Best Satellite Internet Providers: Viasat vs HughesNet vs Frontier & More

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1st
Viasat logo
2nd
HughesNet logo
3rd
Frontier logo small
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Are you among the millions of Americans who still don’t have access to digital or cable internet where you live? Feel like you’re stuck in the dark ages using a dial-up internet connection?

Luckily you might have another option — satellite internet. And depending on where you live, you could get a speedy internet connection. Learn more about your options in our review of the best satellite internet providers.

Article Overview

Why Consider Satellite Internet Service?

Many people who live in rural areas don’t have a lot of options for internet service. If you don’t have access to DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) or cable networks, then a satellite internet service is likely your best bet.

But satellite internet’s data limits, slower speeds (in larger cities) and prices are prohibitive for most people who have better internet access options.

What are your other rural internet options? Dial-up, which is much slower than satellite internet. Another benefit of satellite internet over dial-up (and even cable) is the fact that you don’t have to suffer through connection issues if phone or cable lines are down.

Best Satellite Internet Providers

We based our rankings on a number of factors, including data allowance per month, download and upload speeds, monthly service pricing, additional fees and coverage availability. All of the satellite internet service providers that we’ve reviewed require a minimum two-year contract.

Winner: Viasat Review (Formally Exede)

Visit Website | Call: 833-257-8396

Although Viasat is a bit pricier than our number two pick, HughesNet, they offer the fastest satellite internet speeds and among the largest amounts of anytime bandwidth. Speed and data limits are HUGE factors, in our book.

With Viasat, you also have the option to bundle with DIRECTV — another big plus (HughesNet doesn’t offer a tv bundle package). The downside? Viasat may not be available in your area at all, or their fastest speeds may not be available in your area. Be sure to check their website for coverage. If you have access to their top speeds and data, they’re worth it if that’s what you need.

Pros

Cons

  • Fastest download speeds (in some areas)
  • Unlimited bonus data with select plans (speed will be much slower)
  • DIRECTV bundle and voice bundle options
  • Average equipment leasing fees
  • Free standard installation
  • Competitive early termination fees
  • 24/7 customer support via phone, live chat, email
  • A+ BBB accredited
  • Coverage area not as broad as HughesNet

Pricing

Unlimited Bronze 12 Unlimited Silver 25 Unlimited Gold 50 Unlimited Platinum 100
Price Per Month For First 3 Months $50.00 $70.00 $100.00 $150.00
Price Per Month After 3 Months $70.00 $100.00 $150.00 $200.00
Download Speed Up to 12 Mbps Up to 25 Mbps Up to 50 Mbps Up to 100 Mbps
Upload Speed 3 Mbps 3 Mbps 3 Mbps 3 Mbps

Not all packages are available in all areas.

Runner-Up: HughesNet Review

Visit Website

HughesNet comes in a close second in our satellite internet reviews. A well-established satellite internet provider, HughesNet offers service in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and has a wider coverage area than its competitors. And their pricing is the most competitive for what you get.

Unlike its competitors, you have the option to purchase equipment for $399.98 or lease for $9.99 per month. Why didn’t HughesNet make our top spot? Their overall internet speeds and monthly data allowance doesn’t quite match Viasat.

And their early termination fees are hefty compared to Viasat. But if Viasat isn’t available in your area — or you don’t need top speeds and data usage, HughesNet is an excellent satellite internet option.

Pros

Cons

  • Competitive monthly pricing & more pricing tiers
  • Fast download speeds
  • SmartBrowsing feature allows you to continue emailing and browsing once you’ve exceeded your data limit (not available with lowest plan)
  • Free standard installation
  • 24/7 customer support via phone, live chat, email
  • A+ BBB accredited
  • Above average equipment leasing fees
  • No TV bundle options

Pricing

All pricing plans include 50 GB bandwidth Bonus Bytes per month (restricted to 2am-8am).

