The best satellite internet providers of 2023

Enter your zip code to find the best satellite internet providers in your area.

Best for affordable plans
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet

Best cheapest satellite alternative


Best for faster speeds and more data


Best potential (limited availability)

Cara Haynes
Oct 25, 2023
bullet21 min read
Published on October 25, 2023

What are the best satellite internet providers?

  • HughesNet—best for affordable plans
  • Viasat—best for fast satellite speeds 
  • Starlink—best for unlimited high-speed data 

There are about six major satellite internet providers, but HughesNet, Starlink, and Viasat are the best satellite internet providers. Satellite internet is a good option if you live in a rural area where cable, fiber, or DSL internet providers aren't available. The best satellite internet services offer up to 300 Mbps download speeds, and you can get unlimited data from all three internet service provider, although all three throttle speeds if you exceed your plan's data cap.

Internet from satellite providers is more expensive and usually comes with a smaller data cap than cable and fiber options you'll find in cities. Satellite internet high-speed data caps range from 15 GB to unlimited, the former from HughesNet's cheapest plan and the latter from Starlink's residential internet plan. No one likes data caps, even if you get unlimited standard (or slower) data, but satellite internet service is available nationwide, which makes it a popular option in rural areas.

So if you're looking to get Wi-Fi in a remote area, first examine the pros and cons of satellite internet. Then, we'll show you how to pick the best satellite internet for you.

Enter you zip code to find the best internet providers near you.

Compare the best satellite internet providers

Our Rating
4.1 out of 5 stars
• $49.99–$149.99/mo.*
• 15–50Mbps
• 15–200GB/mo.
Our Rating
4.2 out of 5 stars
• $69.99–$299.99/mo.**
• 25–200Mbps
• 60–500GB/mo.
Our Rating
3.7 out of 5 stars
• $90.00–$250.00/mo.***
• 50–100Mbps
• Unlimited data

*Actual speeds may vary and are not guaranteed. Pricing for the first 6 months. Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Pricing not available in all areas. **Offer available to new qualifying customers. One-time standard installation fee may be due at checkout. Minimum 24-month service term required. Equipment lease fee is $14.99/mo. Taxes apply. Speeds are “up to,” will vary and are not guaranteed. Service is not available in all areas. ***Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time. Plus hardware, shipping & handling fees, and tax. Fully refundable. Depending on location, some orders may take 2 weeks or more to fulfill.

Best satellite internet plans

HughesNet, Viasat, and Starlink’s satellite technologies and intended customer base clearly affect their internet plans. HughesNet, for example, sticks with 25Mbps on every plan. It’s looking to offer the necessities at affordable costs. Viasat, on the other hand, offers beefy speeds and data caps, but because of its GEO satellite restrictions, they’re expensive.

Starlink internet, meanwhile, offers great speeds, data, and latency because of its LEO satellites, but those satellites come with network congestion restrictions too. Starlink has increased monthly prices twice in two years, and it has recently reinstated a waitlist because it’s struggling to keep up with demand. 

At the same time, Viasat and HughesNet have been increasing data caps without increasing prices, and with both services launching new GEO satellites in 2023, you can expect upcoming improvements in service as well.

With all those things in mind, let’s take a deeper look at these satellite internet plans.

HughesNet internet: Best for affordable plans

Best for affordable plans
HughesNet has the biggest customer base of any satellite internet provider, serving internet to over a million rural homes across America. HughesNet speeds can hit 50Mbps, and data allowances top out at 200GB per month.
pro Most affordable prices
pro Bonus Zone data
con Speeds max out at 50Mbps
pro Up to 200GB of data

HughesNet tops out at 50Mbps download speeds, which still qualifies it as broadband speed (according to the Federal Communications Commission). That's not a ton of speed, but its what you need for all basic internet tasks like paying bills online, surfing the web, and even streaming TV. It's also available everywhere in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Alaska. HughesNet doesn't coverall of South America, but it does offer satellite connectivity in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Mexico, and Brazil. 

Aside from awesome coverage, HughesNet prices are better than Viasat's. In fact, HughesNet usually offers sweet deals to new customers, something Viasat and Starlink rarely if ever do.


HughesNet plans and pricing

Data plan
Satellite-only 15GB$49.99/mo.15 Mbps
Satellite-only 50GB$49.99/mo.*25 Mbps
Satellite-only 100GB$74.99/mo.*25 Mbps
Fusion 100GB$74.99/mo.*25 Mbps
Fusion 200GB$149.99/mo.*50 Mbps

Data as of 04/12/2023 Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
†Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Pricing not available in all areas.
*Pricing for the first 6 mos.

