Best Satellite Internet Providers of 2020

If you need web access in the country, Viasat and HughesNet are likely your best rural internet options for now.
Best Speeds
Monthly price
Download speeds
12100 Mbps
Data cap
12150 GB
Best Budget Pick
Monthly price
Download speeds
25 Mbps
Data cap
1050 GB

Satellite internet service has come a long way in the last few years. That’s good news for those of us who live in the country were a satellite internet service provider (ISP) might be our only rural internet option. Now you have two satellite internet providers to choose from: Viasat (formerly known as Exede) and HughesNet. (And hopefully a few more options on the way.)

But which satellite ISP is best? We recommend Viasat if you’re looking for fast speeds and higher data caps—Viasat can be an even more cost-effective option than HughesNet if you choose one of its higher-level plans. But if you’re a-okay with 25 Mbps speeds and lower data caps, HughesNet is the more budget-friendly option.

Let’s dig into the features that make these best satellite internet providers (well, the only two providers right now) unique.

Why are there only two satellite internet providers?

You used to have five options for satellite internet providers. But now, three of the five have either closed up shop or been bought up. Now only Viasat (formerly Exede) and HughesNet offer satellite internet for rural areas.

  • HughesNet: Still offers satellite internet
  • Exede Internet: Changed its name to Viasat
  • WildBlue satellite internet: Bought by Exede in 2009
  • dishNET: Discontinued, but DISH customers can get satellite internet service through a third party
  • EarthLink: Discontinued its satellite internet service

If you’re looking for more ways to get rural internet, we’ve got a few different options in our guide to the best rural internet service.

Satellite internet updates

Viasat and HughesNet have been neck and neck with each other, but a few other satellite internet up-and-comers are well on their way to giving these two ISPs a run for their money.

  • Viasat: Launched the ViaSat-2 satellite in 2017 and plans to launch ViaSat-3 trio of satellites in 2021 and 2022. The ViaSat-3 satellites should expand services in the US and bump up download speeds.
    Right now, we think Viasat is best for the fastest satellite internet speeds.
  • HughesNet: Launched the EchoStar XIX satellite in 2016 and plans to launch EchoStar XXIV in 2021. The EchoStar XXIV satellite should bring HughesNet speeds up to 100 Mbps or faster.
    We recommend HughesNet as the best satellite internet provider if you don’t need a lot of data or fast speeds.
  • SpaceX: Now has more than 400 satellites in orbit. And Starlink is finally allowing you to sign up to beta test its satellite service. If things go as planned, SpaceX Starlink satellite internet service should be available in 2020. (In the meantime, check out our SpaceX Starlink review for the latest updates.)
  • OneWeb: Launched another 34 satellites in March 2020, bringing its total number of satellites in orbit to 74. OneWeb hopes to offer regional service in 2020 and expand to global service in 2021.
  • Project Kuiper (Amazon): Amazon’s satellite internet program has been quieter than its rivals. Currently there’s no date for Project Kuiper satellite launches or internet service availability, but if all goes as planned, its research and development team should move into a new facility this year. (Fun fact: Project Kuiper is named after the Kuiper belt, a region of our solar system that lies beyond Neptune’s orbit.)

Compare Viasat and HughesNet satellite internet options for your address.

Viasat (formerly Exede): Fastest satellite internet speeds

If you want the fastest speeds and largest data caps satellite internet can provide, Viasat is the way to go.

Of your two satellite internet options, Viasat gives you more data and speed for your money than HughesNet. And, when you’re talking about Viasat’s top download speeds and biggest data caps, Viasat can even cost less than HughesNet.

Viasat prices and plans

Viasat lets you choose from two types of plans: Liberty and Unlimited. The main difference between these two plans is that the Unlimited plans can come with faster speeds and more data.

And while we’re on the topic of data, you should know that you can buy more Liberty plan data, but you can’t buy more Unlimited plan data.

Viasat Liberty plans and prices
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
Liberty 12$30/mo.*12 Mbps12 GBView Plan
Liberty 25$50/mo.*12 Mbps25 GBView Plans
Liberty 50$75/mo.*12 Mbps50 GBView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 3 months.

Even though Viasat’s Liberty plans start at a lower price than its Unlimited plans, we think the Unlimited plans offer the most value if you need fast download speeds and large data allowances for streaming Solar Opposites on Hulu.

Viasat Unlimited plans and prices
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
Unlimited Bronze 12$50/mo.*12 Mbps35 GBView Plan
Unlimited Silver 12$100/mo.*12 Mbps45 GBView Plan
Unlimited Gold 12$150/mo.*12 Mbps65 GBView Plan
Unlimited Silver 25$70/mo.*25 Mbps60 GBView Plan
Unlimited Gold 30$100/mo.*30 Mbps100 GBView Plan
Unlimited Gold 50$100/mo.*50 Mbps100 GBView Plan
Unlimited Platinum 100$150/mo.*100 Mbps150 GBView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 3 months.

That said, one thing you should know is that the price for all of Viasat’s plans goes up after the first three months. We’re talking $20–$50 more per month. And Viasat’s competitor, HughesNet, sticks with one price and one price only through your entire two-year contract.

We wish Viasat would get rid of its three-month price hike. But even with the bump in cost, Viasat’s price per gigabit (GB) of data comes out cheaper than or even with HughesNet.

And when you factor in the price of Viasat’s plans with speeds faster than 25 Mbps, you’re really looking at a deal. (At least in terms of satellite internet.) Now that’s some food for thought.

Our recommended plan: Viasat Unlimited Gold 50

Who it’s for: Medium- to large-sized families who enjoy streaming videos and playing a few online games.
Why we like it: The price of this plan may seem steep if you’re used to DSL, cable, or even fiber internet prices. But truth be told, this price is the norm for satellite internet.

What isn’t the norm is the download speed and amount of data you get. The Unlimited Gold 50 plan comes with 50 Mbps speeds and 100 GB of data. And even when you factor in the price after three months ($150 per month), it’s still a better deal than any of HughesNet’s plans if speed and data are truly what you’re after.

Unlimited Gold 50
Viasat Internet
Download speed:
50 Mbps
Data cap:
100 GB
$100 a month
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Hook up your RV with satellite internet
Don’t want to go completely off the grid in your RV? Read our guide to getting satellite TV and internet on your RV.

