Satellite internet is a type of high-speed internet connection and offers internet access to people by using telecommunications satellite in the Earth’s orbit. It is beneficial in places where terrestrial internet connection is not available. It helps out in cases where DSL or cable connections are unavailable.
Besides having the dish, modem, and cables for setting up a satellite internet connection, you also require a satellite internet service provider. There are not many such service providers present in the market.
Recently, three of the five top service providers shut down their services, leaving only two nationwide names in the satellite internet world.
However, while choosing a service provider, users consider its pricing, availability, speed and data options.
Though people have not many choices still they can count on these features to select the one more suitable for them.
In this article, we shall discuss the best satellite internet service providers of 2018 and their features.
What are the best satellite internet service providers of 2018?
Initially, there were five big companies providing satellite internet connection. One of them called EarthLink discontinued its service off-late.
One named WildBlue was bought by another such company called Exede in 2009.
Another service called dishNet shut down their services too. Thus only two were left – HughesNet and Exede. However, Exede renamed itself as Viasat, and presently, the two providers are HughesNet and Viasat respectively.
Let us talk about them.
Earlier, HughesNet was slow and very expensive. But with the launch of a new satellite in 2017, its speed has increased as well as costing has decreased.
It thus began offering a rate of 25 Mbps in all of its packages.
The idea in HughesNet’s plans is that the speed offered remains the same in every package, but the amount of data limit varies with the price. Look at the table below to see what I mean.
DATA LIMIT (GB)
COST PER MONTH ($)
With the help of the Usage Meter app, you can calculate how much data you use on an average, and this app will notify you if you are going to run out of the limit. For more information, you can view this outline.
HughesNet does not charge extra if you exceed the amount of data usage allotted to you.
It merely slows down your speed to 1-3 Mbps, and it remains so until the commencement of the next billing cycle. You may buy data tokens to restore speeds to standard rates.
HughesNet also provides “Bonus Bytes” which is 50GB free data per month when used between 2 A.M to 8 A.M.
The time may not be very convenient for users, but you can utilize it to download or update large softwares which otherwise can drain all your data when done in the regular hours of the day.
HughesNet makes you sign a contract of 24-months. If you cancel after installing it and within the contract-time, you may be charged up to $400 depending on how long you have left on your contract.
The equipment cost for HughesNet including a satellite dish and wifi-enabled modem is nearly $450. You can also lease them at $15/month.
Installation can charge you about $99 though currently, HughesNet is offering free installation.
For customer service, HughesNet has a plan called “Express Repair” to help you recover some loss in service or equipment malfunctions.
The other significant service offering satellite internet is Viasat, formerly known as Exede. The speed and data limit vary from plan to plan in Viasat.
It can provide a speed of 12 Mbps to a speed of 100 Mbps, based on the package you select.
The Viasat plans claim to offer unlimited data, but in reality, it does have a data limit per plan. The following table illustrates this point.
DATA LIMIT (GB)
COST (per month)
COST (per month) after 3 months
Viasat slows down your speed too if you cross your monthly allowance but does not charge you extra. You can view types of usage causing you to exceed your data limit and how Viasat reacts to it.
Viasat is expensive, and its monthly costs astonishingly increase after first 3 months! However, a discount of $10/month is offered if you collab this service with its phone service Viasat Voice.
However, you cannot buy the required equipment. You may either lease it for $10/month or pay $300 upfront for the life of the equipment.
You have to return the equipment after canceling the service or else it will cost you extra charges.
Viasat has a 24-month contract. If you cancel before the contract finishes, you need to pay $15/month for the remaining months left on the deal.
Viasat-2, a new telecommunications satellite, was launched by Viasat in 2017 which offers a speed of 100 Mbps and provides service to more subscribers.
Which one is better between Viasat and HughesNet?
Viasat and HughesNet are the famous satellite internet providers worldwide. Both have some similarities and dissimilarities in their ways of providing services, packages, etc.
Let us see what they are.
HughesNet gives a speed of 25 Mbps in all its packages. It changes the data limit provision in the packages depending on the prices.
On the other hand, Viasat provides with a range of speed from 12 Mbps to 100 Mbps depending on the plan you select and price you afford!
Satellite internet is costly and that we have already stated earlier. Both these service providers are pricey, but HughesNet is comparatively less expensive than Viasat.
In Viasat, the package price increases after the first 3 months, unlike HughesNet.
Both Viasat and HughesNet have a 24-month contract, and if you cancel service before your contract’s completion, they will charge you extra money for that.
Both of them slow down the speed if you exceed the permitted data limit and does not cost more for that.
For HughesNet, you can buy the necessary equipment, but for Viasat, you can lease it at a cost and have to return it after you terminate receiving services from it.
Overall, both of them are steady in their respective position of offering services. Both of them are pricey. They differ in their packages.
If you want high speed and can afford to pay more for it, Viasat will be the better option for you.
However, if you are alright with a moderate rate of 25 Mbps and cannot afford to pay as high as Viasat, then HughesNet is the suitable choice for you.
There are very few satellite internet service providers available in the market today. Till very recently, there were five big companies, but it has dropped down to two for now. Either the others have been overtaken by some other company, or they have discontinued their services.
The two renowned names of satellite internet service providers are Viasat (earlier called Exede) and HughesNet. They are great competitors and offer feature-rich services.
Viasat has a range of speed from 12 Mbps to 100 Mbps at different prices whereas Hughesnet has a consistent rate of 25 Mbps with varying limits of data at various costs.
Viasat claims to offer unlimited data, but like HughesNet, it does have a data limitation.
They slow down speed if you cross the allowed limit and do not cost more for it. However, they have a 24-month contract which if you break, you end up paying more money to them.
If you wish for a high-speed connection and can pay more for it, go for Viasat. Or else, if you are comfortable with a moderate speed of 25 Mbps and prefer a lower price, choose HughesNet!