Does Viasat Satellite Internet Have Data Limits?

Catherine McNally
Mar 14, 2024
Icon Time To Read6 min read

Viasat advertises its satellite internet plan as having “unlimited” data, but is that true?

Technically, no. Even unlimited plans can have a cap on its high-speed data. Pass your data cap, and you might end up browsing the web at a snail’s pace. And if you want to stream Netflix, game, or get some work done at your home office, those slow speeds just won’t cut it. 

Here’s what to know about Viasat data limits, how to get more Viasat data, how much it costs, plus information on how much data you’ll need for streaming video, gaming, and more.

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Does Viasat have data limits?

Viasat satellite internet does have data limits, but the way those limits work depends on which type of plan you have.

Viasat offers more data than Hughesnet, so if data is what you need, we recommend Viasat. Viasat's plans come with up to 850GB of high-speed data, while Hughesnet's priority data caps max out at 200GB. 

Viasat Internet plans data caps

Viasat’s plans don’t come with a monthly data allowance, but instead, you get a sort of data “soft cap.”

That means you’re given a certain amount of guaranteed high-speed data, and if you use more than that amount of high-speed data, your speeds might slow down during times of congestion.

Viasat unlimited data plans
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
High-speed data cap
Details
Viasat Unleashed
$99.99/mo.
*
Up to 150 MbpsUnlimited850GB
Unlimited Bronze 12
(Only available in Colorado)
$69.99/mo. for 3 mo
12 MbpsUnlimited35GB, 45GB, or 80GB (depending on location)
Unlimited Silver 12
(Only available in Colorado)
$99.99/mo. for 3 mo.
12 MbpsUnlimited45GB
Unlimited Gold 12
(Only available in Colorado)
$99.99/mo. for 3 mo.
12 MbpsUnlimited65GB
* Prices, speeds and availability vary by location. Prices are subject to change. No annual contract or installation fees are required. Monthly equipment lease fees and taxes may apply.
Offer available to new qualifying customers. One-time standard installation fee may be due at checkout. Minimum 24-month service term required. Equipment lease fee is $14.99/mo. Taxes apply. Speeds are “up to,” will vary and are not guaranteed. Service is not available in all areas. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time.

Let’s say you have a Viasat Silver plan, but you’ve used more than 45GB of high-speed data this month. You’ll still get to stream, email, and check Facebook with 25 Mbps download speeds—at least until the network gets congested.

If a bunch of other Viasat customers hop online after work, your data will be prioritized behind theirs because you’ve already used your 45GB of priority data. So you might see your download speeds drop during that time.

Choose Viasat Unleashed for the most data

While all other Viasat plans suffer from three-month price hikes or have limited availability, Viasat's Unleashed plan gets you 850GB of high-speed data without contracts or price hikes. 

You won't be able to purchase more data with Viasat Unleashed. But thankfully, with 850GB of fast data, we don't think you'll need to.

Best value
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
pro 850GB of high-speed data
pro No contract
pro No three-month price hike
Download Speed
Up to 150 Mbps
Data Cap
Unlimited
Starts at
$99.99/mo.

How do you purchase more data for your Viasat plan?

Viasat currently allows you to buy 1 to 10 GB of data at a time.

Here’s a quick look at how to buy more Viasat data:

  1. Sign in to your Viasat account and go to your account Overview page.
  2. Click the Buy More Data button next to your current data usage.
  3. Review your current data usage, your plan details, and options to add more data.
  4. Choose the amount of data you want to add and click Purchase.

Your download speeds should pop back up to normal after your purchase is processed.

How much does it cost to buy more Viasat data?

Buying more data for your Viasat internet plan can cost anywhere from $10 to $95. That can add up quickly if you keep going over your data cap every month.

If you find yourself adding more high-speed data often, it might be time to upgrade to the Viasat Unleashed plan for more priority data. We highly recommend preparing for your call to the sales department by checking out the latest Viasat deals so you can negotiate for the best price.

Viasat satellite internet data plans and prices
Additional data
Price

1 GB

$10.00

2 GB

$20.00

3 GB

$30.00

5 GB

$48

7 GB

$67.00

10 GB

$95.00

Data effective 3/24/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Planning to buy some extra Viasat data? Make sure you buy only as much as you need because any data you don’t use won’t carry over to the next month. It’s also not refundable. That means you’re in a use it or lose it type of situation here.

What online activity uses the most data?

Streaming 4K video uses the most data by far at 7 to 8 gigabytes (GB) per hour. And if you don’t have a 4K-capable device, high-definition (HD) video uses the next most data at 2.5 GB per hour.

Here’s how much data you’ll use for video streaming and other everyday online activities.

Online activity data usage comparison
Activity
MB used
GB used

One email with attachments

0.4 MB

0.0004 GB

Playing an online game

34 MB/hr.

0.034 GB/hr.

Music streaming

55 MB/hr.

0.055 GB/hr.

Social media

94 MB/hr.

0.094 GB/hr.

Browsing the web

184 MB/hr.

0.184 GB/hr.

Streaming standard-definition (SD) video

700 MB/hr.

0.7 GB/hr.

Streaming HD video

2,500 MB/hr.

2.5 GB/hr.

Streaming 4K video

8,000 MB/hr.

8 GB/hr.

Video conferencing

540–2,400 MB/hr.

