It’s no surprise that many Americans living in rural areas lack reliable internet connectivity. Although there is considerable debate over the precise figures, a rising number of voices concur that the US needs to improve and extend its internet infrastructure. the positive news Through collaboration with internet service providers and the government’s Affordable Connectivity Program, the White House has been working to reduce the cost of our internet connections.
The only sort of broadband connection now accessible to residents of remote locations in all 50 states is satellite internet. It falls short of fibre or cable connections in terms of internet speed. However, satellite broadband may be quite useful in situations where internet connectivity is really necessary (and the epidemic has highlighted exactly how crucial it is). Which satellite internet service is the finest, though?
There aren’t a lot of options, to be honest. But when you start looking into satellite internet access, starting with a fast comparison of the top satellite internet service providers, this is what you’ll discover.
Satellite internet provider comparisons
|Max speeds||25Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||50-500Mbps download, 10-40Mbps upload||12-100Mbps download, 3Mbps upload|
|Lowest monthly cost||$45-$140||$110||$70-$300|
|Regular monthly rate||$65-$160||$110-$500||$100-$400|
|Contract||2 years||None||2 years|
|Monthly equipment costs||$15 or $450 one-time purchase||$599 one-time purchase (or $2,500 for Premium)||$13 or $299 one-time purchase|
Let’s dig a little deeper to see what each of the satellite internet providers brings to the table.
For its reliability in terms of download speed, HughesNet receives high marks. Although not as fast on the top end as competitors, HughesNet’s maximum download speed is available to all clients in all rural regions, unlike other satellite internet providers whose speeds may vary by location. Additionally, a Federal Communications Commission assessment on broadband in 2018 found that HughesNet performed best among all participating providers for actually delivering download speeds that were at least 150% faster than those claimed.
Things to think about Although HughesNet offers no strict data caps, if you use up your monthly data allotment, its speeds will drop to 1 to 3 megabits per second. In J.D. Power’s 2021 US Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study, HughesNet likewise performed poorly, finishing last overall in the South area. Read our evaluation of HughesNet.
HughesNet satellite internet plans and pricing
|HughesNet Gen5||HughesNet Gen5||HughesNet Gen5||HughesNet Gen5|
|Max speeds||25Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||25Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||25Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||25Mbps download, 3Mbps upload|
|Starting monthly cost||$45||$55||$90||$140|
|Regular monthly rate||$65||$75||$110||$160|
|Contract||2 years||2 years||2 years||2 years|
You may select the internet package that best suits your needs with Viasat satellite internet. Some of those internet service options are slower than what HughesNet offers, while others are quicker. Similar to HughesNet, packages also provide extra bandwidth (up to 300GB), however if you use more than your monthly data allotment, your data may be “deprioritized.”
When it comes to equipment, Viasat veered off course last year. Previously, Viasat prohibited the purchase of equipment. When you consider that Starlink devices are presently $599 and HughesNet equipment is $450 (including installation fees), that would have sounded like a windfall. However, it also meant that you were obligated to pay the extra $13 monthly equipment rental cost. However, you can now acquire Viasat equipment for $299, which is less than its competitors charge. Examine Viasat in our review.
Viasat satellite internet plans and pricing
|Unlimited Bronze 12||Unlimited Silver 25||Unlimited Gold 50||Unlimited Platinum 100||Unlimited Diamond 100|
|Max speeds||12Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||25Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||50Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||100Mbps download, 3Mbps upload||100Mbps download, 3Mbps upload|
|Starting monthly cost||$70||$100||$150||$200||$300|
|Regular monthly rate (after 3 months)||$100||$150||$200||$300||$400|
|Contract||2 years||2 years||2 years||2 years||2 years|
The eccentric entrepreneur Elon Musk is making some significant strides with his business SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband project when he isn’t making headlines as Time’s Person of the Year for 2021 or delaying a potential Twitter purchase. Even while this satellite service is still in its infancy, with just over 145,000 active customers and a waiting list, the initial findings, as provided by our own John Kim, are encouraging.
The maximum download speeds are higher than those provided by HughesNet and Viasat, at 250Mbps. Additionally, it has a delay between 20 and 40 milliseconds as opposed to HughesNet and Viasat’s more common range of 450 to 700 milliseconds.
