Viasat (Formerly Exede) Satellite Internet Review 2021
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap||Details|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||$50/mo.||12 Mbps||80 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 25||$70/mo.||25 Mbps||120 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 50||$100/mo.||50 Mbps||200 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||$150/mo.||100 Mbps||300 GB||View Plan|
There aren’t a ton of rural internet options out there, but of your two high-speed satellite internet choices, we recommend Viasat.
If cable and fiber internet sounds like a distant dream, Viasat satellite internet might be your best bet to live in the country and still get your streaming fix. It’s got a slew of plans available (depending on where you live), and it has higher speeds that often ring in at a lower price than the competition.
That said, Viasat does come with a three-month price hike after your promotional price ends, plus a few other caveats that might make you hesitate. So let’s dig into the details and find out if Viasat is the best rural internet provider for you.
- More than one speed option
- Lower price per Mbps per month than HughesNet
- Three-month price hike
- Not a lot of data
- Limited availability for cheaper Liberty plans
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).
Viasat (formerly Exede) internet plans and prices
Viasat’s price for the speed you get makes it our Editor’s Choice for satellite internet.
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap||Details|
|Liberty 12||$30/mo.*||12 Mbps||12 GB||View Plan|
|Liberty 25||$50/mo.*||12 Mbps||25 GB||View Plan|
|Liberty 50||$75/mo.*||12 Mbps||50 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||$50/mo.*||12 Mbps||80 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 12||$100/mo.*||12 Mbps||45 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 12||$150/mo.*||12 Mbps||65 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 25||$70/mo.*||25 Mbps||120 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 30||$100/mo.*||30 Mbps||100 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 50||$100/mo.*||50 Mbps||200 GB||View Plan|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||$150/mo.*||100 Mbps||300 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.
For example, Viasat’s Liberty plans are available to a smaller portion of the US than its Unlimited plans.
So, depending on where you live, you might have only a few Viasat internet speeds to choose from—and you may not be able to choose a Liberty plan.
You might be wondering what other differences are when it comes to Viasat’s Liberty plans and its Unlimited plans. Basically, the Liberty plans come with much less data than most of the Unlimited data plans. We dive into this a bit more when we discuss Viasat data caps if you want to skip ahead.
How much does Viasat internet cost after three months?
No matter which plan you choose, 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 two-year contract, but that initial jump is a pain in the wallet.
|Plan||Starting price*||Price after three months||Download speed||Data cap|
|Liberty 12||$30/mo.||$50/mo.||12 Mbps||12 GB|
|Liberty 25||$50/mo.||$75/mo.||25 Mbps||25 GB|
|Liberty 50||$75/mo.||$100/mo.||50 Mbps||75 GB|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||$50/mo.||$70/mo.||12 Mbps||80 GB|
|Unlimited Silver 12||$100/mo.||$150/mo.||12 Mbps||45 GB|
|Unlimited Gold 12||$150/mo.||$200/mo.||12 Mbps||65 GB|
|Unlimited Silver 25||$70/mo.||$100/mo.||25 Mbps||120 GB|
|Unlimited Gold 30||$100/mo.||$150/mo.||30 Mbps||100 GB|
|Unlimited Gold 50||$100/mo.||$150/mo.||50 Mbps||200 GB|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||$150/mo.||$200/mo.||100 Mbps||300 GB|
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 3 months.
But we still 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.
Viasat internet prices compared to HughesNet prices
But we will say that even with the surprise price hike, Viasat’s prices for the speeds and data you get are better than HughesNet (the only other satellite internet provider out there right now). HughesNet often charges more per megabit per second than Viasat does.
|Provider||Monthly price||Download speeds||Data cap||Learn more|
|Viasat Internet||$30–$150†||12–100 Mbps||12–300 GB||View Plans|
|HughesNet Internet||$59.99–$149.99‡||25 Mbps||10–50 GB||View Plans|
So unless you’re set with HughesNet’s low-data-cap plans, Viasat is often the better deal.
Sure, at a glance, 25 Mbps is enough to stream even in HD, but that doesn’t take into account any other connected devices or people that might use your internet too. We’re talking kiddos with tablets, home security systems, dad checking the latest football scores on his cellphone, or your partner streaming The Walking Dead while you watch Schitt’s Creek in the other room.
The more devices and people using your internet, the more data and faster speeds you’ll need.
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap||Details|
|Viasat Unlimited Platinum 100||$150/mo.*||100 Mbps||300 GB||View Plan|
|HughesNet 50 GB||$149.99/mo.**||25 Mbps||50 GB||View Plan|
Data effective 11/30/20. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 3 months.
