equipment, the purchaser’s credit score, etc. For the most accurate information, please ask your customer service representative. Clarify all fees and contract details before signing a contract or finalizing your purchase.

Our mission is to help consumers make informed purchase decisions. All content remains unbiased and uninfluenced by external compensation including, but not related to, ratings, rankings, and opinions. Our affiliate compensation allows us to maintain an ad-free website and provide a free service to our readers. For more information, please see our disclosures page.

  • Billo

    When does the plan reset from the low speed to the advertised speeds?

    • Hey Billo, thanks for the question!
      HughesNet resets throttled speeds back to advertised speeds at the beginning of the new billing cycle.

  • Gabe1972

    Great service. Had it since Nov 2004 and upgraded to the Gen4 service in Feb 2016. Getting nearly twice my advertised “up to” speed. Unlimited would be nice, but I understand the restrictions of a satellite ISP and why data caps MUST be there. Overall a great service for those of us with no ground based options (save dialup).

    Their Hughesnet Community based support is miles above the phone based support. Equipment lease fees, but if leasing it’s always covered under warranty.

    • Hey Gabe, thanks for letting us know, it’s great you had a positive experience—we love hearing feedback like this!

      • Cody Jannise

        If you work for HughesNet Customer service. GOD BLESS YOU! Hughes Net has the WORST Customer service ever. I am trying to setup a business account and literally get transferred 8 times. I have never experienced such terrible customer service and incapable people in my life. All I want is internet for my business and to spend over $300 a month in services and cannot get any help.

        • Sorry to hear you had a bad experience, just curious, do you plan on staying with HughesNet or have you looked into either Exede or dishNet for satellite internet?

          • Anthony1234

            Thanks for responding Trevor. I believe you’re missing the point. What I
            and most people filing complaints want is for Hugesnet to live up to
            their end of the contract. Telling people they’ll have enough bandwidth
            to stream and download files is disingenuous to say the least. As
            stated, Hugesnet has oversold the capacity of its satellites and
            consequently available bandwidth is being divided among the customer
            base – far more than Hugesnet can deliver and far less than what
            customers were promised. It’s only a matter of time before Hugesnet
            will suffer the consequences of these devious actions.

  • Alix Wood

    I will never suggest this service to anyone, even my worst enemy. I called them because I was told they were the only ones that service the community that I just moved to, and when I was asking about the service plans, the man asked what I would be using the internet for most, of course I said streaming movies and Netflix. He assured me multiple times that this would be the plan I needed and would work great. Once I had it installed, I tried to use the wifi on my phone that night and it was very poor reception. I ended up cutting my wifi off and using my data. I called them a few days later, (of not being able to get it to work) and asked if there was something wrong with my router or what the deal was. He informed me that I had used up the whole 10gb that they had provided and that I still had 50gb that I could use between the hours of 2AM and 8AM… I informed him that it was NEVER mentioned that this was how the data worked and that it was completely ridiculous. I asked if I could cancel my service without charge due to being completely mis-informed by the repersentative and I was told no, I would need to pay the $400 cancellation fee. I am completely frustrated with the situation. I will be leaving this review on any site that I can to inform people of the awful service they are offering. If someone from Hughes Net would like to try and help me get out of my contract, it would be greatly appreciated.

  • Peri Mashburn

    What a truly horrible experience I have had with Hughes Net. I have probably been without service more than I have had service. The radio transmitter in the dish has been replaced twice in one year. There is a charge for them to come out and replace the transmitter of approximately $125. When I asked the second repairman the reason, he said the radio receivers are very susceptible to moisture which causes them to short circuit. I have satellite dish for my television and have never had any issues with it in over 6 years in that location and over 20 years in another location. Customer service is no help whatsoever. I also asked to be let out of my contract in view of their inability to maintain service. I too was told there was a huge cancellation fee. Of course, they also are unable to note on your account that you want it to terminate on the date the contract terminates. When I asked if I could see a copy of the contract, they could not supply one for me. They told me to look at the contract on their website, even though it has probably been revised since my “contract” began. DO NOT use this service.

  • NITTANYRAY

    The guy I talked to on the phone to set up my account was one of the best representatives I have ever dealt with purchasing phone, TV, or internet service and i have been doing this for at least 20 years. English was his first language and he spoke very clearly. The pricing was very good and he explained that simple use like checking e-mail and Facebook doesn’t use up your anytime data. He also told me that if I wanted to buy the equipment instead of leasing it would be best to lease for a month before buying because installation was free only on lease installations.