All HughesNet plans come with only 25Mbps. Fortunately, 25Mbps is broadband internet, as defined by the Federal Communications Commission, which means it’s all you really need to enjoy browsing, social media, emailing, and even streaming. Your data caps, however, are another story.

Unfortunately, HughesNet satellite service offers smaller max monthly data caps than either Viasat or Starlink. But it tries to make up for it with the Bonus Zone, which allows you to use high-speed data with no limits during off-peak hours.

You can also buy HughesNet Data Tokens at reasonable prices if you want more data in a month, and unlike Viasat's extra purchasable data, Data Tokens don't expire in the same month you purchased them. In fact, you can hold onto the data as long as you want, saving it up for Christmas or the season premiere of your favorite Netflix show.

Fortunately, HughesNet also offers technically unlimited data, which means that if you do use up your monthly data allotment, you’ll still be able to use the internet. You’ll just be using standard data, not high-speed data, which means your speeds could be throttled

HughesNet internet satellite dish installed on our roof

We had an overall positive experience with testing and installing HughesNet internet, although the performance was much worse than Viasat simply because the max speeds are so much lower (25 Mbps vs. Viasat's 100 Mbps). 

Viasat internet: Best for fast satellite speeds

Best for fast speeds
With generous data allowances up to 500GB per month, Viasat is a reliable choice for home internet in rural areas. Viasat speeds reach 100Mbps in many locations.
pro Wide availability
pro Speeds up to 100Mbps
con Prices go up after 3 mos.

Viasat offers satellite internet speeds up to 100Mbps in some locations of North America—that’s four times faster than the top HughesNet speed. Viasat also offers much more data than HughesNet plans, with the top plan offering 500GB. Unfortunately, it's also significantly more expensive. It costs to go fast.

If you want a fast satellite internet connection with more data and more reliable availability than Starlink's ever-changing maps, get Viasat. Read our full Viasat review to learn more.


Viasat plans and pricing

Data Cap
Choice 12Mbps/60GB
60GBUp to 12Mbps
Choice 25Mbps/60GB
60GBUp to 25Mbps
Choice 25Mbps/100GB
100GBUp to 25Mbps
Choice 30Mbps/150GB
150GBUp to 30Mbps
Choice 30Mbps/300GB
300GBUp to 30Mbps
Choice 30Mbps/500GB
500GBUp to 30Mbps
Choice 50Mbps/100GB
100GBUp to 50Mbps
Choice 75Mbps/150GB
150GBUp to 75Mbps
Choice 100Mbps/300GB
300GBUp to 100Mbps
Choice 100Mbps/500GB
500GBUp to 100Mbps

Data as of 8/18/23. Prices and availability vary by location. Installation fees, monthly equipment lease fees, and taxes may apply. After 100 GB of High-Speed Data usage, you still have unlimited access to Standard Data, which may result in slower speed.

Viasat plans max out at 100Mbps, but with a comfortable 500GB of high-speed data (and standard, usually slower, data thereafter). That may be only half of Starlink’s data cap, but it’s still one of the best data caps in the satellite internet business. 

You can find Viasat deals that offer generous promo pricing for the first three months, but after they end, your price can go up anywhere from $20–$100 a month. We generally recommend Viasat’s Choice 75 and above, since the real benefit of Viasat lies in the speeds and data caps of its higher-end plans. Just make sure their non-promo prices fit your budget before purchasing.   

Viasat plans vary by location, so that's why some plans above have the same speeds and data caps, but different prices. The reason for the variability is Viasat's differing capacity depending on which geostationary satellite beam your home is under. 

If you want the fastest satellite internet connection available with more data, get Viasat. Read our full Viasat review to learn more.

Viasat dish installed on roof

We had Viasat Internet installed and tested it for 3 months. We were impressed with how the 100 Mbps speeds compared to our cable internet plan—there wasn't much difference! The main thing we noted was increased latency with satellite internet, but it was just a few seconds longer than what we got with our landline connection.

Starlink internet: Best for unlimited data

Best potential (limited availability)
Starlink recently rolled out service to all of the United States (including Hawaii and Alaska) after years of waitlists. Equipment costs $599.00–$2,500.00 upfront, with a monthly service cost of $90.00–$120.00 for 100Mbps and unlimited data.
pro Unlimited data
pro Faster satellite internet speeds
con Unpredictable availability

Elon Musk’s Starlink Residential (now called Starlink Standard) service has made waves and names for itself across the rural internet business as the new satellite internet service on the block. We think it's actually ties with Viasat as fastest satellite internet plan for at-home users available, but we gave Viasat the edge because Starlink Residential, or as it's called now, Starlink Standard, is on a lower data priority than many of its other plans, so it can at times be slower. Plus, though Starlink is now available to all of the USA, it's been making several plan and policy changes that make it just a bit more inconsistent and unpredictable by comparison.