Viasat internet download speeds

Viasat’s newest plans bump its download speeds to as high as 100 Mbps in some areas. With speeds like that, it’s no surprise Viasat made our list of fastest ISPs and HughesNet didn’t.

Viasat satellite internet speeds
PlanDownload speedData cap
Liberty 1212 Mbps12 GB
Liberty 2512 Mbps25 GB
Liberty 5012 Mbps50 GB
Unlimited Bronze 1212 Mbps35 GB
Unlimited Silver 1212 Mbps45 GB
Unlimited Gold 1212 Mbps65 GB
Unlimited Silver 2525 Mbps60 GB
Unlimited Gold 3030 Mbps100 GB
Unlimited Gold 5050 Mbps100 GB
Unlimited Platinum 100100 Mbps150 GB

That said, Viasat plans are entirely location-based. How fast your internet is depends on where you live, and some Viasat plans give you speeds as low as 12 Mbps. That’s a bummer, we agree.

What’s also a bummer is Viasat’s most recent speed scores on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) Fixed Broadband Report. The FCC looks at the actual speeds customers experience and compares them to the speeds each ISP advertises. And Viasat was reported to deliver an average of 89.6% of the speeds it advertised.1

We’d like to see Viasat bump that up to 100% or higher—but we know the FCC reported these scores in 2018. Since then, Viasat’s made a few changes and we’re hoping its improved that speed performance.

FCC 2018 Measuring Broadband in America Report: Viasat speed scores1
ProviderAverage actual/advertised speed

Viasat data caps

Viasat advertises some of its plans as “unlimited,” but are they really? Kind of.

With the Unlimited plans, you still get stuck with a data cap, but it applies to your high-speed data only. If you go over that cap, Viasat could slow your download speeds down to 1 to 5 Mbps during times of heavy internet traffic.

For the Liberty plans, what you see is what you get when it comes to data. (Though you can pay to add more.) Use up your monthly data allowance and you’ll definitely slog along at 1 to 5 Mbps.

We go into more detail about the data differences between Liberty and Unlimited plans in our guide to Viasat data limits.

We’ll point out that most of the Viasat Unlimited plan data caps are much larger than HughesNet’s, which max out at 50 GB a month. And another thing to note: HughesNet will drop your download speeds to 1–3 Mbps if you go over your data cap. No ifs, ands, or buts. (Well, maybe the fact that you can buy more HughesNet data is a “but.”)

Heads Up icon
Video chat and VPNs don’t play nice with satellite
Get your silliest faces ready for when your Skype call freezes. Thanks to latency, satellite internet doesn’t work well (or sometimes at all) with VPNs or video chats.

HughesNet: Best rural internet for budgeters

HughesNet gives you well-priced low-data plans and transparent pricing that doesn’t skyrocket during your two-year contract.

If cheap satellite internet is what you need, HughesNet’s low-data plans are worth a second look.

While you won’t get zippy speeds that match Viasat’s plans, you do get a pretty steady 25 Mbps. That’s enough speed to do some streaming—even in 4K on a good day. (Though the 10 to 50 GB data cap will likely restrict you to SD or HD videos.)

HughesNet plans and prices

HughesNet pricing is pretty standard all across the US, which is convenient. We love transparent pricing. But you still have to check your location to make sure HughesNet allows new installations in your neighborhood.

Why? Well, HughesNet’s newest satellite, launched in 2017, filled up pretty quickly. That means there are a few areas in the lower 48 states it doesn’t cover.

Not to fret, though. HughesNet plans to launch another satellite soon, hopefully by 2021.2

HughesNet packages
PlanPriceDownload speedData capDetails
10 GB$59.9925 Mbps10 GBView Plan
20 GB$69.9925 Mbps20 GBView Plan
30 GB$99.9925 Mbps30 GBView Plan
50 GB$15025 Mbps50 GBView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Requires 24 month agreement.

As you can see, HughesNet plans are a bit simpler to understand than Viasat’s. HughesNet doesn’t jack up the price after three months, and it offers the same download speed of 25 Mbps no matter which plan you get. Essentially, you’re just paying for data.

Our recommended plan: HughesNet 20 GB

Who it’s for: Anyone who casually surfs the web and maybe streams a movie or two once in a while.

Why we picked it: You shouldn’t expect ludicrous speeds or massive data caps from HughesNet. But what this satellite ISP does deliver on is a lower price that doesn’t dramatically jump up during your two-year contract. (Unlike Viasat.)

So if you’re truly after a satellite internet plan that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, we think the HughesNet 20 GB plan is a good compromise between data and price.

20 GB
HughesNet Internet
Download speed:
25 Mbps
Data cap:
20 GB
$69.99 a month

HughesNet internet speeds

You don’t get any choices when it comes to HughesNet download speeds. It’s 25 Mbps or bust.

HughesNet satellite internet speeds
PlanDownload speedData cap
10 GB25 Mbps10 GB
20 GB25 Mbps20 GB
30 GB25 Mbps30 GB
50 GB25 Mbps50 GB

But you might be happy to know that despite this, HughesNet absolutely crushed the FCC’s 2018 Measuring Broadband Across America report.

The FCC measured HughesNet’s actual download speed compared to its advertised download speed at 177%—meaning it delivered better internet speeds than it promised.1

FCC 2018 Measuring Broadband in America Report: HughesNet speed scores1
ProviderAverage actual/advertised speed

HughesNet internet data caps

The amount of monthly data you get ranges from 10–50 GB, depending on which HughesNet plan you buy.

We’ll be the first to admit that neither HughesNet nor Viasat has a lot of data per plan. (Don’t forget Viasat gives you about twice what HughesNet does in some of its plans—and for less money.)

But both offer you the chance to buy extra data, and HughesNet’s data token prices are much more reasonable than Viasat’s. Here’s how the price for extra HughesNet data breaks down:3

  • 3 GB: $9
  • 5 GB: $15
  • 10 GB: $30
  • 25 GB: $75

If you go over your data cap, the good news is HughesNet won’t cut off your service or charge you extra. The bad news is it will throttle your speed to nearly nothing.

HughesNet’s fine print says that if you exceed your allotted data, your download speed will slow to only 1–3 Mbps until your next billing cycle.