** Requires 24 month agreement.
Which Viasat plan is best for you?
Depending on how often you use the internet and what you do online, some of Viasat’s internet plans might be a better deal than others. Here’s what we generally think each Viasat plan is best for, and we’ve got a couple more recommended plans below.
- 12 Mbps: Good for one person who uses the internet to browse social media and send emails.
- 25–30 Mbps: Good for two to three people who browse the internet, occasionally stream videos, and play role-play games on the side. This speed can also support a home security system with no cameras.
- 50 Mbps: Good for three to four people who browse the internet, stream video, work from home, and/or game online. These speeds can also support a basic security system with no cameras.
- 100 Mbps: Good for up to five people who browse the internet, stream video, work from home, and/or game online. This speed is great for a home security system with cameras.
Viasat internet speed
Viasat offers up the fastest satellite internet speeds, making it our Editor’s Choice for rural internet.
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.
|Liberty 12||$30/mo.*||12 Mbps||View Plan|
|Liberty 25||$50/mo.*||12 Mbps||View Plan|
|Liberty 50||$75/mo.*||12 Mbps||View Plan|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||$50/mo.*||12 Mbps||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 12||$100/mo.*||12 Mbps||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 12||$150/mo.*||12 Mbps||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 25||$70/mo.*||25 Mbps||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 30||$100/mo.*||30 Mbps||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 50||$100/mo.*||50 Mbps||View Plan|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||$150/mo.*||100 Mbps||View Plan|
But even with those high-speed plans, Viasat’s still not a great option if you’re a gamer. Because satellite internet has high latency (measured in milliseconds, or ms), it doesn’t work well for gaming, video chats, or VPNs.
That’s just the unfortunate truth thanks to the way satellite internet works. It’s going to take time for your signal to travel to a satellite sitting 22,200 miles above your house.
On the bright side, you won’t notice latency as much for slower-speed internet activities, like scrolling through Instagram. Just don’t try to play Fortnite on your Viasat connection.
A Viasat customer that goes by the username aerosick noted that the fastest ping, or latency, they got with satellite internet was “just under 500 ms and the slowest was 750 ms.” To compare, aerosick says “a friend on a wired service is usually (sitting at) about 25 ms. No matter what my (upload and) download speeds are, I sit waiting on a connection.”1
Satellite internet isn’t known for amazing upload speeds either. In fact, all of Viasat’s plans cap out at a slow 3 Mbps upload speed. So if you hope to use your Viasat internet to upload large files or livestream, it’s going to be a painfully sluggish experience.
How fast is Viasat really?
In terms of actual speeds, the results don’t look good for Viasat—or any other satellite internet provider. Viasat ranked 37th out of 38 internet providers we analyzed in our latest list of the fastest ISPs. The only other satellite provider, HughesNet, ranked 36th.
These low rankings are likely due to how we weighted our scores. We take into account download speeds, upload speeds, and latency for each ISP. That leaves satellite internet at a huge disadvantage, since it has slow download and upload speeds, plus high latency when compared to DSL, cable, and fiber internet.
|Provider||Overall rank||Satellite and fixed wireless ISP rank|
|Viasat||37th out of 38 ISPs||5th out of 6 ISPs|
By comparison, HughesNet was 36th out of 38 ISPs overall in our analysis.6 But some of the differences in speeds between these two satellite ISPs could come down to the fact that some o f Viasat’s plans offer 12 Mbps speeds, while HughesNet offers only 25 Mbps plans.
Based on what we’ve heard and what we know about the technology, we think it’s best to temper your expectations when it comes to satellite internet speeds. And if your connection keeps sputtering out, try some of these tips to speed up your satellite internet before you hop on a call with customer service.
Viasat’s Liberty plans come with 12 to 50 GB of data. And some of its Unlimited plans recently got a data boost, so you’ll now get between 45 to 300 GB of “high-speed” data if you go with an Unlimited plan.
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap|
|Liberty 12||$30/mo.*||12 Mbps||12 GB|
|Liberty 25||$50/mo.*||12 Mbps||25 GB|
|Liberty 50||$75/mo.*||12 Mbps||50 GB|
If you use up all your data on a Liberty plan, you can buy more or suffer through the 1990s version of web browsing with download speeds of 1 to 5 Mbps.
With Viasat’s Unlimited plans, you technically get unlimited data, but that doesn’t mean you get unlimited high-speed data. Depending on which plan you have, you’ll get 45 to 300 GB of data that lets you connect to the internet at the download speed your plan advertises.
