There aren’t a ton of satellite internet options 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 speeds than the competition.
Viasat internet prices and plans
Viasat is expensive, but that’s just how satellite internet goes.
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).
All that said, Viasat has come a long way in recent years. Viasat’s internet speeds—faster now than ever before—should suit you just fine, especially if all you need to do is check Facebook and send photos to your friends.
Viasat internet plans and prices
|Plan||Download speed||Price||Data cap||View plan|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||12 Mbps||$50/mo.*||40 GB||View Plans|
|Unlimited Silver 12||12 Mbps||$65/mo.*||60 GB||View Plans|
|Unlimited Gold 12||12 Mbps||$95/mo.*||100 GB||View Plans|
|Unlimited Bronze 25||25 Mbps||$50/mo.*||35 GB||View Plans|
|Unlimited Silver 25||25 Mbps||$70/mo.*||60 GB||View Plans|
|Unlimited Gold 30||30 Mbps||$100/mo.*||100 GB||View Plans|
|Unlimited Gold 50||50 Mbps||$100/mo.*||100 GB||View Plans|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||100 Mbps||$150/mo.*||150 GB||View Plans|
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.
How much speed do you need?
Watch out for the 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.
Viasat internet contracts
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.
Are there early termination fees?
If you sign a contract, then yes. If you cancel your contract early, then Viasat will charge you a serious chunk of cash. It’s $15 per month for every month you had left on your contract, which could end up costing over $300.2
If you cancel your service early, you also have to return all the equipment you have installed, which is, frankly, a pain in the rear.
If you do 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 internet speeds
Depending on where you live, Viasat has some impressive high-speed 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.
Viasat internet speeds
|Plan||Download speed||View plan|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||12 Mbps||View Plans|
|Unlimited Silver 12||12 Mbps||View Plans|
|Unlimited Gold 12||12 Mbps||View Plans|
|Unlimited Bronze 25||25 Mbps||View Plans|
|Unlimited Silver 25||25 Mbps||View Plans|
|Unlimited Gold 30||30 Mbps||View Plans|
|Unlimited Gold 50||50 Mbps||View Plans|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||100 Mbps||View Plans|
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.
Note about 4K videos
What is latency?
Latency is the time it takes for information to travel from point A to point B. Because satellite internet basically comes from outer space. (We know, science aficionados. . . most satellites aren’t technically in outer space. Just let us have this one.)
Your satellite internet connection has to jump across multiple devices to get you the information you want. There’s not only your laptop/phone/tablet, there’s also your satellite dish, your internet provider’s actual orbiting satellite, and a stationary satellite dish. All that travel takes a little extra time.
That’s why satellite internet doesn’t work for gaming: the data can’t move that fast across a satellite connection.
How do Viasat data guidelines work?
Viasat’s plans are technically unlimited, but that doesn’t mean they have unlimited high-speed data.
Just like your unlimited cell phone plan, Viasat gives you a certain amount of “priority data,” and after that, you’ll notice a significant slowdown.
Viasat internet data guidelines
|Plan||Data cap||View plan|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||40 GB||View Plans|
|Unlimited Silver 12||60 GB||View Plans|
|Unlimited Gold 12||100 GB||View Plans|
|Unlimited Bronze 25||35 GB||View Plans|
|Unlimited Silver 25||60 GB||View Plans|
|Unlimited Gold 30||100 GB||View Plans|
|Unlimited Gold 50||100 GB||View Plans|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||150 GB||View Plans|
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.
Viasat installation and equipment
Don’t worry about having to install complicated equipment—a professional will do it for you.
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.
Viasat equipment lease options
Viasat doesn’t let you buy equipment, so you have two lease options:
- Month-to-month lease
- Lifetime lease
With the month-to-month lease, you pay a fee every month for however long you have the equipment. The lifetime lease is way more expensive, but once you pay the full lease price, 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.3 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.
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).
Have you ever had satellite internet? Have you noticed any issues with latency? Have the speeds been high enough to fit your needs? Let us know in the comments!
- Viasat, “Exede Disclaimer”
- Viasat, “Viasat Internet FAQs”
- Viasat, “Lease Options Designed to Serve a Variety of Customers and Budgets”