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Viasat (Formerly Exede) Satellite Internet Review 2023
We dug into Viasat prices, plans, speeds, and data caps to compare it to other rural internet providers like HughesNet. In the end, Viasat is our No. 1 satellite internet pick thanks to its fast speeds and large data caps.
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We recommend Viasat as the best high-speed satellite internet choice.
If cable and fiber internet are 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 quite a few plans to choose from (depending on where you live), and it has higher speeds that often ring in at a lower price than your other satellite internet choice, HughesNet.
That said, Viasat does come with a price hike after three months when 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 compared to DSL or cable
- Limited availability for some plans
Viasat internet plan prices are high, especially for the speeds they offer. But honestly, those prices aren't 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 or DSL speeds slower than 25 Mbps.)
Viasat internet prices and plans
Viasat (formerly Exede) has a ton of plans to choose from, and at first glance you may feel overwhelmed. But which plan you can get—and how much you end up paying—depends on where you live.
Some of Viasat's plans are available to a smaller portion of the US than its Unlimited plans. So, depending on where you call home, you might have only a few Viasat internet speeds to choose from.
But new customers will be able to snag Viasat's new Discover plans, which give you high-speed data from 100 GB to 1 TB. These are only available for a limited amount of time.
That said, here's a look at all the Viasat satellite internet plans to give you an idea of what's out there.
|Discovery 25 Mbps/100GB|| |
|35 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Discovery 50 Mbps/200GB|| |
|50 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Discovery 100 Mbps/400GB|| |
|100 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|Discovery 150 Unlimited|| |
|150 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
Installation fees, monthly equipment lease fees, and taxes may apply. After 100 GB of High-Speed Data usage, you still have unlimited access to Standard Data, which may result in slower speed.
Viasat internet prices after three months
No matter which plan you choose, you’ll want to watch out for Viasat’s three-month price hike.
For al 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.
But even with the surprise price hike, Viasat's prices are better than HughesNet's prices if you need more speed and data. HughesNet plans often cost more even though you get a slower speed (25 Mbps) than you would with Viasat (which goes up to 150 Mbps).
Price after three months
|Discovery 25 Mbps/100GB||$39.99/mo.*||$59.99/mo.||12 Mbps||Unlimited|
|Discovery 50 Mbps/200GB||$59.99/mo.*||$79.99/mo.||50 Mbps||Unlimited|
|Discovery 100 Mbps/400GB||$69.99/mo.*||$119.99/mo.||100 Mbps||Unlimited|
|Discovery 150 Unlimited||$109.99/mo.*||$159.99/mo.||150 Mbps||Unlimited|
* For the first 3 months.
But we still have to ding Viasat for this—it's one of the worst promotional price periods and worst price hikes we've seen from an internet provider. If not the worst.
Where is Viasat available?
Viasat satellite internet is available everywhere in the US—that includes all 50 states. Alaska, we're looking at you.
And while other ISPs tend to cluster their service around big cities, Viasat's satellites can reach rural and remote areas that may not have any other internet service to choose from.
But, like we mentioned, which Viasat plans are available to you depends on your location. The best way to check is to use our zip code search tool below or take a look on the Viasat site.
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 amount of Mbps 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.
- 100–150 Mbps: Good for up to five people who browse the internet, stream video, work from home, and/or game online. This speed can support a home security system with cameras.
Yes and no—your gaming experience with satellite internet depends on what kind of game you're playing.
If you're lining up a shot in a first-person shooter (FPS), the latency that comes with satellite internet might be the difference between landing the shot or missing and needing a res. Find out more in our guide to gaming on satellite internet.
How do Viasat internet prices compare to HughesNet prices?
Even with the surprise price hike, Viasat’s prices for the speeds and data you get are better than HughesNet (one of the main satellite internet competitors out there). HughesNet often charges more per megabit per second than Viasat does.
|Viasat Internet||$59.99–$159.99†||12–150 Mbps||35 GB–Unlimited||View Plans|
|HughesNet Internet||$49.99–$149.99‡||25 Mbps||15–100 GB||View Plans|
So unless you're set with HughesNet's low-data-cap plans, Viasat is often the better deal.
