Viasat Satellite Internet Review

We dug into Viasat prices, plans, speeds, and data caps to compare it to other rural internet providers

Recommended Plans
Viasat
Viasat
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
  • pro
    Multiple speed options
  • pro
    Lower price per Mbps per month than competitors
  • con
    Three-month price hike on most plans
Catherine McNally
Apr 02, 2024
Icon Time To Read11 min read

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 other satellite internet providers.

That said, beware of Viasat's plans that 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.

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Viasat internet prices and plans

Viasat’s price for the speed you get makes it our top choice for satellite internet

Viasat has a few plans to choose from, but we'll break it down for you. Viasat's plans can be sorted into two categories: price hikes or no price hikes. And there's only one plan without price hikes, the Viasat Unleashed plan.

But whichever plan you can get—and how much you end up paying—depends on where you live. 

That said, here's a look at all the Viasat satellite internet plans to give you an idea of what's out there.

Viasat satellite internet prices
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
Viasat Unleashed
$99.99/mo.
*
Up to 150 MbpsUnlimited
Unlimited Bronze 12
$69.99/mo. for 3 mo
12 MbpsUnlimited
Unlimited Silver 12
$99.99/mo. for 3 mo.
12 MbpsUnlimited
Unlimited Gold 12
$149.99/mo. for 3 mo.
12 MbpsUnlimited
* Prices, speeds and availability vary by location. Prices are subject to change. No annual contract or installation fees are required. Monthly equipment lease fees and taxes may apply.
Offer available to new qualifying customers. One-time standard installation fee may be due at checkout. Minimum 24-month service term required. Equipment lease fee is $14.99/mo. Taxes apply. Speeds are “up to,” will vary and are not guaranteed. Service is not available in all areas. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time.

Viasat Unleashed is more available than the Bronze, Silver, and Gold plans, which are mostly available to Colorado residents. Thankfully, Unleashed is a better deal anyway.

Viasat internet promotional prices spike after three months

Unless you choose the Viasat Unleashed plan, you’ll want to watch out for Viasat’s three-month price hike. After your payment spikes, it locks in for the rest of your two-year contract, but that initial jump is a pain in the wallet.

That's why we recommend the Viasat Unleashed plan. Not only will you avoid three-month price hikes, but you'll also dodge a contract and early termination fees. Plus, you get 150Mbps in download speed instead of 12Mbps speeds.

While all plans technically offer unlimited data, not every plan offers the same amount of high-speed data. With Viasat Unleashed, we're pretty sure most users won't have to ever think about hitting that soft cap. Your Unleashed high-speed data cap is 850GB, compared to the 60–100GB you get from other plans. 

Best value plan
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
pro No price hikes
pro No contracts
pro 850GB data cap
Starts at
$99.99/mo.

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.

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Find out which Viasat satellite internet plans are available in your area.

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.
Can you really game on satellite internet?
Info Box

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 three-month price hikes, Viasat’s prices for the speeds and data you get are better than Hughesnet's (one of the main satellite internet competitors out there). Hughesnet charges more per megabit per second than Viasat does.

While both providers technically offer unlimited internet, each service has a cap on high-speed data. After you hit those caps, your speeds crawl to 1–5 Mbps. Viasat's high-speed data cap maxes out at 850GB, while Hughesnet's maxes out at only 200GB.

Viasat internet plans and pricing comparison
Provider
Monthly price
Download speeds
Data cap
Learn more
Viasat Internet$69.99-$299.9912-100 MbpsUnlimited
HughesNet Internet$49.99-$79.99^50–100 MbpsUnlimited
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Offer available to new qualifying customers. One-time standard installation fee may be due at checkout. Minimum 24-month service term required. Equipment lease fee is $12.99/mo. Taxes apply. Service is not available in all areas. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time.
^ Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Pricing not available in all areas.

If you're only interested in the cheapest, entry-level internet package, HughesNet gives you faster speeds and more data. But is 50Mbps enough? 