    We had Dish internet before and they never delivered the advertised speeds. Our Hughes service will be about $12/mo cheaper than Dish even after the $10 TV bundle discount. The guy at Hughes said that dish leases the hardware off of Hughes and it is an older generation. We also had to reset our Dish modem frequently because the signal would become very slow or completely stop. Hopefully Hughes doesn’t have this problem.
    I will report back in a month or two after we have had a chance to use Hughes’ service.

  • Did you end up going with another satellite internet provider, or did you give up on getting internet at your cabin?

    • Anthony1234

      Thanks for responding Scott. I believe you’re missing the point. What I
      and most people filing complaints want is for Hugesnet to live up to
      their end of the contract. Telling people they’ll have enough bandwidth
      to stream and download files is disingenuous to say the least. As
      stated, Hugesnet has oversold the capacity of its satellites and
      consequently available bandwidth is being divided among the customer
      base – far more than Hugesnet can deliver and far less than what
      customers were promised. It’s only a matter of time before Hugesnet
      will suffer the consequences of these devious tactics.

  • Michelle Crain

    HughsNet has been the worst Internet experience I have ever had to deal with. Seriously, save yourself the headache and go with someone else. Their Internet hardly works and when it does it’s slower then a snail. We tried to cancel the service because of how horrible it was, but they lock you into this two-year contract for a reason because they want their money. They don’t care that there are providing crap service. The customer service representative’s are a joke. They never have the answers to the questions that we ask and put us on hold for several minutes while they try to ” get answers from their managers”. I will never recommend Hughes net to anybody.

    • Are you still using satellite internet? What are the options for internet in your area?

      • Michelle Crain

        No, we broke our contract with Hughes net because of how terrible it was. We are much happier with the decision to get rid of Hughes net and go with another company that provides us with excellent customer service and fast internet.

      • Anthony1234

        Thanks for responding Scott. I believe you’re missing the point. What I
        and most people filing complaints want is for Hugesnet to live up to
        their end of the contract. Telling people they’ll have enough bandwidth
        to stream and download files is disingenuous to say the least. As
        stated, Hugesnet has oversold the capacity of its satellites and
        consequently available bandwidth is being divided among the customer
        base – far more than Hugesnet can deliver and far less than what
        customers were promised. It’s only a matter of time before Hugesnet
        will suffer the consequences of these devious actions.

  • Taylor

    I would never recommend this internet service to anyone. My internet only works when I stand right next to the box. I called customer service and they were no help at all and pretty much told me I was a liar when I was trying to explain my internet wouldn’t pick up in my house they told me it showed that it was working on their end. Also, HughesNet sold me the router I currently have and it doesn’t work after having it for a year and they tried to tell me they didn’t sell me the router JCG when I have it on the receipt from when I got my internet hooked up. I wouldn’t even bother with this internet company it’s just a waste of money.

  • Donna Thames

    Hughes net is the worst service provider I have ever experienced. I had to disconnect my wifi and use my cellular data on my phone to download a small PDF file.
    After a month or so of depleted service, they offered an upgrade package to help with downloading. The only thing that upgraded was our bill.
    It is so slow I have never once been able to download a movie I purchase from ITunes or stream and watch anything from you tube.
    If you are expecting to download anything… good luck with that.

    You can just almost search the internet at best.

    Once we decided that we have had enough, we disconnected all service boxes, cables telephones, etc. that were linked to Hughes net. Then we called to cancel service and as we were being redirected through their automated system we were told that our service looks fine we should not have any problems. (EVERYTHING WAS UNPLUGGED!)

    My advice, don’t get yourself locked into their contact and be forced four years of terrible service or an astronomical cancellation fee.

    • Thanks for sharing with us Donna, sorry to hear that HughesNet didn’t address your problem at all—have you switched to another provider?

      • Anthony1234

        Trevor,

        The approach Hughsnet is using here – asking people if they tried another provider is not the right tactic. The question we all would like to ask is when will Hughsnet quit its unscrupulous marketing schemes and tell people upfront that streaming and downloading files is impossible because Hughsnet does not have the satellite capacity to fulfill its promises. As we now know a satellite only has a limited amount of capacity (bandwidth). We also understand that for a business to survive it needs to continually grow revenue. The problem Hughsnet has is it only has a few satellites but without added customers (revenue) it cannot sustain itself. So to get around this obstacle it must add customers and while doing so it must further divide an already limited amount of bandwidth. In technical terms its called throttling. When a cable company exceeds it bandwidth it can easily add additional capacity but a satellite company does not have the ready option of deploying another satellite without incurring a huge cost. That said, the approach your using telling customers if they don’t like the service to go elsewhere doesn’t address the question of how Hughssnet is going to remedy false advertisement claims? In other words, Hughsnet is essentially violating federal law by using confusing measurements to hide its throttling of data. This falls under the False Advertising clause of:

        Manipulation of measurement units and standards. This means:
        Manipulation of measurement units and standards can be described as a
        seller deceiving customers by informing them with facts that either are
        not true or are using a standard or standards that wouldn’t be widely
        used or understood which results in the customer being misinformed or
        confused. This is a violation of law.So Trevor, two questions:

        1. Will Hughsnet waive the $400 dollar early termination if the thousands of people complaining want to take you up on your offer to go elsewhere?
        or
        2. Will Hughsnet continue with its unlawful tactics under False Advertising and the FCC’s net neutrally law against throttling traffic?