Though the official word from Starlink says its Basic Access (what you can expect to see, essentially) caps out at 100Mbps, some users have reported up to 300Mbps. You shouldn’t expect these speeds, though, considering how overtaxed the Starlink network can be. 

Depending on whether you’re in a high-capacity (lots of people online) Starlink area or a low-capacity one, you’ll pay either $120 a month or $90 a month for Starlink Standard. You won’t know which until Starlink contacts you—either because you’ve just signed up, or because the capacity range of your area just changed.

Starlink Roam is the portable version of Elon Musk’s Starlink. You can take it on the road wherever you go, with either a set-it-up-when-you-park style plan or a more expensive use-it-on-the-move style one. Compared to Starlink Standard, Starlink Roam plans do suffer with throttling more often, but only if the area you’re currently traveling in is at high capacity.

Many people take issue with Starlink's customer service, since it can be hard to get ahold of in the first place, but love Starlink's unlimited data caps, even if some of them are more unlimited than others. 

Starlink's standard satellite needs a large clearing of exposed sky to connect without obstructions. Roof-top installation is recommended so your house doesn't get in the way like ours did when we set up the satellite in the backyard. | Photo by Mikayla Rivera

Starlink also has a Starlink Business plan, which offers internet speeds up to 220Mbps. Those speeds are slower than they used to be (Starlink Business once offered 500Mbps), but the plan is still a great deal. You’ll have to decide, though, if the download speeds are worth the one-time, up-front installation fee of $2,500.

In fact, satellite internet is generally a service where you'll have to way some strong cons against staying connecting. Satellite internet is its own dimension of the internet space, so let's break it down a bit more for you.

What is satellite internet?

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Satellite internet is wireless internet that beams a connection from a satellite in space to a satellite at your house. The satellite at your house then translates the signal through your router/modem, which beams satellite Wi-Fi through your entire home. Although it's available nationwide, satellite with internet is more common in rural areas.

Satellite internet solves the problem of how to get internet to small towns and rural areas, where fiber and cable infrastructure aren't in place. Take a look at how this year's best rural internet options compare to last year's fastest and slowest rural cities

In urban areas, homes and skyscrapers are wired with cable and fiber lines that bring the internet to people living in cities and areas with dense populations. Installing fiber is cheap in an apartment building, where the cost per customer is minimal. But what about people who live beyond the city limits? Running fiber lines out to each home in rural America would be extremely costly.

Best satellite internet alternatives

Satellite internet isn’t the only internet option for rural areas. You can often find DSL and limited cable providers in these places, but our top recommendation would be fixed wireless providers, preferably 5G home internet. 

Download speed
Get it
$30.00–$50.00/mo.*Unlimited72–245Mbps average40 million households
$25.00–$80.00/mo.**UnlimitedUp to 1,000Mbps30 million households

*w/ Auto Pay. Regulatory fees included in monthly price for qualified accounts. See full terms. **w/ Auto Pay. Available in select areas.

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet and Verizon 5G Home are the best 5G home internet providers and are our favorite satellite internet alternatives. 5G Home Internet providers may still take second place to satellite when it comes to availability, both Verizon and T-Mobile have been expanding their internet footprints aggressively.

These two are great internet options for rural areas because both offer unlimited internet, no contracts, and no equipment fees for average speeds in the 100Mbps+ range. That's a lot of awesome, and for a really feasible price ranging from $30–$80, depending on which provider you choose and whether you already have a cellular plan with the company.

Best satellite internet alternative: T-Mobile 5G Home Internet

Data cap
T-Mobile 5G Home Internet$30.00–$50.00/mo.*72–245Mbps (average)Unlimited

Both T-Mobile and Verizon offer great 5G home internet, but we recommend T-Mobile 5G Home Internet just a bit more because its cellular plans have great perks, its 5G Home plans are a bit cheaper than Verizon (when you don't count the mobile-provider-bundle price), and it has a slightly larger footprint. But if you already have Verizon cell service, you should probably go with Verizon 5G Home to get the cheaper bundle deal.   

T-Mobile’s network has 90% availability across the US, and though the fixed wireless internet tech still has some latency issues, it will have lower latency, faster speeds, and a much better monthly price than satellite internet providers.

Go ahead and type in your zip code below to see if it’s available in your area.