But if you go past your data threshold, your speeds could drop to 1 to 5 Mbps during times when there’s a lot of internet traffic.
If this all sounds a little complicated, we don’t blame you. That’s why we wrote up an entire guide to Viasat data limits that covers your data caps on Liberty and Unlimited plans, how to buy more Viasat data, and how much data you need each month.
|Plan||Price||Download speed||Data cap|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||$50/mo.*||12 Mbps||80 GB|
|Unlimited Silver 12||$100/mo.*||12 Mbps||45 GB|
|Unlimited Gold 12||$150/mo.*||12 Mbps||65 GB|
|Unlimited Silver 25||$70/mo.*||25 Mbps||120 GB|
|Unlimited Gold 30||$100/mo.*||30 Mbps||100 GB|
|Unlimited Gold 50||$100/mo.*||50 Mbps||200 GB|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||$150/mo.*||100 Mbps||300 GB|
How to monitor your Viasat data
If you want to save your data, you can do things to use less data, like stream in standard definition (SD) or use Viasat’s own web browser.
Contracts, equipment, and fees
Viasat’s pro installers do the work for you, so put away the ladder and duct tape.
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.3
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 $300 up front 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.4
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.
Viasat modem or gateway
You can use your own router with Viasat, or you can grab the ISP’s Wi-Fi gateway modem. The gateway acts as both a modem and a router, which is great for connecting multiple devices to the internet through Wi-Fi or with an Ethernet cable.
Viasat’s gateway also acts as a voice adapter. So if you have Viasat voice service, you don’t need an additional adapter connected to your phone. Decluttering? Marie Kondo would be proud.
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.
- Service calls: $95 if a technician needs to visit your home (unless you enroll in EasyCare)
- Dish relocation: $200 and must be at the same address
Viasat EasyCare program
If you want to pre-empt paying the $95 fee for a service visit, you might consider enrolling in the EasyCare program.
EasyCare costs $8.99 a month, and it offers these perks:
- Service calls: No $95 fee for any visits from a technician
- Priority customer support: You’ll get access to a special customer support phone number
- Satellite receiver relocation: Need to relocate your dish? You can move it once a year for $95 (normally it costs $200)
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 service providers as a whole have some work to do when it comes to taking care of us, the customer.
If you look up Viasat or even Exede internet reviews (since most of us still refer to it as “Exede”), you’ll notice that a lot of Viasat customers aren’t happy campers. Many complain they don’t get the speed they paid for, among other things.
Jeff from Dubuque, Iowa, got stuck with slow internet on game night. Needless to say, he was frustrated. “Tonight I am trying to watch some college football and I can not even connect to Hulu,” he said. “I ran an Internet speed test and it says I have 0.23 mbps download speeds. I have run it multiple times and the highest I got is 0.38 mbps.”2
If your Viasat internet is sputtering along too, there are a few things you can try to speed things up before you ring up customer service.
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 2020 rating||64 out of 100|
To put that in a bit of perspective, the lowest-scoring ISP earned 55 out of 100, and the highest-scoring ISP earned 73 out of 100. So that lands Viasat smack-dab in the middle.
How do you cancel your Viasat internet service?
To cancel your Viasat service, call the special customer service cancellation line at 1-855-463-9333 to tell them you want to cancel your service, return any leased equipment (TRIA and modem), and pay your early termination fee.
Speaking of your early termination fee, you might be in for a rude awakening here. Most Viasat contracts are two years long, and if you cancel before your contract is up, you’ll pay $15 for every month left on your contract. Yee-owch.
Summed up, here’s what you’ll need to do to cancel your Viasat service:
- Call Viasat customer service at 1-855-463-9333 and tell them you’d like to cancel.
- Return your leased modem, power cord, and the TRIA off your satellite dish outside within 30 days. (The TRIA looks like a small box that sits inside the dish.) You don’t need to return your satellite dish or the mounting brackets. If you don’t return your leased equipment within 30 days, you’ll be charged $150 for an unreturned modem and $150 for an unreturned TRIA. That’s a possible $300 whammy on your wallet.
- Pay your early termination fee if you canceled before your contract was up. This will cost you $15 for each month left on your service contract.
Is Viasat satellite internet worth it?
