The Best Satellite Internet Providers in 2018

There’s not a lot out there when it comes to satellite internet, but we found the best of the best.

Best Overall
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Runner Up
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The Best Satellite Internet Providers in 2018

Product Recommended Rating
HughesNet Best Overall 4.4 / 5
Exede Runner Up 4.2 / 5
Last Updated: February 20, 2018
Viasat (formerly called Exede) recently announced that its ViaSat-2 satellite is “ready for service”. The new satellite should help increase Viasat Internet speeds up to 100 Mbps downstream, as well as launch new unlimited data plans. We will reevaluate the information in this article once this is available. Also, SpaceX, Elon Musk’s private aerospace company, is reportedly planning a full-scale invasion on satellite internet with intentions to launch 4,425 low-orbit satellites as early as 2019. We’ll keep an eye on both companies and update this post in full when more information is available.

HughesNet wins the best satellite internet of 2018 because its fifth-generation (Gen5) service update improves download speeds and availability.

Hold it!  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 2018, there are only two left: HughesNet and Exede.

The Best Satellite Internet Providers in 2018

RankProvidersMonthly PricingDownload SpeedsData CapsDetails
#1HughesNet$49.99–$99.9925 Mbps10–50 GBView Plans
#2Exede$49.99–$149.9912–25 Mbps10–30 GBView Plans
#3EarthLinkOut of ServiceNot Available
#4WildBlueOut of ServiceNot Available

Best Satellite Internet ProvidersIt may seem like an And Then There Were None of satellite internet providers, but really it’s just a matter of business: HughesNet purchased Earthlink, and Exede bought Wildblue.

So why does this all matter? Well, it means consumers have fewer options when it comes to satellite internet and that we only have two providers to review. The good thing is, one of these two services decided to seriously up its game in 2018.

Best satellite internet — HughesNet

The new HughesNet takes a major step forward.

HughesNet’s new plans for 2018 are a huge improvement in terms of speed and availability.

In 2016, HughesNet’s fourth-generation service (Gen4) download speeds topped out at 15 Mbps, and that was for premium, pricier plans. At that same time, HughesNet’s cheapest plan offered only a sloth-at-the-DMV-like 5 Mbps maximum download speed. Now, in 2018, each HughesNet fifth-generation service (Gen5) plan includes the same set of new and improved speeds—25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.

It’s unusual for a satellite ISP (or any traditional ISP) to increase the speed of its cheapest plan by five times without raising prices, but HughesNet did just that. We have to give kudos to HughesNet for increasing its speeds at no additional cost.

Finally, the same set of plans everywhere.

  • Better speeds
  • Competitive pricing
  • Customer support lacking

In the past, you’d get different plans and prices for HughesNet based on where you live (which is still the case for Exede). So you couldn’t find out what plans and pricing you could get until you entered your address, and then you might find out a promotional discount wasn’t available in your area.

Needless to say, we’re not fans of such availability hijinks. Maybe HughesNet realized how big of a pain it was and made one set of plans for the entire United States. Whatever the reason, we’re happy to reap the benefits. No matter where you live in the United States, you get the same set of plans and pricing. (It’s so much easier to decide on a plan than it used to be!)

We didn’t rate HughesNet number one just because it improved its speeds and availability. It’s number one because we’ve compared HughesNet to what else is out there, and this year it’s no contest—HughesNet is the best satellite internet provider.

Check out our full review of HughesNet for a deep dive into the satellite internet service.

Satellite internet runner up — Exede

Exede needs an update to compete with HughesNet.

Exede internet logo
  • Better than most wireless
  • Slower than competition
  • Lacking customer service

Exede used to sell the fastest satellite internet around, but that’s no longer the case in 2018.

Exede has the same download speed for every plan, but it’s only 12 Mbps. That 12 Mbps speed provided some serious competition to HughesNet’s Gen4 in the past, but now that HughesNet’s Gen5 offers 25 Mbps download speeds, Exede’s getting left behind.

It’s true Exede offers an upgrade to 25 Mbps download speeds, but the availability is so limited, we’re not sure we should even mention it. The same 25 Mbps upgrade will also cost an extra $10 per month, again, if you can get your hands on it—you’ll have to use the ZIP finder to find out.

We can’t help but shrug at these kind of availability antics. Exede’s plans, including the 25 Mbps upgrade, are always subject to availability.