Let's compare Viasat's Unleashed plan and Hughesnet's Select 100GB plan. Viasat offers less download speed, but Select is $40/month cheaper.

Viasat Unleashed plan vs. HughesNet Select 100 GB plan
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
High-speed data cap
Details
Viasat Unleashed$99.99/mo.*Up to 150 MbpsUnlimited60 GB
Select$49.99/mo for 12 mo.°Up to 50 MbpsUnlimited100 GB
* Prices, speeds and availability vary by location. Prices are subject to change. No annual contract or installation fees are required. Monthly equipment lease fees and taxes may apply.
° Offer for 12 months. Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Equipment Lease or Purchase fees extra. Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Equipment Lease or Purchase fees extra.

Let's also chat about internet speed for a moment. Sure, 50 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.

And if you're not sure how much speed you'll need, check out our internet speed guide for help pinpointing just how much download speed you need.

Now, let's compare plans with more download speed: Viasat Unleashed versus HughesNet Fusion.

Viasat Unleashed plan vs. HughesNet Fusion plan
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
High-speed data cap
Details
Viasat Unleashed$99.99/mo.*Up to 150 MbpsUnlimited850 GB
Fusion$94.99/mo for 12 mo.°Up to 100 MbpsUnlimited200 GB
* Prices, speeds and availability vary by location. Prices are subject to change. No annual contract or installation fees are required. Monthly equipment lease fees and taxes may apply.
° Offer for 12 months. Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Equipment Lease or Purchase fees extra. Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Equipment Lease or Purchase fees extra.

Once you start comparing Viasat's and HughesNet's higher-tiered plans, Viasat becomes the clear winner. Especially when you consider HughesNet's 12-month price hike. After your first year in your contract, HughesNet's Fusion plan jumps by $25 a month.

In the long run, Viasat Unleashed will save you more money while also giving you more data and download speeds.

Viasat internet speed

Viasat offers some of the fastest satellite internet speeds, up to 150 Mbps

Viasat download speeds range from 12Mbps all the way to 150Mbps—what speed you get depends on where you live.

Viasat download speeds and upload speeds
Plan
Price
Download speed
Upload speed
Data cap
Viasat Unleashed
$99.99/mo.
*
Up to 150 Mbps3 MbpsUnlimited
Unlimited Bronze 12
$69.99/mo. for 3 mo
12 Mbps3 MbpsUnlimited
Unlimited Silver 12
$99.99/mo. for 3 mo.
12 Mbps3 MbpsUnlimited
Unlimited Gold 12
$149.99/mo. for 3 mo.
12 Mbps3 MbpsUnlimited
* Prices, speeds and availability vary by location. Prices are subject to change. No annual contract or installation fees are required. Monthly equipment lease fees and taxes may apply.
Offer available to new qualifying customers. One-time standard installation fee may be due at checkout. Minimum 24-month service term required. Equipment lease fee is $14.99/mo. Taxes apply. Speeds are “up to,” will vary and are not guaranteed. Service is not available in all areas. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time.

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.

Just how much latency does Viasat have?
Heads Up

Typical latency for satellite internet is around 638 ms1 compared to an average of 24–42 ms with DSL internet.

Data caps

Viasat’s plans come with unlimited standard data and 100 to 850GB of priority data. That's definitely enough data for any type of internet user.

Let's take a deeper look at Viasat's internet plans data caps.

Viasat internet data caps
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
High-speed data cap
Details
Viasat Unleashed$99.99/mo.*Up to 150 MbpsUnlimited850 GB
Unlimited Bronze 12$69.99/mo. for 3 mo12 MbpsUnlimited35GB, 40GB, or 80GB
Unlimited Silver 12$99.99/mo. for 3 mo.12 MbpsUnlimited45GB
Unlimited Gold 12$149.99/mo. for 3 mo.12 MbpsUnlimited65GB
* Prices, speeds and availability vary by location. Prices are subject to change. No annual contract or installation fees are required. Monthly equipment lease fees and taxes may apply.
Offer available to new qualifying customers. One-time standard installation fee may be due at checkout. Minimum 24-month service term required. Equipment lease fee is $14.99/mo. Taxes apply. Speeds are “up to,” will vary and are not guaranteed. Service is not available in all areas. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time.