Second, Starlink keeps things straightforward by just offering the Starlink and Starlink Premium satellite internet subscriptions. The recently announced Premium tier, which offers a separate satellite dish and technology for faster download speeds but also comes at a larger price, should be accessible this summer.
Finally, while HughesNet and Viasat charge harsher equipment fees than Starlink ($599) and Starlink Premium ($2,500), Starlink does not need a two-year commitment and offers really limitless access. These are rather significant increases for anyone using satellite internet, especially when you take into account the respectable upload speed. These details may alter as Starlink develops, but they are fascinating features of the pitch that may help it stand out from the competitors. Read about our first-hand Starlink experience.
Starlink satellite internet plans and pricing
|Plan||Max speeds||Starting monthly cost||Regular monthly rate||Contract||Data allowance|
|Starlink||250Mbps download, 20Mbps upload||$110||$110||None||Unlimited|
|Starlink Premium||500Mbps download, 40Mbps upload||$500||$500||None||Unlimited|
What’s on the horizon for best satellite internet providers?
As Starlink pushes on with its goals and seeks to broaden its coverage, keep an eye on TECHJAZZUP for the latest updates.
Starlink was by far the quickest satellite operator on average, according to Ookla speed test results from Q4 of 2021. Its median download speed in the US was just over 104Mbps, with Viasat coming in far behind at about 22Mbps. Viasat was shortly followed by HughesNet, which had a download speed slightly under 21 Mbps. It’s reasonable to say that Starlink is starting to alter perceptions about the capabilities of satellite internet.
It should be noted that Jeff Bezos, another multibillionaire, may cause more upheaval because Amazon’s Project Kuiper also intends to enter the market. Even while Project Kuiper hasn’t yet reached the same level as Starlink, its prototype did draw attention when it recently provided rates of up to 400 Mbps.
Low Earth orbit satellite innovations will be only one part of the solution for better providing internet access to the millions of homes that are still unable to locate a dependable broadband provider. This site will be updated when your alternatives (hopefully) get better.
Best satellite internet providers FAQs:
Is Starlink better than Viasat?
Yes, potentially. If you’re one of the roughly 145,000 people who already utilise Starlink’s internet service, you benefit from a broadband connection that offers faster upload and download speeds than Viasat (250 Mbps/20 Mbps vs. 100 Mbps/3 Mbps). In addition, Starlink has a lower latency than Viasat (20–50 ms vs. 450–700 ms), which makes it much easier to play online games and perform other tasks that call for quick responses on Starlink than on Viasat.
Nevertheless, more than 500,000 prospective consumers are still holding out to experience Starlink. A warning stating that “some orders may take 6 months or longer to fulfil” and that some regions of the nation won’t be operational until “late 2022” will greet you if you visit the website right away and attempt to join the waiting list. According to the FCC’s most current data, it is very unhelpful for the over 14 million Americans who still do not have access to internet service.
Therefore, Viasat succeeds since it is currently accessible to more than 120 million households in the US. Let’s say you live in a remote or underdeveloped location with limited possibilities for internet access. In such situation, Viasat can connect you, although Starlink is not an immediate fix but may be a possibility in the future.
Do all satellite internet providers have data caps?
In a strict sense, none of them do. Both HughesNet and Viasat advertise “unlimited data,” partly because neither company has overage costs, although each of their plans includes a specific data allotment. There won’t be any financial consequences if you exceed that data cap before the end of your monthly paying cycle, but your speeds will be significantly throttled for the rest of the month. Therefore, even if your data may not be limited, I still consider that technique to be restrictive.
Starlink, on the other hand, provides really limitless data. There is no predetermined data limit at which it must start to restrict or reduce your internet connection. Given that more Americans are working from home, it is a huge benefit.
Will Starlink be faster than HughesNet?
Yes. Customers may anticipate download rates between 50 and 250 Mbps, according to Starlink. In May of last year,TECHJAZZUP’s John Kim tested the service and observed typical download rates of about 78Mbps. This summer, Starlink is also planning to launch its Starlink Premium service, with anticipated internet rates of 150 to 500 Mbps.
Plans from HughesNet have a maximum download speed of 25Mbps and rely on satellites in a higher altitude than those used by Starlink, meaning data travels back and forth slightly more slowly. That is quicker than certain Viasat plans, but it cannot compete with Starlink.