We like HughesNet’s easy-to-understand plans and unlimited data. That said, it’s lagging a bit behind the only other satellite provider, Viasat, in both speed and price. And we’d love to see HughesNet (and Viasat, for that matter) ditch its two-year contracts.
HughesNet prices and plans
HughesNet generally costs more than cable or fiber internet providers. But at least its prices stay the same for your entire contract.
Satellite internet almost always costs more than other kinds of connections, like DSL or fiber. What can we say? Satellites are expensive machines. Still, you might feel some sticker shock.
HughesNet Internet Pricing and Plans
|Plan||Price||Download speed||View plan|
|10 GB||$59.99/mo.*||25 Mbps||View Plans|
|20 GB||$69.99/mo.*||25 Mbps||View Plans|
|30 GB||$99.99/mo.*||25 Mbps||View Plans|
|50 GB||$129.99/mo.*||25 Mbps||View Plans|
If you just moved to the country from a city, then don’t be surprised to see a higher monthly bill, even if you feel like you’re getting slower service now than you did at your old place.
How much does HughesNet cost?
HughesNet starts at 10 GB of data for $59.99 per month and maxes out at 50 GB of data for $129.99 per month. You can also find two data plans between those numbers.
Just like Viasat, HughesNet locks you into a two-year service contract. Your price does stay the same for all 24 months, with no surprise price hikes—which is nice.
But we still dislike contracts and wish HughesNet (and Viasat) would either stop using them or limit them to just one year.
That said, satellite internet is a pain to set up and a pain to return, so you probably won’t want to switch it out too often anyway.
And if you don’t plan on moving anytime soon, then two years isn’t a terribly long time to keep your internet service.
Are there early termination fees?
If you cut your contract short, expect to pay out the wazoo for it. Let’s say you want to cancel your HughesNet contract within a few months after signing on. If you do, HughesNet will charge you $400. Yikes!
The fee goes down the longer you keep your service (to be exact, it decreases by $15 every month). But the lowest you’ll possibly pay to cancel is $85, which is still a decent chunk of change. And that’s not even counting potential equipment fees.
HughesNet speed and data
HughesNet offers the same speeds all across the country, no matter where you live.
Satellite internet is often super location based. For example, Viasat changes its prices and speeds depending on where you live. But you don’t have to deal with that with HughesNet. HughesNet gives you the same speeds regardless of your address.
HughesNet download and upload speeds
|Plan||Download speed||Upload speed||Data cap|
|10 GB||25 Mbps||3 Mbps||10 GB|
|20 GB||25 Mbps||3 Mbps||20 GB|
|30 GB||25 Mbps||3 Mbps||30 GB|
|50 GB||25 Mbps||3 Mbps||50 GB|
25 Mbps is more than enough to comfortably check your email and scroll through Facebook without waiting forever for pages to load. But you might still face some slowness with certain types of activities.
Satellite internet has higher latency than other connection types, which means everything will take longer—even if you have high Mbps speeds.
What is latency?
Latency is the extra time it takes for information to get from your computer to the satellite and back. Because satellites are so far away, it takes more time for information to travel with satellite internet than it does with cable, DSL, or fiber.
As with most things satellite internet, latency rates have gotten better in the last few years. But they’ll probably always be high enough that certain types of activities (like serious gaming) are off the table with a satellite connection.
How do HughesNet data guidelines work?
Even though HughesNet plans list data amounts, those aren’t hard caps. You don’t have to worry about your data being cut off or paying overages if you use more than your set amount.
Worried about video resolution?
That said, your speeds will go down if you go over the data amount on your plan. We call these amounts soft caps or “data guidelines” because they’re not really limits, but you will feel like they are if you use more than what’s on your plan.
If your kids go on a Netflix spree and your family goes over your data guideline, HughesNet will slow down your speeds to a rate that makes molasses look fast. (1–3 Mbps, to be exact.)
If you want to track your data usage, you can use HughesNet’s app on iOS or Android.
HughesNet installation and equipment
You can choose to either purchase or lease HughesNet equipment. But both options are pretty expensive.
For your internet connection to work, you need a satellite antenna and a modem. You can buy this equipment from HughesNet, or you can just lease it, but either way, it’s going to be pricey.
HughesNet equipment prices
|Leased equipment||Purchased equipment|
|$9.99/mo. (for 24 mos)*||$349.98*|
If you know it’s a temporary thing and you’re not going to renew your contract after the two-year mark, then go with leasing. You’ll save around a hundred bucks that way.
Leasing might look like the less expensive option, but that really depends on how long you plan to use satellite internet service for.
On the other hand, if you live in the middle of nowhere and satellite internet is your only option for the foreseeable future, then you should buy your equipment. It’s a bigger up-front cost, but you’ll save more money over time.
What about installation?
A professional will come out and install your new satellite system for you. HughesNet uses third-party contractors to install new systems. That means the contractors don’t work directly for HughesNet, so the quality of your customer service is a bit of an unknown.
Remember: Installation can take around four hours, so block out at least half your day.
Satellite internet is never mind-blowing, but HughesNet offers consistent speeds across the country, and its service has gotten much better in recent years.
Overall, we still recommend you check out Viasat over HughesNet to see if it can give faster speeds and better value for your money.
But if you live in a rural place where satellite internet is your only option, then HughesNet is still an okay choice.
Do you have satellite internet? How has your service been? Let us know in the comments!