Get to know HughesNet a little better. Read our in-depth HughesNet satellite internet review.

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Keep track of your data with free apps
Both HughesNet and Viasat have free apps that let you track your data usage so you know if you’re about to go over your cap.

HughesNet: Android | iOS
Viasat: Android | iOS

Recap: Is satellite internet good?

Satellite internet keeps pace with most DSL and cable internet plans. Thanks to recent updates, Viasat’s speeds go up to 100 Mbps, and HughesNet offers a steady 25 Mbps. Your only real shortcomings with satellite internet are latency and small data caps, which is why we recommend DSL, cable, or fiber if you can get it.

But if you’re stuck with only satellite internet options, we get it. Here’s a quick recap of why we recommend Viasat for faster download speeds and HughesNet for budget-friendly plans:

  • Viasat: best satellite internet speeds. When it comes to satellite internet, Viasat’s download speeds are as good as it gets. And compared to HughesNet, which is your only other option, you get more data and the chance at higher speeds for your money.
  • HughesNet: best budget satellite internet pick. HughesNet is a great pick if you’re more concerned about your monthly bill than you are about download speeds. Just beware, it offers lower data limits than Viasat and a single mediocre speed of 25 Mbps. However, all that comes with one steady price for all 24 months of your contract.

Find satellite internet plans available in your area.

Satellite internet FAQ

Q: How does satellite internet work?

The complete satellite internet system includes the following:

  • Satellite dish
  • Modem
  • Orbiting satellite that receives and transmits data

satellite internet

To put it simply, data from your computer to the satellite dish on your house, and from there, it’s sent to an orbiting satellite owned by your internet provider. The satellite relays data to a stationary satellite dish connected to a larger network (i.e., the internet).

Wanna get a little nerdy with us? Check out our full guide on how satellite internet works.

Q: How much can I download on satellite internet?

How much you can download depends on your satellite internet plan and data cap. For example, if your plan comes with a 10 GB data cap per month, then that’s about four two-hour HD movies or 180 hours of streaming music.

Money icon
Hint: you may not need more than 10 GB of data
If you use the internet only to browse Facebook and read your email (that means no downloading or streaming), then you’ll probably never go over 10 GB in a month.

Q: How fast is satellite internet?

Generally, satellite internet speeds range from 12 to 100 Mbps, but how many Mbps you get depends on which ISP and plan you choose. For HughesNet, you’ve got the option of 25 Mbps download speeds—and that’s it. With Viasat, you can choose anywhere from 12–100 Mbps for your download speed.

Of course, those are the advertised download speeds. There are a lot of factors that can influence your speed, including your modem, router, and even your computer. The number of people and devices using the internet in your house also affects your speed, as does what each person is doing online.

Wanna know how much speed you need to keep your family happy online? Check out our guide on how many Mbps you need online.

Satellite internet upload speeds

One quick note: you won’t get amazing upload speeds with satellite internet. But hold off before you go all sad panda on us—at 3 Mbps (for HughesNet), those upload speeds are still right on par with DSL and cable internet.

If you want upload speeds that blow past 3 Mbps, you’ll need fiber internet service. And while we like to remain optimistic, we doubt fiber will be coming to rural areas any time soon.

Q: Can I play video games on satellite internet?

Yes, technically you can game on satellite internet. But the full answer is a bit more complicated than that.

Satellite internet isn’t a great choice for gaming because of its notoriously high latency. It just takes too long for your internet signal to reach your house from the satellite hanging out about 22,000 miles in outer space, then back to the satellite and on to the game server.

That’s going to cause a lot of in-game latency, also called “ping” or noted as “MS” on your game interface. You’ll get in the 300–500 range—at least.

And high ping makes certain types of games almost, if not entirely, unplayable.

We’re talking first-person shooters (FPS) like Fortnite and Apex Legends and some multiplayer online games (MMO) like World of Warcraft or The Elder Scrolls Online. But role-playing games (RPG) like Stardew Valley and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening probably won’t give you as many issues if your latency spikes.

(Just remember your data cap if you download games and patches!)

Q: Can you stream video and music on satellite internet?

You can absolutely stream both videos and music while using satellite internet. You’ll just want to be careful of your data cap, and both HughesNet and Viasat come with tools to help you do that.

HughesNet automatically adjusts video quality to a lower resolution to help you use less data. Yup, you won’t be watching anything in 1080p. Instead, expect all your Netflix shows to play in 480p.

Viasat offers a Video Data Extender tool that lets you tone down video quality to 480p too. The best part? If you want to watch the new photorealistic version of The Lion King in all (or most of) its glory, you can turn the Video Data Extender off.

Q: Do Viasat and HughesNet have early termination fees?

Yes, both Viasat and HughesNet will charge you an early termination fee if you cancel your service before your 24-month contract is up.

Viasat early termination fee

With Viasat, you’re stuck paying $15 per month for every month remaining on your contract. For example, if you cancelled your service only a month after installation, it would cost you $345 in early termination fees. It’s not cheap.

HughesNet early termination fee

If you cancel your HughesNet service after installation but before your contract is up, HughesNet can charge you up to $400 in cancellation fees, depending on how long you have left on your contract.

Q: Can I get satellite internet for a car, RV, or boat?

The short answer is no. Most satellite internet services are designed to stay in one place. But you might be able to get satellite TV. See our article on how to get TV on the road for more information on how to take your shows with you.

Q: Is there unlimited satellite internet?

If you’re curious to know if there is unlimited, unthrottled satellite internet for a set price, it does not yet exist.

Q: What’s the installation process?

Professional installation services and fees vary, so it depends on the satellite provider you choose and on where you live. Satellite internet providers might offer free installation in one location but charge a fee in another. Most of the time, it should be free.

The actual installation process is usually done by third-party contractors, so feel free to ask lots of questions and make sure to look over the paperwork carefully.

If you live in a townhouse, condo, or any other living situation with a homeowners association (HOA), double-check that you’re allowed to install a satellite dish.

Q: Should I lease or purchase satellite internet equipment?

For both satellite internet providers, equipment leases for $10–$15 per month for the 24-month contract period. Both also offer an option to buy your equipment up front or lease it on a monthly basis.