0.7–2.4 GB/hr.

So you can see most online activities won’t eat up a large chunk of your Viasat data allotment—unless you do them often or have family members also downloading songs, streaming videos, and gaming.

But even still, you can get a pretty good idea of how much Viasat data you’ll need by looking at the data usage for the activities you and your family do the most.

How much data do you need?

Let’s say you share your internet with three other people. How much data do you need each month?

If you have visitors, download a film for family movie night, or something else out of the ordinary happens, you may use more data. 

Here’s how much data we estimate you’ll need in various situations.

How much data do you need for checking social media and emails?

If you mainly check emails, browse the internet, and take a peek at Facebook, you’re looking at about 28 GB of data each month.

How much data do you need for web browsing and emails?
Activity
Time spent
Data used

Browsing the web

4 hrs./day

22.1 GB/mo.

Emails sent

3/day

0.036 GB/mo.

Social media

2 hrs./day

5.6 GB/mo.

Total

--

28 GB

How much data do you need for working from home?

A home office uses a lot more data thanks to video conferencing and larger file downloads (plus a little music streaming to keep the flow going): we estimate that working from home uses about 248 GB of data per month. (That’s if you keep your video conferencing quality to the minimum setting.)

How much data do you use while working from home?
Activity
Time spent
Data used

Browsing the web

8 hrs./day

44.2 GB/mo.

Emails sent

30/day

0.36 GB/mo.

Social media

1 hr./day

2.8 GB/mo.

Music streaming

4 hrs./day

6.6 GB/mo.

Video conferencing

90 mins./wk.

194.4 GB/mo.

Total

--

248 GB

You can save some data by turning off your video during calls
Light Bulb

Video conferencing software like Zoom is notorious for eating up your data. If you need to hop on a video call for work, you can save some of your data by turning your own video off and making sure Zoom (or whatever software you use) is set to use the lowest video quality possible.

How much data do you need for streaming videos?

If you and your family can’t get enough of YouTube, Hulu, Disney+, and other streaming services, you’ll need about 42 GB of data a month. That’s even after we threw in some web browsing to look up your movies on Rotten Tomatoes and some music streaming for the times when you aren’t streaming Hulu.

But remember, if you stream in HD or better, you’ll need more data. For example, streaming four hours of SD video per week uses about 11 GB of data per month, while streaming four hours of HD video per week uses about 40 GB of data per month.

How much data does video streaming use?
Activity
Time spent
Data used

Browsing the web

5 hrs./day

27.6 GB/mo.

Music streaming

2 hrs./day

3.3 GB/mo.

Video streaming in SD

4 hrs./wk.

11.2 GB/mo.

Total

--

42 GB

How much data do you need for gaming

Excited to get your hands on the new release of Elden Ring? Or maybe you enjoy reliving the early 2000s with your buddies in World of Warcraft: Classic. Whatever game you play, you’ll probably need about 56 GB of data each month. (We threw in some music and video streaming for those times when you need to farm experience.)

And don’t forget about data for downloading patches and new games. Gaming itself doesn’t use much data, but you’ll need extra if you need to download a patch—or if you decide to grab a new game that’s been sitting on your Steam wishlist forever.

How much data do you need to game?
Activity
Time spent
Data used

Browsing the web

6 hrs./day

33.1 GB/mo.

Music streaming

5 hrs./day

8.3 GB/mo.

Gaming

3 hrs./day

3.1 GB/mo.

Video streaming in SD

4 hrs./wk.

11.2 GB/mo.

Total

--

56 GB

Don’t forget about data for downloading patches and new games
Pin

Gaming itself doesn’t use much data, but you’ll need extra if you need to download a patch—or if you decide to grab a new game that’s been sitting on your Steam wishlist forever.

Can you stream Netflix with Viasat internet?

You can stream Netflix and other streaming services with Viasat, though you probably won’t be able to stream video in 4K.

It’s also worth knowing that Viasat automatically adjusts your video resolution to save your monthly data allotment. So you may tune in to watch True Detective but see it stream in SD instead of HD.

How do you track your Viasat data usage?

You can see how much data you’ve used by logging in to your Viasat account. The first page you see after you log in should show your current data usage as well as how much data you get each month on your current Viasat plan.

You can also use the My Viasat app (iOS | Android) to see your Viasat data use or text JOIN to 20715 to receive text message updates.

Recap: How do you purchase more Viasat data?

You can buy 1 to 10 GB of extra data by logging into your account, clicking “Buy More Data” on your main account page, and selecting the amount of extra data you want to buy. Extra data costs $10.00 to $95.00 depending on how much you need. Just remember that any data you don’t use doesn’t roll over—and you don’t get a refund either. 

You can also switch to Viasat Unleashed and never worry about running out of fast data.

Get to know more of the ins and outs in our Viasat satellite internet review and our comparison of the best satellite internet providers.

Now that you know how to add more Viasat data, try this next.
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Catherine McNally
Written by
Catherine McNally
Catherine has a degree in journalism and an MBA, and has spent the last 10+ years writing everything from Okinawa travel guides to stories on Medium. She’s been online since AOL CDs were a thing and is an unapologetic PC gamer. She believes the internet is a necessity, not a luxury, and writes reviews and guides to help everyone stay connected. You can also find her on Twitter: @CMReviewsIt.

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