Speeds are likely lower than advertised.

There’s more bad news than just the availability headache. Exede advertises 12 Mbps download speeds, but it’s probably not delivering on that speed. The FCC found that Exede only delivers 71% of the speeds it advertised—down from 107% in 2015.1 The lower percentage is most likely an indication that Exede serves too many customers in certain markets. Though Exede hopes to alleviate this problem by launching new satellites in the next few years, it’s not currently delivering on its advertised speeds.

It might just be a tough year for Exede, but we’re optimistic that HughesNet’s improvements will cause Exede to take a long look in the mirror. Exede still has a lower lease fee ($10 per month), but it doesn’t include a Wi-Fi router (HughesNet does, but its lease fee is $15 per month). For now, Exede needs a rework, and until then, Exede can’t compete with HughesNet.

You can find even more details in our full review of Exede.

What to know before you buy satellite internet service

The options — who even offers satellite internet?

There are too few options when it comes to satellite internet, and the biggest reason is the lack of competition. WildBlue and EarthLink satellite internet bit the dust—Exede purchased WildBlue, HughesNet bought EarthLink.

We’re left with just HughesNet and Exede for nationwide satellite internet.

Search all rural internet providers by zip code.

The price — how much does satellite internet cost?

HughesNet and Exede have the exact same pricing for basic plans: $49.99 per month. Once you get past basic plans though, pricing varies, and HughesNet and Exede have different ways of selling you plans. Exede offers a specific set of plans based on where you live, and HughesNet just barely made a single set of plans available nationwide.

...make sure you’re okay committing to the length of the contract, which is almost always two years.

Besides the monthly service price, you’ll also want to review the early termination fee (ETF) for each satellite provider and check what you need to do if you have to return the equipment. We’ve received comments from people who were not aware they had to return the actual satellite dish before they moved. (Ouch! That will cost you.)

Also, if you cancel early, you’re looking at an ETF of $10–$20 for each month you have remaining on the contract. That can add up to hundreds of dollars, so make sure you’re okay committing to the length of the contract, which is almost always two years.

The speed — how fast is satellite internet?

We’ve heard from plenty of consumers that satellite internet doesn’t deliver on speed. The reality is much more complicated. For example, HughesNet has an actual vs. advertised speed ratio of 152%2 (read: you get better speed than what you pay for). So if your satellite internet seems slow, speed might not really be the issue.

The biggest challenge of using satellite internet is latency, or the time it takes for data to travel. Latency may sound like the same thing as internet speed (bandwidth), but it’s not. Imagine it like this: the internet is the freeway, bandwidth is the number of lanes, and latency is the speed limit. You can have a high speed limit (low latency), but only one lane for traffic (low bandwidth). Traffic might move just as fast on a four-lane freeway (high bandwidth) with a low speed limit (high latency).

...remember, data is going to space and back to earth (about 44,000 miles round trip). Give it a second.

This is the speed problem that’s particular to satellite internet: it has high latency. To be exact, latency is measured in milliseconds, and both HughesNet’s and Exede’s average latency is close to 600 milliseconds. That may still not seem like much, but compare it to Comcast (cable internet), which has an average latency closer to 20 milliseconds. Essentially it takes satellite internet data 30 times as long to travel, but remember, that data is going to space and back to earth (about 44,000 miles round trip). Give it a second.

If you’re doing something online that requires constant information being sent back and forth (online gaming), you’ll have a terrible experience, but speed most likely isn’t the issue—it’s just latency.

The data caps — how much data do you need?

Data caps can be a challenge when using satellite internet, especially if you don’t understand the particulars. Other types of internet have data caps (cable, DSL, etc.), but satellite internet data caps are especially limiting. It’s most important to pay attention to a plan’s “anytime data,” which, like it sounds, is data you can use any time. For example, HughesNet’s cheapest plan has a total of 60 GB data, which doesn’t sound too bad, but only 10 GB of that is actual anytime data. That means the other 50 GB, dubbed “bonus bytes,” is only available between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Little pin Little pin

Tip: Use your bonus data during the night

Tip: Use your bonus data during the night

Despite the timing, you can use a.m. bonus data to your advantage. You can set system updates for your computers to only occur during the twilight hours, or you can try services that let you download Netflix shows during those hours (yes, such services are out there).