Take the most expensive plan for Viasat, Discovery 150 Unlimited, for example. It costs $10 more per month (to start out, at least) as HughesNet's most expensive plan, 100 GB. But it offers a lot more download speed and data.
|Discovery 150 Unlimited||$159.99/mo.*||150 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|100 GB||$149.99/mo.^||25 Mbps||100 GB||View Plans|
Let's also chat about internet speed for a moment. Sure, 25 Mbps is technically fast 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 Bachelor while you watch Family Guy reruns in the other room. Not to mention any smart gadgets you have hiding around the corner. (Shhh, don't say "Alexa" or you'll wake her up.)
Bottom line: The more devices and people using your internet, the more data and faster speeds you'll need.
Want to dig around and learn about other rural internet providers? Check out these reviews:
- HughesNet Satellite Internet Review
- Starlink Satellite Internet Review
- Viasat vs. HughesNet
- Best Rural Internet Providers
- Best Internet Providers
- Best DSL Internet Providers
View Viasat Internet Plans | Compare Satellite Internet Providers
Viasat internet speed
Viasat download speeds range from 12 Mbps all the way to 150 Mbps—what speed you get depends on where you live.
|Discovery 25 Mbps/100GB||$59.99/mo.*||35 Mbps||2 Mbps||View Plans|
|Discovery 50 Mbps/200GB||$79.99/mo.*||50 Mbps||3 Mbps||View Plans|
|Discovery 100 Mbps/400GB||$119.99/mo.*||100 Mbps||3 Mbps||View Plans|
|Discovery 150 Unlimited||$159.99/mo.*||150 Mbps||3 Mbps||View Plans|
But even with those high-speed plans, Viasat’s still not a great option for certain online activities like gaming, Zoom and video calls, or VPNs. That's because satellite internet has high latency (measured in milliseconds, or ms), which causes what most of us call lag.
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.
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.
On the bright side, you won’t notice latency or upload speeds as much for slower-speed internet activities, like scrolling through Instagram. Just don’t try to play Fortnite on your Viasat connection.
Typical latency for satellite internet is around 638 ms1 compared to an average of 24–42 ms with DSL internet.
Is Viasat satellite internet fast?
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 we analyzed, HughesNet, ranked 36th.
Just a note: 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.
Satellite and fixed wireless ISP rank
37th out of 38 ISPs
5th out of 6 ISPs
By comparison, HughesNet was 36th out of 38 ISPs overall in our analysis. But some of the differences in speeds between these two satellite ISPs could come down to the fact that some Viasat plans offer 12 Mbps speeds, while HughesNet offers only 25 Mbps plans.
Here's a look at how Viasat's speed scores compare to HughesNet, CenturyLink (a DSL provider), and NextLink Broadband (a fixed wireless provider).
Download speed range
28th out of 38 ISPs
20.2 out of 100
|NextLink Broadband||34th out of 38 ISPs||9.5 out of 100||10–100 Mbps|
|HughesNet||36th out of 38 ISPs||6.6 out of 100||25 Mbps|
|Viasat||37th out of 38 ISPs||5 out of 100||12–100 Mbps|
This table makes it pretty clear why we tend to recommend DSL over satellite if you can get it. But keep in mind that some DSL providers may not offer speeds as fast as CenturyLink—and might be slower than even satellite internet.
Bottom line: 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 plans come with 100 to 1 TB GB of high-speed data. That's definitely enough data for any type of internet user.
Let's take a deeper look at the Discovery Unlimited plans data caps.
|Discovery 25 Mbps/100GB||$39.99/mo.*||35 Mbps||Unlimited|
|Discovery 50 Mbps/200GB||$59.99/mo.*||50 Mbps||Unlimited|
|Discovery 100 Mbps/400GB||$69.99/mo.*||100 Mbps||Unlimited|
|Discovery 150 Unlimited||$109.99/mo.*||150 Mbps||Unlimited|
* For the first 3 months
If you use up all your data on a plan, you can buy more or suffer through the 1990s version of web browsing with download speeds of 1 to 5 Mbps.
