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Does Viasat Satellite Internet Have Data Limits?
Viasat (formerly Exede) advertises most of its satellite internet plans as having “unlimited” data, but is that true?
Not quite. 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.
If you have a Viasat Liberty plan, you might be able to avoid slower speeds by adding data, though it will cost you extra. 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.
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, a Liberty plan or an Unlimited plan.
Viasat Liberty plan data caps
For Liberty plans, you get 12, 25, or 50 GB of “priority” data each month that lets you browse the internet at 12 Mbps. After you use up your priority data, your download speed slows to 1 to 5 Mbps.1
|Liberty 12||$30/mo.*||12 Mbps||12 GB|
|Liberty 25||$50/mo.*||12 Mbps||25 GB|
|Liberty 50||$75/mo.*||12 Mbps||50 GB|
Viasat Unlimited plan data caps
Viasat’s Unlimited 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.2
|Unlimited Bronze 12||$64.99/mo.†||12 Mbps||80 GB|
|Unlimited Silver 12||$99.99/mo.*||12 Mbps||45 GB|
|Unlimited Gold 12||$149.99/mo.*||12 Mbps||65 GB|
|Unlimited Silver 25||$84.99/mo.†||25 Mbps||120 GB|
|Unlimited Gold 30||$119.99/mo.†||30 Mbps||100 GB|
|Unlimited Gold 50||$119.99/mo.†||50 Mbps||200 GB|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||$169.99/mo.†||100 Mbps||300 GB|
Let’s say you have a Viasat Unlimited Silver 25 plan, but you’ve used more than 120 GB of 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 120 GB of priority data. So you might see your download speeds drop during that time.
Did you zoom past your data allowance? While you’re still in less of a pickle than those with Viasat Liberty plans, it may be tempting to buy more data just to avoid the possibility of slower speeds. But sadly, Viasat doesn’t allow you to buy more data if you’re subscribed to one of its Unlimited plans.2 Womp womp.
How do you purchase more data for your Viasat Liberty plan?
If you’re using a Viasat Liberty plan, you can sign in to your account to see your current data use and buy more data. 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:
- Sign in to your Viasat account and go to your account Overview page.
- Click the Buy More Data button next to your current data usage.
- Review your current data usage, your plan details, and options to add more data.
- 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.
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.
How much does it cost to buy more Viasat data?
Buying more data for your Viasat Liberty 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 data often, it might be time to upgrade to a Liberty plan with more data or one of the Viasat unlimited data plans. And 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.
Data effective 12/31/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
What online activity uses the most data?
Streaming 4K video uses the most data by far at 7 to 8 gigabytes (GB) per hour.3 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.4
Here’s how much data you’ll use for video streaming and other everyday online activities:
One email with attachments
Playing an online game
Browsing the web
Streaming standard-definition (SD) video
Streaming HD video
Streaming 4K video
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?
You can use Viasat’s data calculator to estimate how much data you might use in certain situations, but remember that your data usage might vary.
If you have visitors, download a film for family movie night, or something else out of the ordinary happens, you may use more data. (Yup, your data usage will probably take a hit if you decide to see what this Tiger King show is all about.)
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.
Browsing the web
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.)
Browsing the web
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.
Browsing the web
Video streaming in SD
How much data do you need for gaming
Love to take pot shots from the roof in Call of Duty: Warzone? 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.)
Browsing the web
Video streaming in SD
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 (Exede) 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 Despicable Me 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.
Recap: How do you purchase more Viasat data?
If you have a Viasat Liberty plan, 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.
If you have a Viasat unlimited plan, you can’t purchase more data. But if you go over your unlimited plan’s priority data cap, your internet speeds might be slowed during busier times. That’s different from a Viasat Liberty plan, which automatically slows your internet speed to 1 to 5 Mbps if you go over your data cap.
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- Viasat, “Liberty High-Speed Internet Plans,” 2020. Accessed December 2020.
- Viasat, “Viasat Unlimited Data Policy,” June 2020. Accessed December 2020.
- Jerry Hildenbrand, Android Central, “How Much Mobile Data Does Streaming Use?,” August 2020. Accessed December 2020.
- AT&T, “Internet Data Calculator,” 2020. Accessed April 2020.
- Alex Choros, WhistleOut, “How Much Data Does Zoom Use?,” March 2020. Accessed April 2020.