2019 Viasat Review (Formerly Exede Satellite Internet)
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap||Details|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||$50/mo.||12 Mbps||40 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 25||$70/mo.||25 Mbps||60 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 50||$100/mo.||50 Mbps||100 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||$150/mo.||100 Mbps||150 GB||View Plan|
If you live in a rural area and names like “Xfinity” or “CenturyLink” sound like a distant dream, then satellite internet might be your best bet to live in the country and still get your Netflix fix.
There aren’t a ton of satellite internet options, specifically high-speed satellite internet, out there, but of your (exactly two) choices, we recommend Viasat. It’s got a slew of plans available (depending on where you live), and it has higher upload speeds and download speeds than the competition.
- More than one speed option
- Lower price per Mbps per month
- Three-month price hike
- Low data caps compared to DSL, cable, and fiber
Viasat plans and prices
Viasat is expensive, but compared to the other satellite ISP it’s a deal.
If you’re coming to Viasat from a cable or fiber internet plan, then get ready for some sticker shock. Viasat’s plans are pricey, especially for the speeds they offer. But honestly, they’re not abnormal for satellite internet.
That’s why if you have a choice between satellite and other types of internet connections, we pretty much always recommend the other types (unless it’s seriously just dial-up).
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap||Details|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||$50/mo.*||12 Mbps||40 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 12||$65/mo.*||12 Mbps||60 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 12||$95/mo.*||12 Mbps||100 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 25||$70/mo.*||25 Mbps||60 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 30||$100/mo.*||30 Mbps||100 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 50||$100/mo.*||50 Mbps||100 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||$150/mo.*||100 Mbps||150 GB||View Plan|
We know, we know—that looks like a lot of plans. But which plan you can get—and how much you end up paying—totally depends on where you live.
Still, you’ll want to watch out for Viasat’s three-month price hike.
For most (but not all) of its plans, Viasat jacks up your prices pretty dramatically after your first three months of service. After that, your price locks in for the rest of your 2-year contract, but that initial jump is a pain in the wallet.
We have to ding Viasat for this one—we don’t like when companies lure you in with lower prices and then raise it after just a few months. We think it’s misleading.
But we will say that even with the surprise price hike, Viasat’s prices are better than HughesNet (the only other satellite internet provider out there). HughesNet often charges more per megabit per second than Viasat does.
Finally! A satellite internet provider that doesn’t require contracts. Viasat used to make you sign a 24-month contract with every plan, but that’s changed.
Don’t get too excited just yet though—skipping the contract will cost you. Viasat requires you to pay a $300 no-long-term-contract fee if you choose to dodge the commitment.1
If you plan on keeping your internet for at least two years, then we recommend just going with the contract. There’s no need to pay three-hundo just to be off the legal hook if you do decide to cancel your service.
Viasat internet speed
Depending on where you live, Viasat has some impressively zippy options.
Just like with everything else satellite internet, Viasat speeds vary depending on where you live. You might get 12 Mbps, or you might get 100 Mbps.
|Unlimited Bronze 12||12 Mbps|
|Unlimited Silver 12||12 Mbps|
|Unlimited Gold 12||12 Mbps|
|Unlimited Silver 25||25 Mbps|
|Unlimited Gold 30||30 Mbps|
|Unlimited Gold 50||50 Mbps|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||100 Mbps|
On the bright side, you won’t notice latency much at all for slower-speed internet activities, like scrolling through Instagram. Just don’t try to play Fortnite on your Viasat connection.
Viasat’s plans technically have unlimited data, but that doesn’t mean they have unlimited high-speed data.
Just like your unlimited cell phone plan, Viasat’s unlimited data plans gives you a certain amount of “priority data”, and after that, you’ll notice a significant slowdown.
|Unlimited Bronze 12||40 GB|
|Unlimited Silver 12||60 GB|
|Unlimited Gold 12||100 GB|
|Unlimited Silver 25||60 GB|
|Unlimited Gold 30||100 GB|
|Unlimited Gold 50||100 GB|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||150 GB|
If you want to save your data pennies, you can do things to use less data. For example, you can adjust videos to play at lower resolutions, and you can use Viasat’s own web browser, which helps reduce your data usage.
