If you’re currently trying to figure out which satellite internet company is the best for you, look no further. We’ve conducted research on the two most popular providers to determine who will give you the most value for your money.

Best Value Overall: Viasat When trying to figure out the best choice for satellite internet providers, Viasat seems to be the clear choice. They offer plans with higher data caps and faster download speeds. A recent update to the technology they use to provide your service has made it possible for them to provide a variety of speeds for customers with various needs.

Why are there only two major satellite internet providers in the US?

As of now, there are only two major satellite internet providers in the US: Viasat and HughesNet. There used to be five companies that you could choose from (HughesNet, Exede, WildBlue, dishNET, and EarthLink), but three of the companies have either gone out of business or been bought by other companies:

  • dishNET was owned by the satellite TV company DISH, but they decided to stop offering internet services.
  • EarthLink still offers internet services but not satellite internet.
  • Exede became Viasat.
  • Viasat bought WildBlue.

The choice used to be pretty clear cut with most people choosing HughesNet for their services, but Viasat has recently improved their services, policies, and technology to the point that they are now taking the lead in the industry from a few standpoints.

Most Affordable Satellite Internet Service: Viasat (Exede)

Both HughesNet and Viasat have plans that start around $50 a month. However, if you look at the data caps, Viasat is the cheapest service per GB. Let’s take a look:

Best HughesNet Satellite Internet plans

HughesNet Gen5 offers four different internet plans:

  • 10 GB - $49.99/month for 12 months
  • 20 GB - $59.99/month for 12 months
  • 30 GB - $89.99/month for 12 months
  • 50 GB - $139.99/month for 12 months

Best Viasat Satellite Internet plans

Viasat offers the following internet plans:

  • 40 GB - $50-$70 per month
  • 60 GB - $70-$100 per month
  • 100 GB - $100-$150 per month
  • 150 GB - $150-$200 per month

Looking at the options that are available, you can see that plans start around the same price, but you’ll get a much higher data cap through Viasat, so even if you don’t think you’ll use that much data, you may still want to consider choosing one of their plans, so you’ll be on the safe side.

However, you also have to consider how each company’s contract works. HughesNet will give you their lowest data plan for $49.99 a month for 12 months (totaling $599.88 for a year) and then your price will increase for the next year. Viasat, on the other hand, will start you on their lowest plan for $50 a month for 3 months and then increase your monthly payment to $70 (totaling $780 for a year). But you’ll get 3–4x the amount of data each month with Viasat than with HughesNet.

So, again, when you first sign up for either service, you may end up paying the same amount per month, but Viasat offers better prices per GB.

See our pages on Viasat internet deals and HughesNet internet deals for more information.

Best Satellite Internet Provider For Techies And Gamers: Viasat

Unfortunately, satellite internet is not the best way to go for gaming or other activities that require faster connections. Speeds aren’t so much the issue as latency is. Latency is the time it takes for your internet connection to reach your home from the satellite, as well as any other reaction times between your actions and the time it takes for your computer or internet connection to react.

However, Viasat does have faster speeds compared to HughesNet, so if you live in a rural area, and satellite internet is your only option, Viasat is the company you’ll want to choose for gaming and other activities where you’ll need faster download speeds and higher data caps.

HughesNet plans offer speeds that all start at 25 Mbps, but Viasat has plans that range in speed. Their lowest option is 12 Mbps, but you can also choose plans that have 25, 50, or 100 Mbps. These higher speeds are definitely fast enough to handle gaming or streaming, but you’ll need to keep in mind the latency we talked about earlier.

Most Flexible Data Caps: HughesNet

HughesNet and Viasat both have similar data cap policies. Neither companies will shut your service off or charge more for going over your data limit, but you are likely to experience slower speeds, which can limit the activities you can use your service for but won’t limit you completely.

With that being said, HughesNet does offer more choices for “extending” your data caps. Every month, you’ll receive 50 extra GB of data on top of your data limit. Here’s the catch: those 50 extra GB have to be used between 2am and 8 am, so if you have any big files to download, it’s useful to try to time them for those hours.

Plus, if you do happen to hit your data limit for the month, HughesNet makes it possible to purchase more data if you don’t want to deal with the slower speeds.

HughesNet Data tokens costs

  • $9 for 3 GB
  • $15 for 5 GB
  • $30 for 10 GB
  • $75 for 25 GB

Overall, if you’re okay with paying more per GB, HughesNet gives you more chances to get out of the data cap speed decreases if you happen to hit your data limit. (Keep in mind though that Viasat offers plans for the same price but higher data limits, so you’re less likely to need the options that HughesNet offers, because you’re less likely to hit your data limits.)

Conclusion: Best Satellite Internet Service Provided by Viasat in 2019

Satellite internet is a good choice for people who live in rural areas and don’t have many options for other internet service providers. If you’re looking for the best deals moneywise, Viasat is the company to choose as they’ll give you options for plans with 3–4x the amount of data as HughesNet plans for the same price. Viasat is also the best choice for people who are into gaming and other activities such as streaming, as most of their plans offer higher download speeds.

However, if you’re okay with paying more per GB, you may want to consider HughesNet because of your ability to get around the data caps if you happen to hit your monthly limits.