Viasat vs. HughesNet in 2022

In today’s digital age, rural folks need access to the internet just as much as city dwellers and suburbanites do. Satellite internet uses Earth’s communication satellites to transmit internet to areas where typical internet infrastructure (cable, telephone lines or fiber-optic) isn’t suitable. America’s two satellite providers are Viasat and HughesNet, each with their respective pros and cons.

If you live somewhere where satellite internet is the only option or you’re considering switching from wire-based internet, by the end of this article we’ll answer this question – is Viasat or HughesNet better?

Viasat is a rural area internet

Table of Contents

  • Is Viasat or HughesNet Better?
  • Viasat vs. Hughes Net: Plans and Prices
  • Viasat vs. HughesNet: Data Caps
  • Viasat vs. HughesNet: Features
  • Viasat vs. HughesNet: Customer Service
  • The Final Verdict: Viasat vs. HughesNet
  • FAQ

Summary

With satellite internet, you get what you pay for. Viasat provides speeds up to 100 Mbps – lightning-quick for satellite – and 300 GB* of data a month. Those speeds and data allowances are more than enough to stream your favorite shows or browse the internet. HughesNet provides simpler pricing with a single advertised speed – 25 Mbps.

Viasat and HughesNet Overview

Without satellite internet, millions of people would be lacking internet access. Until SpaceX’s Starlink and Amazon’s Project Kuiper come online, Viasat and HughesNet are the sole two nationwide options for satellite internet service in the United States. Most other satellite ISPs (internet service providers) are defunct.

Viasat

Viasat is best for high-speed, high data use service.
Satellite internet with high speed is Viasat’s top priority. You’ll have to pay more but if you want a better internet, it’s certainly worth it.

Pros
  • Download speeds up to 100 Mbps
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Unlimited data plans
Cons
  • 3-month price hike
  • 2-year contract
  • Low streaming quality

HughesNet

HughesNet is best for a budget.
HughesNet’s lowest prices beat Viasat’s. However, its 25 Mbps speeds may not appeal to many in the streaming era.

Pros
  • Cheap prices for low-tier plans
  • Data add-ons don't expire
  • Non-confusing plans
Cons
  • Speeds of 1 Mbps to 3 Mbps after extended data cap
  • 2-year contract
  • Fastest download speed is 25 Mbps

Viasat will be a better option for those who really need extra speed and unlimited data. HughesNet provides a slow and steady 25 Mbps for a price that won’t break the bank.

Viasat vs. HughesNet Plans and Prices

Viasat and HughesNet both offer a wide array of plans so you can insure you’re getting the value that you want.

Viasat Promotional* Plans
PlanCostSpeedData Cap
CHOICE 25 MBPS/40 GB$49.99/mo25 Mbps80 GB
CHOICE 50 MBPS/60 GB$69.99/mo50 Mbps120 GB
CHOICE 75 MBPS/100 GB$99.99/mo. 75 Mbps 200 GB
CHOICE 100 MBPS/150 GB$149.99/mo100 Mbps 300 GB

The biggest takeaway from Viasat’s plans is that their speeds go up to 100 Mbps at their highest, which is a great speed for satellite internet. All of HughesNet’s plans are for 25 Mbps and their highest data cap (50 GB) is only one-sixth of Viasat’s highest (300 GB*.)

HughesNet Plans
Plan/Data CapCostSpeed
10 GB$59.99/mo. 25 Mbps
20 GB$69.99/mo. 25 Mbps
30 GB$99.99/mo. 25 Mbps
50 GB$150/mo. 25 Mbps

HughesNet’s plans are simple and without an overwhelming amount of fluff. Viasat, on the other hand, offers plenty of options, faster speeds and larger data allowances.

Viasat has a much broader spectrum of plans available for better value than HughesNet.

Viasat vs. HughesNet Data Caps

Even though both Viasat and HughesNet advertise unlimited data, it’s technically not. With both providers, once the stated limit is reached during times of network congestion.

Viasat

After a certain data threshold is exceeded under Viasat’s unlimited plans, your speeds can be reduced to benefit other customers. However, extra high-speed data is available to purchase.

HughesNet

If you exceed your monthly data plan, you will experience reduced speeds at 1-3 Mbps.

Viasat Data Caps
PlanData Cap
CHOICE 25 MBPS/40 GB80 GB
CHOICE 50 MBPS/60 GB120 GB
CHOICE 75 MBPS/100 GB200 GB
CHOICE 100 MBPS/150 GB300 GB

If you’re concerned about going over your data limit, go with Viasat. Their plans offer more data than HughesNet, making Viasat a no-brainer for high internet-usage families. Smaller families, couples or individuals who don’t use as much data can probably benefit from HughesNet’s less expensive options.

Viasat includes the option to purchase more high-speed data when you are running low. So for $9.99, customers can purchase 5 GB of high-speed data. For $14.99, they will receive 10 GB.

Viasat vs. HughesNet Features

Both Viasat and HughesNet provide notable features that come with their services.

Viasat Features

  • No charge with all required service calls with EasyCare
  • Availability across the U.S.
  • Fastest speeds in satellite internet
  • Extra high-speed data available

HughesNet Features

  • Affordable extra data
  • Bonus zones between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m.
  • Wi-Fi modem included with every plan
  • Gen5 Satellite technology

Viasat has faster speeds but HughesNet gives you the option to buy your equipment. Viasat and HughesNet both provide worthy features so this one can be considered a toss-up.

Viasat vs. HughesNet Customer Service

When it comes to customer satisfaction, both Viasat and HughesNet aren’t going to win any awards. They were both rated a 64 out of 100 by the American Customer Satisfaction Index in their 2019-2020 report, which is pretty standard for an internet service provider.

Expecting stellar service from an ISP is like expecting to win the lottery on every ticket you buy. Customer service is another toss-up.

The Final Verdict: Is Viasat or HughesNet Better?

So, is Viasat or HughesNet better? Viasat is definitely the superior satellite internet provider because of their fast speeds and data caps you receive for prices that aren’t too much higher than HughesNet. 100 Mbps speeds and hundreds of GB of data allow Viasat customers to immerse themselves in the digital space easily and quickly.

However, if you’re on a budget and don’t mind the slower speeds, or if you’re not much of an internet user but still want to stay connected, HughesNet could be better for you.

If you’re looking for fast satellite internet and it’s available in your area, Viasat is the way to go.

Frequently asked questions

Is satellite internet good for gaming?

Viasat's 100 Mbps speeds and large data caps allow for gaming, streaming and more. HughesNet's 25 Mbps speeds allow for gaming and streaming as well but speeds will be slower.

Is Viasat unlimited?

Viasat's not truly unlimited because your speeds are slowed once your data usage reaches a threshold. However, their high data caps should give you more than enough data to last the month.

How is satellite internet installed?

Your satellite provider will take care of the installation themselves or contract a third party. Depending on the provider, the installation can either be free or cost a fee.

Does satellite internet work in bad weather?

Modern satellites are built to withstand inclement weather, though especially strong storms can disrupt signals and, in extreme cases, damage the satellite equipment.

How does satellite internet work?

A satellite antenna on receives signals from a geostationary communications satellite orbiting the Earth. The signaling is completely wireless which means satellite internet is the only type of internet available worldwide as it doesn't rely on wire infrastructure.

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