HughesNet equipment: should you purchase or lease?
Satellite antenna and modem$249.99$14.99/mo
Standard installation$199.99Free
Lease setup feeN/A$99.00

Data effective 8/8/19. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

If you go with HughesNet and decide to buy your equipment, the cost works out to be about the same as leasing for two years, and you don’t have to worry about returning your equipment at the end of your contract.

If you intend to have satellite internet for more than two years, it’s not a bad idea to buy your hardware.

Viasat equipment: should you purchase or lease?
Satellite antenna and modem$299.99$9.99/mo.
Standard installation$99 or free$99 or free
Lease set-up feeN/AN/A

Data effective 8/8/19. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

If you go with Viasat, you have to lease your equipment. The cost is $10 per month, and there’s no lease setup fee. You can also go with a “lifetime lease” for a one-time fee of $299.99.

If you plan to have your equipment for more than 30 months, the lifetime lease can save you some money—but it’s not the same as purchasing equipment because you still have to return your equipment if you ever cancel your service.

Satellite internet myths and facts

#1: Satellite internet is too slow

Satellite internet used to be extremely slow, with download speeds of approximately 750 Kbps. But advancements in technology and new satellites have increased speeds to anywhere from 12 to 100 Mbps, which rivals DSL and cable internet.

#2: It takes a long time to receive a signal

Well, only during internet activities that are affected by latency. Latency is the time it takes for data to be sent and received. In the case of satellite internet, it’s the time it takes for information to go from your device to your satellite dish, to your provider’s orbiting satellite, to a separate satellite dish at your ISP, and back again.

As you can see, that’s a lot of steps. And latency has long been a strike against satellite internet.

Latency is higher with satellite internet than it is for cable, DSL, and fiber internet. Cable, DSL, and fiber internet have latency in the 20–50 millisecond (ms) range, while satellite internet ranges can be close to 600 ms.

Because satellites are positioned 22,000 miles above the earth, satellite internet data just has a long way to travel. It’s also why we basically never recommend satellite internet over other types like cable. But if you live in the country or an area without good internet options, satellite might be your best (and sometimes only) choice.

The most obvious effect of latency is on gaming. Gaming that requires ultra-quick responses just doesn’t work very well with satellite internet. If you choose satellite internet, you might have to say goodbye to League of Legends (or get a portable Wi-Fi hotspot on Amazon).

But other online activities, like web browsing, emailing, and photo sharing, won’t be affected by latency much at all.

#3: Satellite internet doesn’t work when it’s cloudy, rainy, or stormy

While it’s true that severe thunderstorms, heavy snow, or blizzards can interrupt satellite transmission temporarily, the problem isn’t as significant as popular opinion assumes.

Storm-related interruptions are commonly called “rain fade,” and the signal is restored as soon as the storm passes. You can also remove heavy accumulations of snow from around the satellite dish to restore communications.

In contrast, a heavy thunderstorm with fallen trees or other extreme weather with similar effects could disable cable or DSL for days. Again, most satellite internet customers live in rural areas without access to DSL or cable, so even with rain fade, satellite internet is preferable to alternative, slower means of internet service (like dial-up internet).

#4: Satellite internet is too expensive

Satellite internet is relatively expensive. But the monthly costs have decreased over the last few years. You can get a decent satellite internet plan from either Viasat or HughesNet for about $50 per month, which is comparable to cable or DSL.


  1. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), “2018 Measuring Broadband in America Report
  2. SpaceNews, “EchoStar buys Jupiter-3 ‘Ultra High Density Satellite’ from SSL
  3. HughesNet Community, “Token Prices . . . ?

Additional contributors

Mindy Woodall

  • ZandarKoad

    DishNet is objectively terrible, it’s just a re-branding of one of the other two. After personally installing hundreds of all three systems – DishNet, HughesNet, and Exede – I have to say that Exede always comes out ahead in performance. But their available bandwidth is filling up, so they might not even be accepting new customers in your area.

    • Jenn Diffley

      That’s really good information to have–we haven’t heard anything about Exede potentially running out of bandwidth (thought that wouldn’t be something they’d advertise, obviously). It’s also good to hear from someone who’s had hands-on experience. Hopefully DishNet and HughesNet up their games soon.

      • ZandarKoad

        Actually, DishNet can have a cost advantage, especially when it’s bundled with Dish’s TV service. And then the customer only needs to pay 1 bill which is something consumers always like.

        • Scott T.


    • Douglas Newton II

      I disagree.. have been with Dishnet over the last three years and have not had a problem with their performance which is through Hughesnet.. we have a pretty consistent 5Mb download and after a year they even increased our data to 14gb anytime … Ever since exede has even showed up on the radar here in Idaho.. they can not give you service.. at least every time I have checked.. Exede used to be Wildblue and as soon as our contract was up we dropped them in an instant, due to very poor performance and erratic internet service..

      • Trevor Wheelwright

        Hey Douglas, really appreciate you sharing this. It’s always nice hearing positive feedback, most people only speak up when they’ve had a negative experience or issue. Glad to hear your experience with dishNet/Hughesnet has been smooth!

    • August 2018 Calendar

      Why are there only two providers for the best satellite internet of 2018? Here’s what happened. Not long ago, you could choose from five major satellite internet service providers (ISPs). However, as of now there are only two left: HughesNet and Viasat (formerly Exede).

  • Sebastiaan Bol

    Thanks for the update! How do you explain HughesNet is still your no. 1 choice, when Exede offers so much faster internet?

    Also, i called with HughesNet and they say they use Generation 4 technology and the competitors Generation 2. They claim the US military uses it and that their customers get 120% of the promised download speed. On the phone they also offered me no termination fee if you cancel within the first 30 days, and they referred to the FAQ on their website. Looking that up learned me they do not offer this at all. It’s terribly confusing and i can’t believe they are not forced by federal law to offer a 30 day try me for free period. 2 years is a long time if you are not happy with it (and $400 is a lot of money for a termination fee + the activation fee that you will not get back).

    • Trevor Wheelwright

      Hey Sebastiaan, thanks for the comment!

      It’s definitely a matter of pricing when it came to our decision. With HughesNet, their pricing lasts for the duration of the two-year contract, as opposed to Exede’s rates rising after 3 months of use.