If you use up all your priority data on a Bronze, Silver, or Gold plan, you can buy more or suffer through the 1990s version of web browsing with download speeds of 1 to 5Mbps. (Viasat Unleashed isn't eligible for add-on data, but with 850GB, we don't think you'll need it.)

Depending on your plan, you'll get 35 to 850GB 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 of high internet traffic. 

Can you stream 4K videos with Viasat?
Info Box

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

Apart from Unleashed, Viasat plans require a 24-month contract

Let’s dig in to Viasat contracts, equipment, and fees.

Contracts

Viasat Internet comes with a two-year contract unless you choose its Viasat Unleashed plan.

If you choose a 24-month plan, you'll need to fork over $500 upfront to get rid of your Viasat contract. (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 or Viasat Unleashed isn't available in your area, 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.

Equipment

Your Viasat internet uses a satellite dish and a modem. A professional technician has to install both of 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, no matter which plan you choose.

  • Viasat equipment rental fee: $15.00/mo.
  • Lifetime lease price: $250.00 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.

Service fees

What’s internet without service fees? Here’s a quick look at what fees Viasat might have in store for you.

  • Installation fee: $0–$300 (determined at the point of sale) but if you’re a new Viasat customer, you should ask about free installation
  • Late or unreturned equipment fee: $50–$250
  • 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 ($95 with EasyCare) and must be at the same address

Viasat EasyCare program

You might consider enrolling in the EasyCare program if you want to avoid paying the $95 fee for a service visit or $200 for dish relocation.

EasyCare costs $9.99 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.

Customer service

Need to reach Viasat customer service? Call 1-833-242-1877

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.

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.

Need help with your Viasat internet?
Pin

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:

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:

  1. Call Viasat customer service at 1-833-242-1877 and tell them you'd like to cancel.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Recap: How does Viasat stack up?

Viasat is our first choice of satellite internet providers, thanks to its new Unleashed plan with fast max speeds of 150 Mbps and a large data cap of 850GB. But that speed and data come at a relatively high price.

  • Prices and plans: Viasat offers more speed and data than some competitors.
  • Speed: Viasat's max advertised speed of 150Mbps 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. However, unless you get Viasat's Unleashed plan with 850GB of priority data, you might run into slower speeds if you hit that soft data cap or high internet traffic.
  • Contracts, equipment, and fees: Choose Viasat's Unleashed package to avoid contracts. Otherwise, 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.

What makes this article legit?

There are only a handful of satellite internet providers that we recommend, including Viasat.

When comparing these providers, we consider:

  • Service value (price versus speed and data)
  • Availability
  • Equipment cost
  • Contracts, equipment, and fees

Viasat probably has a better value than its competitors Hughesnet and Starlink. It has more data than Hughesnet and lower prices than Starlink.

Viasat FAQ

Still have questions about Viasat satellite internet? Let's see if we can help.

Viasat's Unleashed package costs $99.99–$119.99 a month. This plan doesn't have promotional pricing (no price hikes) or a contract.

Other Viasat internet plans cost anywhere from $69.99 to $249.99 a month for your first three months, and after that, it costs $99.99 to $299.99 per month. That doesn't include your equipment rental fee or any additional services.

 

Technically, yes, Viasat's plans offer you 100GB–850GB 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.

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.

Catherine McNally
Written by
Catherine McNally
Catherine has a degree in journalism and an MBA, and has spent the last 10+ years writing everything from Okinawa travel guides to stories on Medium. She’s been online since AOL CDs were a thing and is an unapologetic PC gamer. She believes the internet is a necessity, not a luxury, and writes reviews and guides to help everyone stay connected. You can also find her on Twitter: @CMReviewsIt.

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