Contracts, equipment, & fees
Viasat’s pro installers do the work for you, so put away the ladder and duct tape.
Skipping Viasat’s contract will cost you. Viasat requires you to pay a $300 no-long-term-contract fee if you choose to dodge the commitment.1
But if you plan on keeping your internet for at least two years, then we recommend just going with the contract. There’s no need to pay three-hundo just to be off the legal hook if you do decide to cancel your service.
Your Viasat internet uses a satellite dish and a modem. A professional technician has to install both those things, and that technician will probably be from a third-party contractor.
Plan on the installation process taking two or three hours. The technician’s exact arrival time can be dicey, so we’d say just take off that whole day if you can.
When the technician gets there, they’ll attach the satellite dish to your roof (or a wall) and make sure it’s pointed the right way to communicate with the orbiting satellite. Once they finish installing the dish and your modem, you’ll be good to go.
As for the equipment price, that depends on whether you choose a monthly lease or a lifetime lease.
- Monthly lease price: $9.99/mo.
- Lifetime lease price: $299 one-time fee
It would take 30 months for the cost of the lifetime lease to make the one-time payment worth it.2
But if you can afford the up-front cost, it’s usually worth it. Most people keep their service for longer than two and a half years, so the lifetime lease can save you some serious money.
What’s internet without service fees? Here’s a quick look at what fees Viasat might have in store for you.
- Installation fees: $99.95, but if you’re a new Viasat customer you should ask about the installation fee rebate program that essentially makes your install free.
- One-time fees: $300 for late or unreturned equipment when you cancel your Viasat service.
- Early termination fees: $15 per month for every month left on your contract.
Viasat’s customer service is pretty “meh,” just like every other ISP’s.
While Viasat’s speeds stand out among other satellite internet providers, its customer service isn’t outstanding. Which is to say internet providers as a whole have some work to do when it comes to taking care of us, the customer.
Viasat didn’t earn a specific rating from the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report. But we can look at the report’s “All Others” rating to get a general idea of how good (or not good) Viasat’s customer service is.
|Rating category||Viasat (“All Others”)|
|ACSI 2019 rating||64 out of 100|
That’s not the worst score of the internet providers rated—but it’s also a “D” if you look at it from an academic grading perspective. Hmm. . .
Our picks: The best Viasat internet plans
Best for Streaming: Unlimited Gold 50
Who it’s best for: Love to stream a little Mindhunter before bed? Or maybe you need to jam out to Taylor Swift’s latest album before work. Either way, this plan has the “oomph” you need to stream away.
Why we picked it: The Unlimited Gold 50 plan comes with a happy medium for price. And you get 50 Mbps speeds and a 100 GB data cap too.
Best for Budgeters: Unlimited Silver 25
Who it’s best for: Need a plan that won’t leave your wallet lonely? The Unlimited Silver 25 is a good pick for anyone who wants a hefty internet plan without giving away your left kidney.
Why we picked it: The Unlimited Silver 25 comes in under $100 a month, which beats out HughesNet’s price for the same speeds and less data. We’re listening. . .
Recap: Is Viasat good?
Viasat brings speed to satellite internet—but it still comes at a high price.
If you live out in the country and satellite internet is your only option, then Viasat is a good choice. It has higher-speed plans than ever before, and it usually beats the competition on both price and speed (although, again, it depends on where you live).
- Prices and plans: Prices for Viasat start out reasonable, but that three-month price hike will sneak up on anyone. We hate to see it, but Viasat still tends to be cheaper than HughesNet.
- Speed: With speeds up to 100 Mbps, Viasat blows the competition out of the water. Of course, what speeds you get depend on where you live. . .
- Contracts, equipment, and fees: Viasat offers a no0contract option—but it costs $300. And its lifetime equipment lease costs $300 too. But the good news is you may qualify for an installation fee rebate.
- Customer service: No internet provider has amazing customer service, sure. But we’d like to see Viasat pick up the pace when it comes to being friendly and helpful.
- Viasat, “Exede Disclaimer”
- Viasat, “Lease Options Designed to Serve a Variety of Customers and Budgets”
- American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), “ACSI Telecommunications Report 2018–2019”