      While Exede does have faster plans overall, their pricing leaves something to be desired. Exede’s initial prices don’t seem too far off from HughesNets, but the cost adds up quickly after 3 months. They also require an additional $10 a month on top of the advertised price to get the max download speed of 25 Mbps. So to get the top speed with the Liberty 30 plan for example, you’re looking at $99.99 + $10 = $109.99/mo for the promotional price, and then after three months it’s $169.99. While some may require these higher speeds from satellite internet, we believe most consumers would find better value with HughesNet.

      You are correct, HughesNet does not offer a 30-day trial period or money back guarantee, which is definitely a drawback. We agree that it’s a large investment both time and money-wise to sign up with a service provider, which is why we take the opportunity at to provide customers with more information and perspective before agreeing to a contract. We always encourage clarification with a sales agent in addition to reading to the fine print.

      Thanks again!
      Let us know who you end up going with and how your experience is!

  • Jessica Ward

    This is a really great article. I had Exede for a long time and luckily am living in Kansas now with Google fiber, thankfully, but I didn’t have issues with Exede as far as satellite internet goes. I do agree with ZandarKoad though, you need to know if there are data limits.

    • Scott T.

      Thanks! We’ll think of how to make data limits more clear to readers.

      Also, we’re happy you had a good experience with Exede, but we’re jealous you have Google Fiber, ha. (We’d review Google Fiber if it had a larger footprint.)

  • A Name

    I am a little curious about the differences in service. I mean, you guys rate Hughesnet #1, but every other consumer review site I’ve seen with thousands of reviews of Hughesnet’s service has them rated at a solid 1/5 stars. So I can’t help but think you guys must have gotten different service than the other thousands of people did.

    • Scott T.

      When it comes to customer service, no internet service provider does an outstanding job; in fact, all ISPs could improve their customer service. We’d be curious to know what other reviews you’ve read.

      Also, user reviews can be especially harsh because people usually don’t take time to review a service unless they’ve had a negative experience. If you go to a Yelp page for an ISP or a website like Consumer Affairs (in no way related to Consumer Reports), you’ll find plenty of one-star reviews. However, those websites also try to sale their services to brands to improve their ratings, so we don’t trust them. If you’re looking for reliable information, you can start with the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual report on ISPs. It’s one of the first sources we go to for information on customer satisfaction.

    • Scott T.

      Consumer reviews can be especially harsh because people usually don’t take time to review a service unless they’ve had a negative experience. If you go to a Yelp page for an ISP or a website like Consumer Affairs (in no way related to Consumer Reports), you’ll find one-star reviews. However, those websites also try to sale their services to brands to improve their ratings, so we don’t trust them.

      According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (a source we trust), which surveys tens of thousands of customers, internet service is “the weakest among the 43 industries” it covers—people just don’t like their internet service. Using our criteria, we still think HughesNet is #1. There are only three major competitors in satellite internet, and it happens to be best of what’s available (emphasis on what’s available). If you have access to DSL, cable, or fiber internet, we would always recommend those services first over satellite internet.

      Also, we’re working on a user review system for our website so users can leave their own reviews.

    • Carolyn Burton

      I have hughesnet At The Moment – that’s fixing to change. Not only are they slow as dirt the customer service is outsourced. I spent an hour and a half talking to someone I could barely understand. I have what Should have been a simple issue of getting more data. I tried to do it online and nothing happened (repeatedly). I’ve called customer service in the past, the rep sounded American thus no communication issue and the problem was solved in five minutes. Today I explained my problem right off the bat and she had me do a speed test (which was very slow). I told her I just needed to add data. She said she understood, obviously Not because she had me boot into safe mode and couldn’t get into the internet – no surprise, not all the drivers load in safe mode. Went back to regular mode. Despite the fact that I have Windows 10 in which IE was replaced with Edge, she had no idea what I was talking about and said I should have IE. On the support page they don’t even have a system higher than Windows 7! I usually chat to avoid these communication issued but the chat wasn’t working. I also like having the conversation in writing. She said she’d have to send it to the engineering department and they’d get back with me in 2-3 business days, today is Friday so it will be the middle of next week before someone even gets back to me. I HIGHLY DON’T recommend Hughesnet

  • Jenn Diffley

    You’re right–data limits are brutal. We can emphasize them more from here on out. Streaming is such a big deal now that data limits are especially important.

  • rightislight

    I have/had Exede – WORST service I’ve ever seen both in terms of product and customer service. I warn you to keep away from them unless it’s the only option. Simply horrible!

    • Scott T.

      I’m hesitant to ask what made it so bad, but did you find another option for satellite internet? If so, how is it?

      • rightislight

        They said i was getting 12meg. My web searches painted as if it was a 56k speed. I’m not sure how pings come back at 12M but larger format (large packets perhaps) content came back painfully slow.

        Modem needed to be rebooted every morning in order to connect

        Customer service told me to “pound sand” effectively

        After 1 week I realized it wasn’t going to meet my needed. Exede is making pay for my contract anyway. When I’m done I’ll have paid exede $600 for 1 week of extremely poor service

        I learned that I have Charter Cable at the street. They’ll be here next week to run a line to my home. I’m lucky… I know.

        • Trevor Wheelwright

          Dang, that’s unfortunate to hear. Sorry you had a bad experience, let us know how your experience with Charter Cable internet, we’ll be getting to that review a little later, so it would be helpful to hear your thoughts!

  • iwfau cotmpaiwku

    Satellite internet data package is enough to almost cover one day at my house. What is the point.

    • Scott T.

      Satellite internet is for those who have no other option for internet service.

      • MCRwhatever

        It’s still not good enough. If counting upload and download bandwidth, I use around 200GB a month, every month. I pay about $70 a month for DSL (it’s way overpriced but I don’t have any better options). Hughesnet says after you hit the limit, they will reduce your net speeds to just a little more than dialup speeds. Their highest plan for my area is $130 a month and only includes 75GB. That’s not enough for the price. For $130 a month, I should get 500GB of data at a reasonably fast speed.

        • Scott T.

          If you have the choice between DSL and satellite internet, always go with DSL. There’s no question of that here.

  • iwfau cotmpaiwku

    Monthly data allowance lasts one day to be clear.

    • Scott T.

