Viasat (formerly Exede) is one of two major internet service providers providing satellite broadband but the only one promising download speeds up to 100 Mbps. The other is HughesNet. Viasat is looking to grow communications globally so that everyone and everything can be connected through their proprietary satellites in geostationary orbit.

They are building a global network that combines technologies from space systems and hybrid architectures to Wi-Fi, cyber, apps and mobile to make connectivity accessible and secure anywhere. Satellite broadband plans are available nationwide; however, the specifics of each plan may vary by location.

Viasat Satellite Internet Deals

Besides having the fastest satellite broadband plans, Viasat also has plans that suit all data needs. From the launch of ViaSat–2 in 2018, almost every plan will be accessible nationwide (or soon will be). There are primarily two tiers of plans: Limited priority data or unlimited data. The first tier, limited priority data, is based on having 12 GB, 25 GB or 50 GB per month data cap. With the coverage and speed of ViaSat–2, an unlimited data plan is now available.

However, because ViaSat–2 sits at 69.9° West, the location on the ground dictates what level of unlimited data plans are available. There are three tiers: bronze, silver, and gold. At the core, they are all similar (e.g. unlimited data) but they offer varying degrees of download speeds. Bronze and silver plans offer 12 Mbps and 25 Mbps download speeds, respectively. Gold then separates into multiple plans with different download speeds depending on location.

Do Viasat internet plans offer enough data for your needs?

From the rollout of Viasat’s newest satellite, the ViaSat–2, download speeds now range 12 Mbps to 100 Mbps across the United States. This also marked the first time a satellite internet company offered unlimited data. Unlimited data is not common, especially in the satellite internet community, because as the amount of data consumers use on the internet increases, more bandwidth is used at any given moment; however, there is only a finite amount of bandwidth available. Without limits, the network would be overloaded, and internet speed would significantly drop. Satellites are highly likely to be overloaded from a combination of heavy video usage and multiple consumers. The unlimited plan is a big win for Viasat as internet service providers typically have data usage caps.

Although all plans offered by Viasat come with the fastest satellite broadband speeds available, the difference in the plans is the data cap. Depending on the plan depends on what happens to the data allowance if it is exceeded.

Starting on the first day of a monthly billing period, all uploaded and downloaded data use is measured and counts towards the data allowance unless the plan has “Free Zones”. A Free Zone is a specified time during the night when the service is unmetered (e.g. 3 am). For all current plans, once the data allowance is exceeded, Viasat may restrict or slow data until the end of the current billing cycle based on network congestion. However, depending on the plan will change what happens once the data cap is exceeded. For example, an Evolution plan permits unlimited email and webpage access once the data cap is exceeded but everything else will be restricted. A Liberty Plan gives a Liberty pass to maintain 1 – 5 Mbps download speed once the data cap is exceeded.

The unlimited data plan does not have a data cap; however, once the data allowance is exceeded the data may be lowered in priority due to network congestion. There are small intricacies to understand for each plan; DSL, cable and satellite broadband all have specific terms and conditions that may impact the service due to data caps. It is important to understand the data caps and what to do if they are exceeded.

Viasat Early Termination Fee Overview:

When joining Viasat, a two-year contract is required. If you need to cancel before completion of the minimum service term or renewal service term, the termination fee is $15.00 multiplied by the number of months remaining on the contract. Cancellation at 10 months results in a fee of $210. At enrollment, a consumer can sign up for a no-long term contract service and pay a $300 upfront fee to cancel at any time. 30 days after disconnecting service the consumer must return the leased equipment to Viasat or a $300 bill will be due.

If the residence falls into the Recovery Act Program because at the time of installation there were no cable, DSL or fiber options in the vicinity, the consumer may cancel within 30 days with no penalties or termination fee if the leased equipment is returned. Canceling after the 30-day period than a termination fee equal to $20.00 multiplied by the number of months remaining on the contract.

Viasat Installation & Equipment Costs

For satellite broadband to operate properly a satellite dish, a modem and Wi-Fi router are needed. Viasat’s router comes with a built-in Wi-Fi router. After enrolling, a professional will install the satellite on the wall, roof or nearby pole and align this satellite to the correct satellite in a geostationary orbit. A geostationary orbit is when a satellite is orbiting the earth at the same speed the earth is rotating at resulting in it staying at the same spot. Viasat currently offers free standard installation for qualifying new customers (e.g. good credit and offered in a specific area) otherwise the installation will cost $99.99. The installation will typically take 2–3 hours depending on the specific configuration.

There is a $9.99 or $10.00 monthly lease on the equipment depending on the service plan purchased or $299.99 if prepaid for the life of the equipment. The break-even point is 30 months or 2.5 years.

If a plan is canceled, the equipment must be returned within 30-days since it was originally leased. Viasat does not give an option to buy equipment in order to facilitate upgrades for new technology or security seamlessly. As new satellites are launched, ViaSat–2 or soon to be ViaSat–3, the specific plan a consumer is enrolled in may change and/or new equipment might be needed. If a plan is upgraded and new equipment is needed the monthly lease may change by $0.01 shown in the table.

Viasat–2 Technology Overview

Viasat launched its newest commercial communications satellite, the ViaSat–2, in 2017 but it went operational in 2018. It enabled wider coverage and higher-capacity connectivity compared to ViaSat–1. Specifically, consumers in most locations are eligible for the new unlimited data plans and can have download speeds up to 100 Mbps. ViaSat–2 significantly increased speeds, reduced costs and expanded Viasat’s satellite broadband footprint. It enables reliable internet for airplanes and boats alike across the Atlantic Ocean.

Since satellites are unable to be fixed once they are in orbit, ViaSat–2 was designed to be incredibly robust and tolerant in an unforgiving environment. The average intended lifetime for commercial communication satellites is 15 years and the end of life is based on current functionality or remaining fuel. Multiple commands are uploaded to ViaSat–2 through constant monitoring and adjustment of its position, attitude, orientation to earth, and performance.

Is a Viasat Internet package the best choice for you?

The bottom line is that Viasat is developing a communications network to power high-quality fast connections to impact people’s lives. If looking for fast and reliable internet but the location does not offer DSL or cable internet than Viasat is the best option. Not only do they have the fastest satellite broadband speed of up to 100 Mbps but they have plans in all shapes and sizes to meet your budget and data needs.

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