Compared to cable or even DSL internet, satellite internet speeds and data caps aren’t that good. But Viasat is likely worth it if you have no other choice and still want to hop online.
|Best for||Not recommended for|
|Anyone who can't get DSL, cable, or fiber internet||Large households|
|Those who use the internet for email and web browsing||Families who stream video, game, or use videoconferencing software (Zoom, etc.)|
|Anyone who can get DSL, cable, or fiber internet|
Yup, satellite internet connects you to the internet, but it still comes with quite a few limitations like slower download speeds and small data caps. And it’s more expensive than pretty much every other type of internet connection.
Even so, your Viasat download speeds are probably zippier than dial-up. So keep using those AOL CDs as DIY art installations.
Our picks: The best Viasat unlimited data plan
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 200 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. Still, that price is lower per Mbps than the other competing satellite provider, HughesNet. So if you’re stuck with no other internet options and you’re after fast download speeds (up to 100 Mbps) and larger data caps, Viasat is your best bet.
Viasat satellite internet deals
- Basic 12: $40/month,* 12 Mbps download speeds, 15 GB data cap
- Liberty 12: $30/month,* 12 Mbps download speeds, 12 GB data cap
- Liberty 25: $50/month,* 12 Mbps download speeds, 25 GB data cap
- Liberty 50: $75/month,* 12 Mbps download speeds, 50 GB data cap
- Unlimited Bronze 12: $50/month,* 12 Mbps download speeds, 80 GB data cap
- Unlimited Silver 12: $100/month,* 12 Mbps download speeds, 45 GB data cap
- Unlimited Gold 12: $150/month,* 12 Mbps download speeds, 65 GB data cap
- Unlimited Silver 25: $70/month,* 25 Mbps download speeds, 120 GB data cap
- Unlimited Gold 30: $100/month,* 30 Mbps download speeds, 100 GB data cap
- Unlimited Gold 50: $100/month,* 50 Mbps download speeds, 200 GB data cap
- Unlimited Platinum 100: $150/month,* 100 Mbps download speeds, 300 GB data cap
Data effective 11/30/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 3 months.
Q: Are Viasat, Exede, and WildBlue all the same company?
Yup, Viasat, Exede, and WildBlue are all the same satellite internet company. Here’s a quick summary of Viasat’s history, which includes more name changes than Prince or Snoop Dogg (okay, maybe not that many):
Viasat was founded in 1986, and in 2009 it bought WildBlue satellite internet. In 2012 Viasat launched satellite internet service under the name Exede. Fast forward to 2017 and Viasat decided to retire the nicknames “Exede” and “WildBlue” once and for all—now the company and all of its services are just called Viasat.
Q: Why is my Viasat internet slow?
More than likely, your satellite internet is chugging along slower than usual if you’ve gone over your data cap for the month. But problems with your satellite dish, cables, or modem could also be to blame.
That said, satellite internet isn’t known as the speediest internet connection on the block.
Even Viasat’s “unlimited” data plans come with a data cap. You’ll still get to browse the web, but your speeds will slow down to 5 or even 1 Mbps. That is slow. We cover Viasat’s data caps and slowed speeds in our guide to Viasat data.
If you’re still under your data cap for the month, you might want to update your modem’s and router’s firmware, then take a look outside at your cables and satellite dish. We’ll walk you through what to look for in our tips for speeding up your satellite internet.
Q: What if I have Viasat internet at a secondary home?
If you split your time between a summer home and a winter home, first off, lucky you! We’d have done anything to escape those nasty Midwest winters when we lived in Wisconsin . . .
Ahem, but if you have Viasat internet installed at a home that you live in only part of the year, you can opt for the Hibernation plan. You’ll need to be a Viasat customer using one of its eligible plans for at least one month before you can enroll, but after that it costs $9.99 a month to keep your Viasat service active while you’re away. Here are a few more details you should know:
- Costs $9.99 a month plus your monthly equipment fee and any other Viasat services.
- Suspend your service for 2–6 months, up to a total of 6 months in any 12-month period.
- Call Viasat at +1-855-463-9333 to switch your service into hibernation or wake it up from hibernation.
- Make sure you’ve finished up any tasks that require internet before you call! Viasat says your service turns off immediately after you hang up the phone.
- Your internet access is blocked while on the Hibernation plan, but if you have Viasat Voice service, you can continue to use it.
- Viasat Internet, “My Personal Review of Satellite Internet (SI)”
- Consumer Affairs, “Exede Satellite Internet”
- Viasat, “Exede Disclaimer”
- Viasat, “Lease Options Designed to Serve a Variety of Customers and Budgets”
- American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), “ACSI Telecommunications Report 2019–2020”
- Catherine McNally, Reviews.org, “Fastest Internet Providers 2020,” August 2020. Accessed August 25, 2020.