        • Hey Anthony,
          Definitely appreciate your concern, however, we do not represent HughesNet.

          Our goal at Reviews.org is to help everyone find the service that’s right for them. We take our readers’ feedback into our considerations for every review, but there is no way we would address customer service issues on any company’s behalf—we’re simply seeing if we can steer someone in the right direction, or get additional feedback about their new service.

          Thanks again for your input!

  • Anthony1234

    You may get a high download speed when running a speed test but once you try to download a large file or stream video say hello to throttling. As such, forget about streaming unless you want to watch a program in less than standard definition. If you just browse websites the service works fine but in today’s world where most people stream video Hugesnet just can’t deliver. Even more frustrating is when you contact customer service. They always attempt to blame the lack of bandwidth for streaming on your equipment – router etc., stating everything is fine on their end. The bottom-line is they have over-sold the capacity of their satellites and use sophisticated throttling techniques to split the available bandwidth among their customer base, especially during prime time usage. This also explains the phenomenon of receiving acceptable speeds during testing, leaving you to believe you’re getting what you subscribed too. Keep in mind that a speed test takes about a minute so throttling won’t kick in, but when their equipment senses streaming or downloading – longer than a minute or so – the throttling slows the speed down based on how many people are using the system. The bottom-line is Hugesnet will continue to oversell its satellite capacity and use technological gimmicks to compensate.

    • We’re sorry to hear you had that experience Anthony. We’re assuming you’ve tried different devices or different routers and are still not getting the speeds you need. We’re curious if you’ve looked into another provider, if you have the option. Who else serves your area?

      • Anthony1234

        Thanks for responding Trevor. I believe you’re missing the point. What I
        and most people filing complaints want is for Hugesnet to live up to
        their end of the contract. Telling people they’ll have enough bandwidth
        to stream and download files is disingenuous to say the least. As stated, Hugesnet has oversold the capacity of its satellites and consequently available bandwidth is being divided among the customer base – far more than Hugesnet can deliver and far less than what customers were promised. It’s only a matter of time before Hugesnet will suffer the consequences of these devious tactics.

  • signed a very pissed off custo

    WORST service i have EVER had the customer service is ten times worse then the actual service. I will NEVER in my life refer anyone to this service, The management on the phone is absolutely no help i am disgusted in the way i was treated on the phone when i called to complain about the service that i was paying for and to top it all off when i called again to cancel the service because i was moving they refused to cancel the service. It took multiple phones calls for about a week for someone to finally cancel my service and when i received the boxes to return the items they sent me a list of items that didn’t even come with my plan that they were looking to be returned and told me i was gonna be charged $300 dollars if i didn’t return the equipment that i never received in the first place. so yet again it took 5 people to include 2 supervisors and a manager before someone was actually able to fix the problem which by the way still isn’t fix. I am so irate over this service its ridiculous i can not believe the way this company treats there customers and how awful their service is to top it all off.

    • We’re sorry to hear you had such a rough and confusing experience. Have you been able to find a provider you like better?

      • Anthony1234

        Trevor W.,

        The approach Hughsnet is using here – asking people if they tried another provider is not the right tactic. The question we all would like to ask is when will Hughsnet quit its unscrupulous marketing schemes and tell people upfront that streaming and downloading files is impossible because Hughsnet does not have the satellite capacity to fulfill its promises. As we now know a satellite only has a limited amount of capacity (bandwidth). We also understand that for a business to survive it needs to continually grow revenue. The problem Hughsnet has is it only has a few satellites but without added customers (revenue) it cannot sustain itself. So to get around this obstacle it must add customers and while doing so it must further divide an already limited amount of bandwidth. In technical terms its called
        throttling. When a cable company exceeds it bandwidth it can easily add additional capacity but a satellite company does not have the
        ready option of deploying another satellite without incurring a huge cost. That said, the approach your using telling customers if they don’t
        like the service to go elsewhere doesn’t address the question of how Hughssnet is going to remedy false advertisement claims? In other
        words, Hughsnet is essentially violating federal law by using confusing measurements to hide its throttling of data. This falls under the
        False Advertising clause of:

        Manipulation of measurement units and standards. This means:
        Manipulation of measurement units and standards can be described as a
        seller deceiving customers by informing them with facts that either are
        not true or are using a standard or standards that wouldn’t be widely
        used or understood which results in the customer being misinformed or
        confused. This is a violation of law.So Trevor, two questions:

        1. Will Hughsnet waive the $400 dollar early termination if the thousands of people complaining want to take you up on your offer to go

        elsewhere?
        or
        2. Will Hughsnet continue with its unlawful tactics under False Advertising and the FCC’s net neutrally law against throttling traffic?