Enter your zip code to see all the best providers available near you.

Of course, T-Mobile Home Internet isn't your only rural internet option outside of satellite. DSL internet, fixed wireless providers, some cable providers, and even mobile hotspots also work as some of the best internet in rural areas.

5G home internet and fixed wireless

Unlike 4G and LTE internet that came before, 5G home internet is faster, more reliable, and can easily compete and excel past DSL and satellite internet.

5G home has been rolled out across the majority of the USA, but if you're in a pocket that still only has 4G LTE or fixed wireless options like Rise Broadband, you'll still find the service capable. Just keep in mind that all fixed wireless, 4G home, and 5G home internet struggles a bit with latency. Not as much as satellite internet, but still.

DSL internet

DSL internet is a bit of a relic in the US, but it's also a solid land-based internet option for rural areas, especially areas cable providers have spurned. Some DSL providers have fast speeds, but don't expect too much from these old telephone lines. DSL is neck and neck with satellite internet when it comes to speed, but it doesn't suffer with as much latency, so depending on your internet activities, you should check out the Best DSL Internet for Rural Areas.  

Mobile plans and hotspots

We don't recommend using your mobile phone for home internet all on its own, but it makes for an excellent companion to DSL or satellite internet—or a great form of portable internet if you're more of a roamer. Hotspots and mobile phone plans all have specific data caps, usage rules, and more, so make sure to analyze your options carefully before diving into this as your main, or main backup, internet source in remote areas. 

Find providers available near you by entering your zip code below.

How fast is satellite internet?

High-speed satellite internet is still not as fast as fiber or cable internet, but it can reach speeds up to 250Mbps with Starlink Business and up to 100Mbps with Viasat and Starlink Residential. 

Download speeds
Get it

Years ago, satellite internet couldn’t have dreamed of reaching the speeds that cable internet plans can offer, but now it’s not uncommon. As Starlink continues to develop its network, and Viasat launches more robust GEO satellites, and the upcoming Project Kuiper seeks to deliver high speed satellite internet, satellite internet speeds may get even faster. But we wouldn’t look out for gigabit speeds anytime soon.

Best for faster speeds: Starlink and Viasat

Starlink and Viasat both offer up to 100Mbps download speed with their residential plans. Starlink’s residential plans have been known to come in lower and higher than that number, but 100Mbps is the promised basic expectation. 

Starlink Business, however, gives users 220Mbps. That’s some nice speed with low latency Elon Musk’s enticing users with right there. Viasat Business, on the other hand, still caps out at 100Mbps, and speeds that high are available only in certain areas. Of course, Viasat speeds could change in the near future with the recent launch of its new Viasat-3 satellite.

Check out our Starlink vs. Viasat guide for more details.

How much internet speed do I need for satellite internet?

We recommend at least 25Mbps broadband internet speeds for all users. That’s the FCC’s minimum for high-speed internet, so don’t settle for less. But do remember that whatever advertised speed you see on your plan is just an “up to” number, so you’re likely to have slower speed than that at any given time.

With that under consideration, you’ll know what satellite internet speed you need by what activities you do most often. Check out our table below.

What internet speed do I need?

Online activities
Best internet download speed
0–5MbpsChecking email, searching on Google, streaming music
5–40MbpsStreaming SD or HD video, playing solo games online, making video calls on Zoom
40–100MbpsStreaming 4K video on 1–2 devices, playing multiplayer games online, downloading large files at moderate speed
100–500MbpsRunning smart-home devices, Streaming 4K video on 3+ devices, downloading large files quickly
500–1,000MbpsStreaming, gaming, video-calling, and surfing the internet simultaneously on 5+ devices.

Just remember that whatever internet speed you choose, your satellite internet plan will come with a data cap that can also restrict your activities. For more on what speed you’ll need for gaming, and other gaming on satellite tips, check out our Guide to Gaming on Satellite Internet.

Of course, other things affect your internet speed besides raw Mbps download speeds—like latency. Everyone using the internet has to contend with latency, but if you’re planning on using satellite internet, this is a beast you’ll find yourself wrestling with quite a bit.

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Not fast enough?

What is latency?

Satellite internet has a lot of positives, particularly its wide availability, but latency issues are definitely a negative you need to consider with this type of internet.

Latency is the amount of time it takes a signal to travel from your computer to a server and back. Everyone will experience some latency, and a little won’t interrupt your day. But a lot of latency (think bigger numbers when you take a speed test) can be the difference between getting a headshot in Call of Duty and getting killed before you realize another player was there.