      Well, it just depends on how much you use. Data allowance is like a package of Oreos: it could last weeks or a be gone in one day.

  • James Jeans

    Exede is positively horrible. Bad customer service, bad speeds at inflated prices, wonky data usage determination.

    We live in the middle of BFE, Texas. As a result, satellite internet is the only viable option. We pay nearly $150 a month for the “privilege” of of 25 GB of data per month. That might have been fine a couple of years ago — in fact it was, we’ve been saddled with them for two years and it was mostly okay at first — but now that every single website seems increasingly fond of auto streaming video, those caps can go real fast even when you’re just browsing websites. Facebook is particularly bad. In the last couple of years they’ve implemented video files that just play on their own as you scroll down your feed, and up until recently there was nothing you could do about it.

    On top of that, Windows 10 owners who don’t own the most expensive build have no choice but to accept Windows Updates on Windows terms. With previous versions of Windows you could choose when to download updates, but that’s only an option for people who own the most costly version of Windows 10.

    We’re a household of video game players, and boy… games are big now. If you want to purchase a game like Battlefield Hardline, that’s a 45 GB commitment. That doesn’t include patches.

    Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime and VUDU are right out, as well as most streaming music services.

    The only bright side is the 12 AM to 5 AM window where we have unlimited data. Although not so you’d really notice it. Speeds are often throttled to less than half what they are during the day, and I’m almost positive that some of our unlimited usage is being reported as day time usage, thus eating into our 25 GB data cap. There’s also the issue of their crummy modems. If the power goes out or you need to turn it off and on again to make it work, it has a habit of double, triple, or even quadruple reporting data usage. I know this happens because I’ve used the Exede data monitoring website to keep an eye on it in the past. There’s no way we’re using 25 GB of data in a week and a half, not when all we do during the day is check e-mail, read news, and occasionally browse Facebook.

    The typical customer service response to issues like that is “Hmm, weird. Thanks for calling.” I’m not the only person who struggles with this, and it’s frustrating as hell that they have no interest in bettering their service.

    If and when there’s an alternative option for those of us in the boonies, we’re going to drop Exede like a bad habit.

    • Trevor Wheelwright

      Hey thanks for your feedback,
      We’re with you, for active online gamers satellite internet definitely isn’t ideal—speeds are slower and data is limited.
      When it comes to data caps, we’re hoping more companies switch to Frontier’s mentality of providing the customer unlimited internet access.
      For anyone curious about how to choose when Windows 10 Automatic updates, we’d recommend this article:

      If you end up finding a different service, we’d be curious to hear if your experience improves, so keep us in the loop!

    • Rik Belenger

      You can turn off the autoplay for Facebook videos . Settings, app settings, autoplay in the mobile version for phones and tablets

      • Scott T.

        Good tip!

  • Bgaf

    I just moved to an area without any high speed internet options. I have to explore satellite internet, however I only use the Internet for social media and streaming. I’ve had Apple TV for years now. I subscribe to HBO NOW and Netflix and I love it. I typically come home from work around 9pm and I sometimes watch different shows for a few hours while also using the Internet on my phone or IPad. I rent and only have a one year lease. It’s not uncommon for me to move frequently due to my job relocating me. What satellite Internet provider is able to accommodate my needs? I feel like these satellite options are so outdated. Who actually finds all of these data limits, contract limits, and speed limits useful? Any chance we will see something that appeals to customers in the real world?

    • Scott T.

      Hmm… you might be in a tough spot. Every satellite internet provider we’ve reviewed requires a two-year contract, and if you try to end the contract early there is usually a high early termination fee (ETF). If you’re renting for just a year, you might have to be a little more creative with how to get internet. We also agree with your sentiment; satellite internet providers should do more to improve the customer experience.

      Do you know what providers are in your area? Also, it’s a good idea to check with your neighbors and see who they use for internet. Let us know what you find out, and we can give you some advice on what to do next.

  • akaraduman

    Is this usable from Turkey ? I’m not really looking for a good customer service, just something that works and can circumvent government cencorship.

    • Trevor Wheelwright

      That’s a good question, and one we don’t have the answer to: I would recommend visiting the “View Plans” link for the providers you’re interested in and giving them a call and seeing what they recommend!

      Thanks for your comment!

  • Ronin3087

    There are needs to be a no limit high speed satellite internet service as fast as fiber optics for people who do need the online speed and unlimited data I would pay a lot to have that, oh and for those who don’t know dishnet is hughesnet, or excede they install both systems and don’t actually have there own satellite for the Internet only difference is the modems and equipment says dish other than that it’s the same thing, I’ve had multiple satellite services only options in my area and all are no good in my opinion but when u need internet and certain areas are monopolized there’s nothing that can be done South Dakota has a serious issue with monopolies

  • Todd M.

    I have Exede. If you can afford it, go with them. We have 4 people in our house all internet users. 2 of us do heavy gaming, the other 2 light gaming and we all video stream HD & SD movies and tv regularly along with regular surfing. We try not to watch too many HD movies, that really sucks up the data. We have the unlimited plan but our actual usage is between 120-150 GB per billing cycle. We do go over 150 GB occasionally wich reduces download speed slightly. It’s a little pricey but we live in an area that does not have many hi-speed options so I am happy with the service.

  • SpellWoman Neenah

    I 100% agree with James Jeans’ assessment and other’s of Excede’s “service”, especially the “wonky data usage determination” and the extremely unhelpful, nay useless, customer service.

    I had a 3 gig Verizon MiFi device for many years and hardly ever went over the data max. They had immediate and detailed use metrics reporting (and down to .000) which was easily accessible and with past history available. My use was and still is pretty basic and light – email, browsing and FaceBook (video auto play turned off) and never downloaded or streamed music or videos. I did on occasion upload photos and download OS updates.

    I was excited upon signing up for Excede’s 10gig service because i thought, “Gee now i can watch a few videos and even stream a few movies or tv shows.” Yah right! Even though my usage has basically been the same, minus uploading photos or doing OS updates, SUPPOSEDLY i am burning through the 10gigs in 2 a 3 weeks…when it actually does work! That’s 3 times data usage in 3/4 to 1/2 the time… uh huh, right! (When looking at the chart on the HughesNet page re what you should be able do with 10gig’s a month, i can only scoff! Certainly NOT with Exceed!) Their Customer Service has been no help at all, and they do not retain any use data history. One thing they will happily do? …try to sell more useless data.