Bonus data can be frustrating for users, but having it makes sense because satellite bandwidth is a finite source, and primetime hours, typically between 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., are when bandwidth is in high demand.

HughesNet app

HughesNet App shows data usage.

If you’re someone who wants to stream video on a regular basis, satellite internet may be a challenge. Streaming video uses a lot of data, and though you can take steps to watch videos at lower resolution (lower resolution uses less data), it may be cumbersome.

Because of the many limitations of satellite (high latency and small data caps for a higher price), we recommend satellite internet only to those with no other option for internet service but dial-up.

Another challenge with data caps is monitoring your usage, but HughesNet is trying to make that easier. It recently released a mobile app that lets you quickly check in on your usage (see screenshot). We’re not sure if a similar Exede app is in the works, but currently there is not one available.

The customer support — how helpful are satellite ISP’s?

There’s no way around it—customer support for satellite internet service is bad. If you have an issue and need help, a third party will likely handle your request. We’ve heard from many satellite customers who feel frustrated by inadequate customer service, and we don’t think things are going to change any time soon. However, there are things you can do to avoid a customer service catastrophe.

First, make sure you understand what’s in the actual contract. If reading through several pages of legalese is too much to handle, check the FAQ section on a satellite ISP’s website (or ask us!). For example, we’ve heard from customers who were told they would have no problem playing online games, streaming videos, or using a virtual private network (VPN) with satellite internet. This is incorrect. If you spend a few minutes on any satellite ISP’s website, you’ll notice explicit warnings that satellite internet does not work with VPNs.

...the biggest issue with satellite internet customer service is not communicating expectations clearly.

In fact, we heard from a recent HughesNet customer who complained about how using a VPN throttled his internet speeds, but if you check HughesNet’s FAQs, you’ll find a list of activities NOT recommended with a satellite connection. The first in that list is using a VPN, which HughesNet states will reduce speeds by 50–70% because of data encryption. Other activities NOT recommended include heavy downloading, video chat, and online gaming.

We think the biggest issue with satellite internet customer service is not communicating expectations clearly. But hey, that’s why we do what we do. If you know what you’re getting into, you’re less likely to have an issue. Still, don’t expect much from customer service, and if you do have a technical issue, a great place to look for help is from other satellite internet users—both HughesNet and Exede have active community forums.

Satellite internet FAQs

Q: How does it work?

how a home receives satellite internet

Data from a user’s satellite dish is sent to an orbiting satellite, which relays that data to a stationary satellite dish connected to a larger network (i.e., the internet).

To get technical, the orbiting satellite is about 22,000 miles away from earth. At that distance, the satellite will orbit at the same pace as the earth rotates, enabling your home satellite dish to remain in constant contact with the orbiting satellite. This is also why (if you live in the northern hemisphere) you must have an unobstructed southward view of the sky from where you place your home satellite dish.

The complete satellite internet system includes the following:

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

Q: How much can I download?

This depends on the plan you select from a satellite internet provider. Say your plan lets you download 10 GB per month. Now, the next question is “How much content is 10 GB?” It’s equivalent to streaming four two-hour movies in HD or listening to 180 hours of streaming music. If you only use the internet for browsing web pages and email (no downloading or streaming), don’t worry—you’ll likely never reach 10 GB in a month.

Q: What speeds do I get?

First, what speed you get depends on which provider you choose. Second, there are many factors—like the setup of your computer or how many users you have on the same network—that can affect the speed of your internet connection. Third, satellite internet has high latency, which is commonly mistaken for slow speed (bandwidth).

Speeds don’t vary as much as they used to—every HughesNet plan has a 25 Mbps download speed, and every Exede plan has a 12 Mbps download speed. Exede does have an option to upgrade to 25 Mbps download speed, but it’s only available in select areas.

Q: What’s the installation process?

Professional installation services and fees vary, so you’ll have to check with each satellite internet provider. Many satellite internet providers offer free installation and activation as an enticement to purchase their service. The satellite internet providers we recommend usually offer the option to either lease the equipment (normally $10–15 per month) or purchase the equipment at a cost of a few hundred dollars (but there is no rental fee associated with this option). Don’t forget you’ll have to return the equipment at the end of service if you lease.

