Viasat vs. HughesNet Review 2019
Lucky for you (and everyone else who relies on satellite internet service), both of these providers have made some major improvements over the last few years.
We recommend Viasat if you’re going for the fastest possible speeds, but HughesNet might be able to save you some money (depending on where you live).
Viasat vs. HughesNet: Prices
Viasat’s prices may be higher than HughesNet’s, but you get more speed for your money.
First things first: the price you’ll pay with either Viasat or HughesNet totally depends on where you live. You might find fast plans in one area for a reasonable price and slow plans in another for the same amount of money.
Even Viasat’s best plans probably cost more than what you paid with your old cable or fiber internet provider. No surprises there—satellite internet is basically always more expensive than other types.
|Unlimited Bronze 12||$50/mo.*||12 Mbps||View Plan|
|Unlimited Bronze 25||$50/mo.*||25 Mbps||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 12||$65/mo.*||12 Mbps||View Plan|
|Unlimited Silver 25||$70/mo.*||25 Mbps||View Plan|
|Unlimited Gold 12||$95/mo.*||12 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|
Viasat also does a tricky little price change on its customers after the first three months of service. It locks you in with that sweet, sweet intro price, and then three months later, you’ll see a pretty dramatic increase on your bill.
We don’t appreciate the billing bait and switch, Viasat. We’ll give this one to HughesNet: it keeps its prices consistent for the length of your contract.
|10 GB||$59.99/mo.†||25 Mbps||View Plan|
|20 GB||$69.99/mo.†||25 Mbps||View Plan|
|30 GB||$99.99/mo.†||25 Mbps||View Plan|
|50 GB||$149.99/mo.†||25 Mbps||View Plan|
HughesNet’s across-the-board 25 Mbps speeds are more than enough for a small family to do a little internet surfing, gaming, and even video streaming. Plus, you skip that pesky three-month price increase you’d get with Viasat.
Don’t feel too set on HughesNet, though—we haven’t talked about Viasat’s speeds yet.
Viasat vs. HughesNet: Speed
Viasat’s speeds leave HughesNet in the dust—but they’re not available everywhere.
If this were a speed race, Viasat would be on its second lap before HughesNet had even rounded the bend. Viasat offers more plans at higher speeds than HughesNet, reaching an impressive 100 Mbps.
|Provider||Viasat Internet||HughesNet Internet|
|Download speeds||12–100 Mbps||25 Mbps|
We gotta be honest, though: satellite internet is the only place where 100 Mbps is impressive.
For comparison, some fiber and cable providers offer internet speeds up to ten times that (1,000 Mbps). And Viasat’s speeds will cost you. Its fastest plan puts you on the hook for $200 per month (after the three-month price hike).
HughesNet keeps things simple—all of its plans offer the same 25 Mbps speeds. If that’s all you need, then great.
But if you want to stream the next season of The Great British Baking Show, torrent some files, and upload iCloud photos—all while your partner watches Avengers in the next room—then you might need something a bit faster.
Viasat vs. HughesNet: Data caps
Both HughesNet and Viasat have unlimited data plans, but that doesn’t mean high-speed data. Both these guys also have soft data caps (sometimes called high-speed data allotments or data guidelines).
Whatever you want to call it, it basically means that if you go over a certain amount of data per month, then your speeds will be reduced for the rest of your billing cycle.
|Provider||HughesNet Internet||Viasat Internet|
|Data cap||10–50 GB||35–150 GB|
Because Viasat offers higher high-speed data allotments on some of its plans, you might actually pay less per gigabyte (GB) with a Viasat plan than you would for HughesNet.
Viasat vs. HughesNet: Customer service
Both Viasat and HughesNet have room for major improvements on the customer experience front.
It’s no secret that internet providers have a lot to work on when it comes to customer service. And both Viasat and HughesNet are no exception.
While both ISPs were lumped into the “All Others” category of the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report,1 you only need to turn to the internet to find dozens of customer complaints for Viasat and HughesNet.
|Viasat and HughesNet (“All Others”)|
|ACSI 2019 rating||64 out of 100|
Recap: Viasat vs. HughesNet
If satellite is your only option, choose Viasat for faster speeds and HughesNet for lower prices.
Both Viasat and HughesNet have made some major improvements to speed and reliability in the last few years. Satellite internet is still not our favorite type, but it’s not quite the slogfest it used to be.
- Pricing: Tie. Viasat’s prices are generally higher (depending on where you live), and we hate its three-month price hike. On the plus side, Viasat will generally cost you less per Mbps per month than HughesNet. But points to HughesNet for consistent pricing across your whole contract.
- Speed: Viasat. Viasat offers faster speeds (again, depending on where you live) up to 100 Mbps. HughesNet’s speeds are the same 25 Mbps for all its plans. Womp womp.
- Customer service: Tie. Both companies have some serious work to do when it comes to customer service, just like every other ISP.
Now that you've compared HughesNet vs. Viasat, here are your next steps:
Do you have satellite internet now? Have you had it in the past? Did you go with Viasat or HughesNet? Let us know about your experience in the comments.
- American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), “ACSI Telecommunications Report 2018–2019”