  • Kevin

    Q: Is there unlimited satellite internet
    Yes, it does exist, but there’s a caveat.

    The second statement sir, just reverses the fact that it’s “unlimited” putting it back into the LIMITED category. Honestly these company’s need to be sued for false advertising. It’s frustrating that there isn’t an honest unlimited data, no throttling – satellite internet provider. At least charge by data tiers 10 GB – 20GB you pay x, 21GB – 50GB you pay x or 51-100GB+ you pay this astronomical price of x.

  • David

    I have Hughesnet. It is slow. Extremely slow. And they cap the data. It’s a struggle to stream a low-definition show that stops every 5 minutes to try and buffer (only sometimes successfully) and you’ll run out of data every month (on their best plan). I can stream better quality on my phone with 4G, and frequently can’t even load a normal web page if I turn on wi-fi. If Hughesnet is the winner here truly satellite internet is hopeless. It is the absolute worst and I’m thinking they pay this website because of how unbelievable and inaccurate this review is.

    • Ricardo G.

      You’re making every mistake that they warn about. Did you read the article???

    • Daniel Schink

      You have to upgrade to there Gen 5 sat. They don’t beg you to, you need to call them for the upgrade. HUGE diff. with the Gen 5

  • Michael Bonner

    BEWARE OF EXEDE! Discontinued service and am being treated to either incompetence or shady business. Sent the satellite equipment back per their instructions. First got a call about sending back a projector – which is bizarre. They said they would sort it out. Today I got a bill for the equipment. Had to make another call. They say they can’t figure out why the first equipment call happened – but would not give me any benefit of the doubt that equipment was returned. Now they have to ‘investigate’ — and say they have no way to reach out to me to say the problem has been resolved. Now I have to call yet again next week.

    Whether they are idiots or they have a scummy attrition team is irrelevant. Bottom line – EXEDE is not worth any of this hassle.

    • Sagenova777

      You might have been hit by avalanche…

  • Data Snag

    Going to have to agree with the other commentators on this article. Satellite internet is the worst way to go.

    Scott, if you do not mind I will be creating back links to your articles. Find that your articles are well written.

  • aa aaa

    Hughesnet???? sucks sucks SUCKS, they should all die as far as I’m concerned! Crashed 4 days ago and after 1 1/2 hours talking to India and trying to get him to CANCEL I get xfered to US rep. Offered Gen 4 so if they screwed you before why not again but without lube? They will stop billing me in 4 days (even though it’s DOWN) and I need to send their garbage back to them. For 2 years it barely worked!
    Fortunately I have a Jetpack backup, expensive BUT it at least works.

    Do NOT ever ever EVER sign up with Hughesnet you WILL regret it. Pay extra or use Burger Kings do NOT give them the satisfaction of shafting you!

    Somehow I doubt my nightmare is over… do they want the concrete block my pole is on, who knows!?

  • Gabe1972

    Yep. Just a teensy bit off. LOL.

  • Steve Risner

    We have had Excede for over 2 years and the download speeds rarely reach 9 mbps, having checked the speed on several occasions. Our grandfathered plan allows unlimited data after midnight which is nice for gaming console & tv updates… although the speeds are no better at night. We live in southwest Ohio, not exactly the boondocks so satellite coverage ought to be optimal… which it is not. Not a big fan of satellite internet but with Spectrum refusing to come 300 yards to our property, we have no other choice except Broadband…. after a couple of > $400 Verizon bills, it was an easy change. Our 2 year Excede contract is up & I am considering a change to Hughes Net but apparently their 25 mbps download speed is a hoax??

  • TheCapnVideo

    Verizon 4GLTE home internet was a four day lesson in Bait and Switch. Imagine! I used 10GB data between hook-up and turn on. I was connected on Wednesday. I moved in on Saturday, plugged in my computer and checked my email, couldn’t download it. I had been throttled to 38Kbps. That is a serious choke.

    Local cable provider (Coastal Communications) wants $140 for 20 GB service at 6 Mbps down 2 Mbps up. right. Not going to happen.

    So Hughes is the only option here. 50GB form 8AM to 2AM at 25 Mbps plus 50GB form 2am to 8am for $115/ month 2 year contract. I can’t say you didn’t warn me but I don’t see a choice here.

  • Daniel Schink

    I have Hughes Net and I love it so far. Verizon was screwing me so bad that I was forced to change providers. There speeds are faster than advertized so who am I to complain. Thunder storms do raise havoc for the duration of the storm, but bounce right back There saying that you get a DL speed of 25mbps, but I have had as fast as 44.3mbps and that’s three times as fast as Verizon’s throttled down 10mbps. My UL speeds range from 4.99 to 8.77mbps

  • Daniel Schink

    Get the Hughes Net updated connection to the new GEN 5 Sat and you will be happy

  • Jeffrey Penfield

    There is an option in rural areas that was not mentioned, but it is very, very expensive and I have it. It is a T1 line. Digital lines were placed many years ago starting in the fifties even before there was an internet. These lines are almost anywhere where telephone lines run and only require simple copper wiring. It is designed for businesses. You get an immediate fix whenever the line goes down (within 4 hours even on a Sunday or they stop billing for those hours of missed internet). When I first got the line they had to keep going out and repairing the old broken lines when it rained, but I have not had a single down time for over 365 days once the old lines had been updated. It is a direct connection to the internet and I get 10 millisecond latency. Down speed is identical to up speed and never varies. Data is truly unlimited.Those are the good parts. The bad: Bandwidth is 1.5 MB/sec. It costs $300 per month.
    So why did I get it? I live in the country. No Cable and no DSL is available. Dial up is available, but I would have to pay local toll fees to connect to Dallas. I tried using a wireless hotspot (12 mb/sec), but I ran out of data almost immediately (15Gb) and the cost for added data was approaching the cost of my T1 line and weather affected my connection. I need a reliable connection because I have to connect to an online medical record system that is on a VPN and my wife was taking online college courses. I hate the price, but reliable internet is important to me. The contract is about to expire, so I was considering switching to Satellite. But the article says it too is unreliable with weather, the data is capped and it does not work with a VPN.
    So if you have the money, a T1 line in rural areas is an option. I know that very few home owners use it because every time I call for a technical question, nobody understands that I am a home owner and not a business. If you are really rich you can bundle T1 lines and get speeds up to 12 mb/sec for the low low price of $750 per month.