Depending on which plan you have, you'll get 100 GB to 1 TB of data that lets you connect to the internet at (or near) the download speed your plan advertises.
Just make sure to choose the plan with the right data cap for you. If you go past your data threshold (which could be hard to do), your speeds could drop to 1 to 5 Mbps during times when there's a lot of internet traffic.
Even if you have a 4K TV, you probably won’t be able to stream shows in 4K resolution over a satellite internet connection. Viasat automatically adjusts video resolution to reduce the amount of data you use.
Find out more about how streaming on satellite internet works in our guide.
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.
You can also keep track of your data usage using Viasat’s app, which you can download in either the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.
Contracts, equipment, and fees
Viasat internet comes with a 2-year contract,3 unless you choose its no-contract option. But beware: To get rid of your Viasat contract, you'll need to fork over $500 up front.4 (That $500 is also not refundable.) Talk about a hit to the wallet.
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 half a grand 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.
As for the equipment price, that depends on whether you choose a monthly lease or a lifetime lease.
- Viasat equipment rental fee: $12.99/mo.
- Lifetime lease price: $299.99 one-time fee
By the way, it would take almost 24 months for the cost of the lifetime lease to make the one-time payment worth it.
But if you can afford the up-front cost, it might be worth it. Especially if you plan to keep your service for longer than two years.
Viasat modem or gateway
You can use your own router with Viasat, or you can grab the ISP's WiFi Gateway. 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.
Viasat satellite internet installation
Plan on the Viasat installation process taking two or three hours. The technician’s exact arrival time can be here or there, so we’d say just take that whole day off 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 in the right direction so it can communicate with the orbiting satellite. Once the technician finishes installing the dish and your modem, you’ll be good to go.
What’s internet without service fees? Here’s a quick look at what fees Viasat might have in store for you.
- Installation fee: $99.99, but if you’re a new Viasat customer, you should ask about free installation
- Late or unreturned equipment fee: $300.00
- Early termination fee: $15.00 per month for every month left on your contract
- Service call fee: $95.00 if a technician needs to visit your home (unless you enroll in EasyCare)
- Dish relocation fee: $200.00 and must be at the same address
Viasat EasyCare program
If you want to avoid 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)
Also, if you're a new Viasat customer, your first 90 days of EasyCare are free.
While Viasat's advertised 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.
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.
ACSI 2019–2020 rating
64 out of 100 ("All Others")
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.
If you look up Viasat or even Exede internet reviews (since some 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't 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.
Before you call customer service, check out our troubleshooting guide if your Viasat internet isn't working. Or try our tips for speeding up your satellite internet. If we can save you the time it takes to call and get help, we'll call it a job well done.
If you do need to get a hold of a Viasat service rep, take a peek at these customer service tips before you call. They might help keep you from pulling your hair out.
Here's how you can get a hold of Viasat customer service:
- Viasat customer service phone number: 1-833-242-1877
- Online chat
- Twitter: @ViasatInternet
- Facebook: @GetViasatInternet
How do you cancel your Viasat internet service?
To cancel your Viasat service, call customer service at 1-833-242-1877 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 1-833-242-1877 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 any good?
Viasat is our first choice of satellite internet providers thanks to its fast max speeds of 150 Mbps and large data caps. But that speed and data comes at a high price.
- Prices and plans: Viasat has a better price than HughesNet if you need more speed and more data. But if you're good with bare-minimum speeds and data, give HughesNet a good look.
- Speed: Viasat's max advertised speed of 150 Mbps is one of the fastest download speeds you can get from satellite internet. But whether you actually get those internet speeds is another story.
- Data caps: You'll get up to unlimited data per billing cycle with Viasat, but you can't add data to the Unlimited plans. Limited data plans, on the other hand, have smaller data caps but you can purchase data tokens for them.