If you live in a condo or a townhome and have to deal with a homeowners association (HOA), check with it first before installing a satellite internet dish. It’s typically not an issue, but every association has different bylaws.

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

The short answer is no (most satellite internet services are designed to be stationary). However, DISH has an option called the TailGater for satellite TV, and because it’s mobile you can take it anywhere. So if you’re traveling cross-country and want to take TV with you, check out the TailGater® and see our article on how to get TV on the road.

Q: Is there unlimited satellite internet?

Technically speaking, satellite internet from HughesNet and Exede is unlimited because there’s no hard cap on data. After you’ve used your allotted anytime data for the month, your internet speeds are throttled. You don’t lose your connection—your internet service just becomes extremely slow (anywhere from 0.5–3 Mbps).

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

Q: Should I lease or purchase satellite internet equipment?

For most satellite internet providers, equipment leases for $10–15 a month for the two-year contract period. Currently, only HughesNet offers an option to purchase your satellite equipment up front for a cost of $249.99 ($199.99 standard installation fee not included).

If you go with Exede, the decision is made for you—you have to lease ($10 per month), but there’s no lease setup fee. If you go with HughesNet, we think purchasing might not be so bad. After all, you have to agree to a two-year contract either way, so the math works out to be about the same. At least if you purchase, you won’t have to figure out how to return a satellite dish through the mail.

HughesNet Equipment — Purchase or Lease?

Satellite antenna and modem$249.99$14.99/mo
Standard installation$199.99Free
Lease set-up feen/a$99.00

Exede Equipment — Purchase or Lease?

Satellite antenna and modemn/a$9.99/mo
Standard installationn/aFree
Lease set-up feen/an/a

Satellite internet myths and facts

#1 — Satellite internet is too slow.

At the advent of satellite internet, download speeds approximated 750 Kbps with upload speeds of about 256 Kbps. With advancements in technology and the launch of new, more powerful satellites, speeds have increased dramatically. Presently, download speeds up to 25 Mbps and upload speeds of 12 Mbps are possible—speeds comparable to DSL and cable.

#2 — It takes a long time to receive a signal.

Do you have a second? Latency, or the time it takes for data to be sent and received, has long been a criticism of satellite internet technology.

It’s true that satellite internet latency is higher than cable, DSL, and fiber internet, which are in the 20–50 ms range, while satellite internet ranges can be close to 600 ms.

Satellites are positioned about 22,000 miles above the earth, and that’s a long way to travel. Most satellite internet customers are located in areas where DSL or cable are not available, so the alternative is satellite internet.

The most obvious effect of latency is on gaming, where ultra-quick responses are necessary. Satellite internet is not suitable for heavy gaming applications; however, normal email, browsing, photo sharing, etc., are not affected that much by latency.

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

While it’s true a severe thunderstorm, heavy snow, or blizzard 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, etc. could disable cable or DSL for days. Again, most satellite internet customers live in rural areas without access to DSL or cable, so the problems associated with rain fade are minimal when compared to alternative, slower means of internet service (dial-up).

#4 — Satellite internet is too expensive.

The monthly costs of satellite internet have decreased substantially over the past few years in light of the advancements in speed and data capacity. An entry-level service that provides broadband internet costs $49 per month, which is comparable to DSL and cable internet plans.

What’s the next step?

We’ve recommended HughesNet for 2018, but there’s still some more things you should know before ordering satellite internet. For example, be sure to read through the contract, even if it’s just a quick readthrough.

If you’re informed and prepared, you’ll likely be satisfied with your satellite internet.

We’ve heard from too many customers who didn’t read the paperwork and were shocked, for example, when they had to return the equipment (you have to return equipment if you lease it). Also, be aware that whoever comes to install the satellite will likely be a third-party contractor. That means you’ll get third-party service, so it’s best to ask plenty of questions and get answers you can confirm with paperwork—the contractor may promise something that isn’t in the contract, and that would be a major red flag.

If you’re informed and prepared, you’ll likely be satisfied with your satellite internet. If you have a question you can’t find an answer to, feel free to ask us.

Best Satellite Internet Providers Summary

  • Hughesnet
  • Exede
  • EarthLink
  • WildBlue

Want to know more?

If you want to know more about the best satellite internet or you think we missed something, leave us a comment below. We love hearing from you.

  • 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!

  • 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.