  • Ryan Duchesne

    Hughes net is complete garbage! $99 for 10 gigs a month is what I was stuck with when I lived just outside of Iowa City, Iowa. They were so bad that direct TV actually let me break my contract because obviously I couldn’t do anything with 10 gigs a month. Anyone who is considering Hughes net, PLEASE go check your cell phone provider and see what deals they have for using your phone as a hot-spot. AT&T and Verizon both had better deals (and I used them instead when I had AT&T then later when I switch to Verizon). Cell phone companies had better deals, you read that correctly. As for the awesome speed you get with the g 5,BAH, you can have super fast speed but what the hell are you going to use it on? A couple movies use all your data. If your a gamer, forget about it. You cannot play online games. They also tell you that you get free internet during off times, I think mine was from 2 am to 5 am, what they don’t tell you is that your speed drops DRASTICALLY! You might be able to download A single movie, if your lucky, or half an (offline) game. Please, stop these companies, do not keep them in business. I was lucky and able to break my contract because of some stuff in my Direct TV contract and ended up getting reimbursed. Most of you won’t get that lucky break, so save your self the anger and frustration. DON’T USE HUGHES NET! It sounds like Exede is pretty much the same company also.

  • Bret Zeller

    No one wants your crappy Ubuntu. Windows is great. If you can’t handle the data, the next best option is a Chromebook.

  • nrdes

    This review needs to be revisited. HughesNet Gen5 speeds are now under 2.5 Mb/s during all but the wee hours. We are getting somewhere between 5 and 10% of the advertised 25 Mb/s rate Hughes advertises. All houses on my road have Hughes and we are all having the same issue, and have for months. It’s terrible. My friends who have Exede aren’t having any problems.

    • Tony Duncan

      I installer excede internet for a living and I know all of the plans have changed in all areas some with speeds up to 30mbps and unlimited plans with 150 gig data cap and then throttle down so a lot of the info on here is not correct anymore and needs to be corrected and the speeds and data is supposed to be increasing more in the near future

  • Old Rancher

    You can purchase more high speed data from Exede at $10 per GB. I have used Exede for years and generally like the service; however, for the past couple of months my data has been disapearing as in 150 GB being used in 15 days. So far Exede has not tried very hard to resolve the problem. We use the Internet mainly for e-mail and brousing not for downloading streaming anything and we also do not use Facebook. Customer service is really poor considering this lost data issue.

  • Jonathan Blaser

    a Netflix download program was mentioned in this article. Any recommendations of that type of program?

  • Jonathan Blaser

    You referenced a service that allows you to download Netflix shows during non-peak hours. I did not seem to find any. What service would you recommend?

  • Jonathan Blaser

    You reference the service that lets you download Netflix shows during non-peak hours. I did not find any. What service would you recommend?

  • Doug Wilson

    I heartily agree. I gave up the Microsoft trap for Linux around the 98SE to 2000 era. I spent a little while dual booting while I learned my way around in Linux and soon ditched Windows forever. Now, I loathe being stuck with using a Windows machine. Linux isn’t perfect, but I never have that banging my head against the wall, my machine belongs to Microsoft, shut up and take what we tell you to take frustrations. I am free to dig as deep as I want to dig and change/control anything I desire. Open-source just rocks… 😉

  • aircommuter

    I have Hughes net my current download speed is .18 Mbps yes 18 hundreds of a megabyte. Tried chat, over 1 hour each time but only 8 minutes actual chat, rest of the time waiting because they are trying answer several people at the same time. One agent accidentally sent me a message that was for someone else exposing his email to me and that person had a slow speed complaint too. Tried calling got a message that there was extremely high call volume and call another time. I had better speed with GEN 4 this new GEN is a joke don’t waste your money .

  • Raven TwoSouls

    I am in the exact same situation. people saying you can’t stream etc. on the slow speeds, but my DSL is 1MBS or less so what am I loosing if I happen to get “up to” 25 MBS every once in a while and even when I go over my limit they throttle it down to where I currently am with Verizon DSL (POS) you wanna talk about bad customer service and bad internet,.. try Verizon DSL in a rural area.

    I want to try satelite, but I’m scouring the reviews and getting cold feet.

  • Kelley Malone

    Hughes net is one of the worst people to get internet form. I regret ever getting it with them between their prices, the customer service not speaking English and trying to charge me twice and then cancelling their service with out a warning. You should be sorry for promoting their company.

  • Dcxone

    Nothing has changed from 2015 when net neutrality kicked in until now a few short years later…service remains the same…shitty

  • Cheesy Factory

    Internet speed will always come on top in the minds of most consumers. and All things being equal, price should be considered. Thanks much 🙂

  • Randy Filkins

    I have Viasat, and even after my rollover, my speeds are the same as before. When I inquire, they tell me it is due to weather, (when the sky is clear), then they tell me it is “high traffic”.

  • Maria Millett

    Nope, sorry!

  • everydayjohn

    your reviews are not the problem, it’s the AT & T Viasat that is unreliable whether its in a City or the boondocks of a farmer. It’s total customer robbery for the pricing and the service. Most Farmers no longer need a Modem
    and most are Cell Phone Users who can operate the internet from their Cell Phones.

    yet it’s Freedom to be Robbed that attracts anyone who needs Viasat or Hughes Net, EH???

  • everydayjohn

    Your problem is not typical of a farmer out in the boondocks where no Internet Modem exists, Right?
    Why should anyone need to pay $150 month or $300 a month for a Sat Modem, with todays Ce ll Phones available ????

  • Cl Creek

    Viasat is horrid. Their equipment goes down about twice a year and it takes them a week to come out and fix it. Also they treat the techs that come out horribly, so none of them are happy to be there helping you out. I have often had to pay the tech separately to get them to show up and perform the service. Unless they are your only choice, go with anyone else – I have been told that Huges net is just as bad. We have been using their service for 8-years and it has only gotten worse. We would change if we could.