- Contracts, equipment, and fees: The price to ditch Viasat's 2-year contract ($500) is a bit outrageous, and fees for installation, dish relocation, and even service calls can add up fast.
- Customer service: No ISP is known for excellent customer service, so take a deep breath before you call your Viasat rep.
We think Viasat is a good fit for the following types of people:
- Anyone who can't get DSL, cable, or fiber internet
- Those who use the internet mainly for email and web browsing
And on the other hand, here's who probably won't like Viasat:
- Anyone sharing internet with a lot of other people
- Families who stream lots of videos, game, or use video chat software like Zoom
- Anyone who can get a DSL plan with fast speeds—or cable or fiber internet
In the end, your Viasat download speeds are probably zippier than dial-up. So keep using those AOL CDs as DIY art installations.
Viasat internet plans recap
- Discovery 25 Mbps/100GB: $39.99/month,* Up to 35 Mbps download speeds, 100 GB data cap
- Discovery 50 Mbps/200GB: $59.99/month,* Up to 50 Mbps download speeds, 200 GB data cap
- Discovery 100 Mbps/400GB: $69.99/month,* Up to 100 Mbps download speeds, 400 GB data cap
- Discovery 150 Unlimited: $109.99/month,* Up to 150 Mbps download speeds, 1 TB data cap
Data effective 3/29/2022. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*Promotional price is for the first 3 months. Regular internet rate applies after 3 months.
**Promotional price is for the first 3 months. Regular internet rate applies after 3 months. one-time installation fee may apply. Equipment lease fee is $12.99/mo. Taxes apply. Minimum 24 month service term required.
Still have questions about Viasat satellite internet? Let's see if we can help.
Yes, Viasat and Exede are the same satellite internet company.
EarthLink satellite internet however is powered by Viasat, as well as AT&T, CenturyLink, and Frontier. Customers have the option to use EarthLink to get service from major internet service providers without having to deal directly with them.
As with any company name changes, it's a good idea to keep an eye on your monthly bills to make sure you're not double charged by your provider under both the new name and the old name. One Viasat customer noted they were charged for both WildBlue and Exede service back in the day. Yipes!
Viasat internet costs anywhere from $39.99 to $149.99 a month for your first three months, and after that it costs $70.00 to $200.00 per month. That doesn't include your equipment rental fee or any additional services.
Technically, yes, Viasat's Discovery Unlimited plans offer you 100GB–1 TB of high-speed data. You'll always have unlimited standard data, but your speeds will change if you go over the listed data "soft cap" is your internet speed.
How slow is Viasat after you reach your data cap?
Your internet speed will drop to 1–5 Mbps at all times if you go over your data cap.
No, you don't need a phone line for Viasat satellite internet service, even if you sign up for Viasat Voice phone service. That's because the Voice service uses voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology instead of a phone line.
That said, Viasat now offers a Flex plan that combines satellite internet with DSL internet—and DSL internet travels over phone lines. So to get Viasat Flex (and potentially better internet speeds), you'll need a phone line.
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.
Yes, satellite internet service like Viasat can be affected by bad weather since your network connection travels through the air. That means you might have connection issues if you've got a big thunderstorm, snowstorm, or even dust storm rolling through.
Even fog and humid weather can technically disrupt your satellite internet signal, but Viasat claims that light rain or dry snow shouldn't affect your service.
Yes, Viasat is good for streaming your favorite shows on Netflix. You'll just want to be aware of your monthly data cap—you can limit your data usage by streaming in standard definition (SD).
Still not sure about streaming Netflix with Viasat? We've got more helpful details on streaming with satellite internet.
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:
- Call Viasat at 1-833-242-1877 to switch your service into hibernation or wake it up from hibernation
- 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
- 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
Yes, you can absolutely cancel your Viasat service by calling 1-833-242-1877 and letting the customer service rep know you want to cancel. Just be aware that you'll need to return any leased equipment and potentially pay an early termination fee (ETF). The ETF is $15 for each month you have left on your 2-year contract.