  • Michael Huey

    I……wo….u…..ld… .L.iii……..k….e …t..o… s……a….y… m…….y…. s…e….r…..v..i….c..e is….. s.o…o.ooo..ooo..oo SL…..OO…WWW… but that would be an un……d…e.r…st…a..t…e..me…n.t……….

  • Alicia Knuppel

    Worse company ever. Want to charge me a $100 to have someone come out to take the radio transmitter that they installed for free. They put it in the middle of the roof! I don’t feel comfortable climbing up to get a little radio transmitter. But if I don’t return it then I get charged $200. What a trap. If I get hurt I will sue them. I hope no one signs up with this company slow service and horrible customer service. They don’t even know what they are talking about everytime I call.

  • John Barneson

    We are not HughesNet customers, and NEVER will be, as this company DOES NOT LISTEN TO US!
    SIX TIMES I HAVE CALLED IN TO TELL THEM NOT TO SEND ANY MORE SOLICITATIONS, AND THEY PERSIST.

    I AM ABOUT TO SEND BACK THE CURRENT ONE MARINATED IN SKUNK URINE, WRAPPED IN A DOG TURD AND ENCASED IN THE ROTTING GUTS OF A WHALE.

    WE HAVE NO DESIRE TO SEE ANOTHER FLYER, OFFER, SOLICITATION OR NOTICE OF ANY KIND WHATSOEVER FROM THIS INERT, UNRESPONSIVE AND INDIFFERENT “COMPANY”.

    OUTFITS THAT DON’T LISTEN TO THEIR CUSTOMERS DESERVE BANKRUPTCY–AND WORSE.

    THEY ARE AS BAD AS WELLS FARGO WITH ITS SO-CALLED “COMMITMENT” CAMPAIGN, ANOTHER P.R. BUTT NUGGET DESIGNED TO DEFLECT A LACK OF TRUE CUSTOMER SERVICE AS WELL AS A RIGIDITY AND LACK OF RESPONSIVENESS THAT IS BOTH DISGUSTING AND BREATHTAKING.

  • LPGZ

    We’ve experienced intermittent download speeds with HughesNet — with speeds as low as 200-300 kbps. We paid for the Ultra Plan but are very disappointed in the fact that often — especially in the evening hours — our connection speeds ramp down to below 1 Mbps!!!! VERY disappointed with the service!

  • Fanny

    AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL!!
    Really, worst company I had to deal with.
    1st: They sold me a bad product even knowing it wouldn’t be good for me. I told them what I needed (connect to VPN and video game). Internet was really slow, bad connection, not the speed they promised and when I called they said they service was’t good for it. So far bad, but I’ve been lied before.

    Then the real struggle: cancel and get my money back!
    I had to cal 9 (NINE) TIMES to cancel the account and get my money back, and of course every time I called I got a new information that made my canceling/refund one step further.
    – “Oh, we don’t refund even if you have 30 days trial”
    – “Oh, you called to cancel one week ago, but we are just going to cancel 2 weeks from now”
    – “oh, you have to return the equipment before get the refund, but you also have to wait for US to send YOU the box so you can return it, and this is going to happen just when the account is canceled, two weeks from now”
    – “now that you got the box you have to get your huge ladder and go on your roof to fetch the equipment from there to return to get your refund”
    – “now that you already returned and we already got the equipment I need a prove that I already got the equipment”
    – “oh, remember that authorization that your husband gave us for you to manage the account? So, that doesn’t worth nothing, now I need him to give a NEW authorization to refund YOUR money in YOUR credit card”

    Really, not worth the price!! Headache cost me way more!!

  • Consumer

    Looking for recommendations–from what I’m reading Hughes Net is not the way to go. Anyone found the other systems better? thanks

    • If you have other options for internet (DSL, Cable, etc.), go with that. We review satellite internet here for people who don’t have any other choice. HughesNet is really the best of satellite internet, but satellite internet has a lot to improve on (customer service, pricing, etc.).