Viasat, formerly known as Exede, did not use to be our first choice of satellite internet provider. But within the last year, Viasat launched a new satellite, changed its name, and vastly improved its service offerings.
With that in mind, for our money, Viasat is the best satellite internet provider out there and a good choice if satellite internet is the best option in your neighborhood—especially if you live in a rural area.
Viasat prices and plans
Viasat’s prices are high compared to other types of internet. But compared to other satellite options, Viasat’s prices are the best value.
If you recently ditched the city for a more rural area, then Viasat’s prices probably look high to you. And they are. Compared to connection options like cable and DSL, satellite internet is pricey.
|Plan||Price||Price after 3 months||Download speed||Upload speed||Data guideline|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||$50/mo.||$70/mo.||12 Mbps||3 Mbps||40 GB|
|Unlimited Silver 12||$65/mo.||$95/mo.||12 Mbps||3 Mbps||60 GB|
|Unlimited Silver 25||$70/mo.||$100/mo.||25 Mbps||3 Mbps||60 GB|
|Unlimited Gold 12||$95/mo.||$145/mo.||12 Mbps||3 Mbps||100 GB|
|Unlimited Gold 30||$100/mo.||$150/mo.||30 Mbps||3 Mbps||100 GB|
|Unlimited Gold 50||$100/mo.||$150/mo.||50 Mbps||3 Mbps||100 GB|
*100 Mbps plan coming soon
**Pricing varies by location
That’s why we will almost never recommend satellite internet above other types of connections. We know it’s slow and expensive and sometimes delivers lower speeds than promised. But all that aside, satellite internet—especially Viasat—has come a long way in recent years.
Viasat now offers 50 Mbps speeds (and soon, 100 Mbps), so you can get a pretty fast connection for doing everyday internet things, like checking Facebook and sending photos to your friends. You can get higher speeds and more data from Viasat than from your only other satellite internet option, HughesNet.
Exact prices depend on where you live. You can enter your address here to see which plans are available in your area.
If you want the fastest speed, you will obviously end up paying more. And if you use the internet only to read posts on reddit and check your email, then you don’t need a super-high speed—a 25 Mbps plan will be fine..
But if everyone in your house wants to watch Netflix on their iPads at the same time, you need to invest in higher bandwidth.
Be aware of the three-month price hike
Viasat promises a two-year price-lock guarantee, but it does jack up your prices after your first three months of service. We don’t like when companies do this because it makes the introductory pricing misleading, and Viasat’s prices go up dramatically after those first three months.
That said, Viasat is still easier on your wallet than the satellite internet competition. There’s only one other satellite internet provider out there: HughesNet. Hughesnet charges more per megabit per second than Viasat—and you get lower speeds and lower data limits.
It’s not an ideal answer, but if you need internet in the country and satellite is your only choice, then Viasat is still your best option.
Viasat requires you to sign a 24-month contract. There’s currently no satellite internet provider who does not make everyone commit to two years of service.
Considering you have to lease Viasat equipment (and it’s a pain to return it), two years is not that long of a time to hold on to your service. Plus, you always need internet, and sometimes Viasat’s your best option.
Are there early termination fees?
Yes. If you cut out of your contract early, Viasat will charge you $15 per month for every month you had left. That could cost you over $300, so don’t sign on if you plan to sign off after six months.
If you cancel your service early, you also still have to return all that equipment you have installed. Viasat will send you a special box and instructions for returning your stuff, but it’s still bulky to put together and get in the mail.
Either way, whether you cancel early or finish out your contract, don’t forget to return your equipment within 30 days. If you don’t, you’ll be on the hook for $300. Yikes.
Viasat speeds have gotten much higher in the last year or so and are comparable to some cable and DSL plans.
Just like with pricing, what speeds you get with Viasat depend on where you live. Depending on your address, you can get anywhere from 12 Mbps to 50 Mbps. (We’ve heard 100 Mbps is coming soon in some areas.)
|Plan||Download speed||Upload speed||Details|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||12 Mbps||3 Mbps||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 12||12 Mbps||3 Mbps||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 25||25 Mbps||3 Mbps||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 12||12 Mbps||3 Mbps||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 30||30 Mbps||3 Mbps||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 50||50 Mbps||3 Mbps||View Plan|
Viasat used to offer only 12 Mbps no matter where you lived, so this is much better. But keep in mind that despite its new higher speeds, satellite internet never has been, and still is not, good for gaming, VPNs, or video chats.
The reason why doesn’t actually have much to do with speed—the problem is latency. No matter how many Mbps Viasat gives you, latency will always be higher with satellite internet than it is with cable or DSL.
The good news is, you shouldn’t notice latency much at all for regular internet activities like scrolling through Instagram. But don’t try to play World of Warcraft using your Viasat connection.
You also won’t be able to watch Netflix in 4K resolution with a satellite internet connection. Viasat will automatically adjust your video resolution to lower how much data you use. The exact resolution you get depends on your plan.
Viasat video quality:
- Bronze plans: 360p
- Silver plans: 480p (DVD quality)
- Gold plans: 720p (HD)
We recommend getting a silver plan for the best quality that uses the lowest amount of data.
How do Viasat data guidelines work?
All of Viasat’s service plans are technically unlimited. You can use as much data as you want. But it does give data guidelines, after which it might prioritize other customers above you—which is a nice way of saying it’ll throttle your speed.
Viasat data guidelines*
- 40 GB — $45–$70
- 60 GB — $65–$100
- 100 GB — $95–$150
*Pricing varies by location
Viasat doesn’t promise to throttle your speed, it just says it can. Which, to be honest, means it probably will.
Luckily for users, Viasat data guidelines are high by satellite internet standards. And if you want to save more data, you can do things like adjust your videos to lower resolutions and use Viasat’s own web browser, which helps lighten the data load.
Viasat installation and equipment
Viasat equipment consists of a satellite dish and a modem, which a third party will install for you.
For your internet connection to work, you need a satellite dish and a modem. Viasat requires professional installation for both these components, and it will probably be done by a technician from a third-party contractor.
Installation usually takes two to three hours, and exact arrival times can be unpredictable, so you should plan on just blocking off a whole day.
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.
Viasat equipment lease options
Viasat doesn’t let you buy equipment, so you have one of two lease options:
- Month-to-month lease
- Lifetime lease
The month-to-month lease is exactly what it sounds like: you pay a fee every month, no matter how long you have the equipment for. The lifetime lease is way more expensive, but you pay the fee only once and you’re done.
Month-to-month lease price: $9.99 per month
Lifetime lease price: $299
It would take 30 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’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.
Even if you choose the lifetime lease option, you still have to return your equipment if you ever cancel your service.
If you live in a rural area where satellite internet is your only real option, then Viasat is the best provider out there. To be fair, there are only two options. But for the cost, Viasat will give you better speeds and data allotments than the competition.
We recommend you choose a Silver plan to get better video quality and a decent amount of data before your speeds go down. If you want a better look at the competition, check out our Best Satellite Internet Providers article.
What has your experience been with satellite internet? Do you have Viasat service (or did you used to have Exede)? Let us know in the comments!