Single User or Couple Small Family Connected Household Whole Family
Pricing Per Month $59.99 $69.99 $99.99 $149.99
Download Speed 25 Mbps 25 Mbps 25 Mbps 25 Mbps
Upload Speed 3 Mbps 3 Mbps 3 Mbps 3 Mbps
Anytime Broadband Limit 10 GB 20 GB 30 GB 50 GB

3rd Place: Frontier Satellite Internet Review

Visit Website

Frontier is a quickly expanding communications provider, offering satellite and broadband internet service, as well as TV, voice and more. We were able to find some information about their satellite internet service on their website — but not enough to do a thorough review of them.

What did we find? Their lowest pricing tier begins at $27.99 per month, which gives you up to 6 Mbps download speeds. If you sign a two-year contract, you get free installation, but their early termination fee is steep at $400 plus a $9.99 disconnection order processing fee. Frontier has no data caps, but it isn’t available in all 50 states yet.

If you’re still on the fence, we suggest you call them at 1-855-275-2238. They also offer online chat for potential customers.

If you have Frontier, consider sharing key features and your experience with us so we can help other readers out.

Comparison Table

1st: Viasat 2nd: HughesNet 3rd: Frontier
Required Contract Length 24 months 24 months 24 months
Lowest Monthly Service Price $50.00 (3 months only) $59.99 $27.99
Highest Monthly Service Price $200.00 $149.99 $44.99
Activation Fee Need to get a quote Need to get a quote Need to get a quote
Equipment Leasing Fee $9.99 per month $14.99 per month Unknown
Installation Fee Free standard Free standard Unknown
Early Termination Fee $15 per month for remaining months $400 within first 90 days; after $15 less per month for months of active service $409.99
Download Speed 12-100 Mbps 25 Mbps 6-45 Mbps
Upload Speed 3 Mbps 3 Mbps Unknown
Anytime Bandwidth Limits Unknown 10-50 GB Unknown
Late-Night (Off-Peak) Bandwidth Unlimited (with select plans) 50 GB Unknown
Overage Data Available Checkmark Checkmark Unknown
Bundled TV Option Checkmark Checkmark
Bundled Voice Option Checkmark Checkmark Checkmark
Free Email Account Checkmark Checkmark
Check Data Usage Feature Checkmark Checkmark

How Does Satellite Internet Service Work?

Watch the video below for a quick demo to understand how satellite internet works.

What’s Your Best Bet With Satellite Internet?

If you have access to DSL or cable-based internet, we recommend choosing one of them over satellite internet. However, if you live in a remote area where you don’t have these options, then satellite internet is far superior to a dial-up connection.

Satellite internet will allow you to stream television content from services like Netflix and Hulu, so you can stay up to date on your favorite shows. You can completely cut the cord and drop your cable or satellite TV subscription and save money.

If you are getting fast internet, but the speed seems to be slow you might consider getting a good WiFi router and/or extender to help the wireless connection reach throughout your home (or if you plan to use outdoors).

About The Author:

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s graduate school for journalism and public relations, Sally began a long career researching and writing about hard-to-understand topics, such as insurance and finance.

Her additional experience in marketing, fundraising, public relations and financial planning at various foundations and nonprofit organizations over the years has given her the practical tools to inform consumers about making the smartest business and personal financial decisions. Her work has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, People, Forbes, Huffington Post, and more.

Speaking of smart living — growing up in the (at-the-time) per-capita murder capital of the U.S. (Richmond, VA) taught her a thing or two about the need for personal and home safety. Sally stays on top of all the latest gadgets and services to protect her and her teenage daughters from potential predators and thieves. And she brings this knowledge to every article she writes.

Disclaimer: This website contains reviews, opinions and information regarding products and services manufactured or provided by third parties. We are not responsible in any way for such products and services, and nothing contained here should be construed as a guarantee of the functionality, utility, safety or reliability of any product or services reviewed or discussed. Please follow the directions provided by the manufacturer or service provider when using any product or service reviewed or discussed on this website.

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