Depending on what satellite internet provider you choose, your latency could be worse or better, though they come with more latency than something like cable internet. 

For example, Starlink relies on low Earth orbit satellites (LEO satellites) to deliver internet, which means it has thousands more satellites that circle the Earth at a lower altitude than the GEO satellites of HughesNet and Viasat. The lower altitude makes it possible for Starlink to offer faster speeds and lower latency.

Meanwhile, Viasat leverages four satellites: ViaSat-1, WildBlue1, Anik-F2 and ViaSat-2 to get worldwide coverage. HughesNet operates using EchoStar XIX, which is the world’s highest-capacity broadband satellite. Neither of these can totally overcome GEO satellite latency issues on their own.

But there are other options in minimizing satellite provider’s high latency, like HughesNet Fusion.

HughesNet Fusion is a hybrid between satellite internet and fixed wireless internet technologies, so it uses terrestrial wireless networks for latency-sensitive data. This means that if you start watching a Twitch stream or make a Zoom call where latency plays a bigger factor, your HughesNet equipment will switch over to a wireless connection to deliver that data without the lag you’d get using only your satellite connection.

Like LEO satellites, hybrid satellite internet like HughesNet Fusion have the potential to deliver a much better online experience to rural communities that lack access to cable or fiber internet.

Other players in the low Earth orbit satellite provider game include Jeff Bezos’s Project Kuiper. Kuiper plans to offer a similar product to Starlink, but with a smaller terminal and at a more affordable cost. Amazon’s Project Kuiper is not yet available as a satellite provider, but it will be in a few years.

Bandwidth vs. speed vs. latency

Bandwidth and download speed are essentially the same thing—the measurement of how long it will take data from the internet to reach your computer. 

Latency, meanwhile, measures in milliseconds how long it takes for data to go from your internet input to a server, back to your computer. Distance between you and a server plays a huge part in increasing latency, which is why there’s naturally more latency in satellite internet technology; it’s hard to get a wider distance than between us and space. 

Latency is also sometimes called “ping.”

For a more detailed breakdown of bandwidth, speed, and latency, check out our What Is Latency? article.

Good latency for streaming and gaming

Anywhere from 50ms to 100ms is usually considered good latency. Of course, the smaller the number of milliseconds, the better. Anything under 20ms is considered pretty stellar, though you’ll usually have latency that low only with cable or fiber providers.

For satellite internet providers, good latency is relative. Satellite internet latency averages around 500ms to 600ms, though Starlink says its LEO satellites allow it to reach latency as low as 25–50ms, which would be great for gaming. You can see how effective the low Earth orbit technology is in reducing latency.

You can still stream using GEO satellite providers, but we’d recommend gaming with satellite internet only under specific conditions and with specific games. As a general rule, high-octane online gaming, like in competitive first-person shooters, aren’t usually a good fit. But joining an online multiplayer game of Stardew Valley could work just fine.

Satellite internet dishes enable internet connection to happen in rural and remote areas.

Satellite internet services

HughesNet, Viasat, and Starlink are the best satellite internet providers, but there are more satellite internet providers around the globe or on their way like Amazon's satellite internet, Project Kuiper. See the full list of available or upcoming providers that will be able to offer satellite Wi-fFi.

All satellite internet providers

Click on the links above to read our full reviews on each, but here's the most important highlights you'll need to know about these other satellite internet providers.

Project Kuiper

People like to call Project Kuiper Amazon's internet, and they're not wrong. Specifically, Project Kuiper is Amazon's new satellite internet service that's meant to help internet users in underserved areas get the connection they need. It's not yet available for customers, but it's launched its first two satellites and plans to make a beta-testing service available to commercial users by the end of 2024.

Prototype testing suggests Project Kuiper internet may reach up to 400 Mbps, which would make it even faster than Starlink. But we'll have to see once the satellite internet system is actually up and running.

OneWeb internet

OneWeb is a satellite internet service that's backed by both commercial and government cash. It's mostly for European use, with backing specifically from the UK government. Read our OneWeb review for more.

Telesat internet

Continuing the international internet connection bend, Telesat is actually a Canadian company that sells satellite internet services to enterprises and other businesses. In other words, you can't sign up for Telesat like you can one day sign up for Project Kuiper and OneWeb. But if you're a large business, this baby might be up your alley. 

Pros and cons of satellite internet

pro Availability: Satellite internet is available almost everywhere in the US.
pro Speed: Satellite internet is usually faster than DSL or dial-up internet, but it’s not as fast as fiber or cable internet.
pro Flexibility: Satellite internet is good for browsing, emailing, and even occasional video streaming (just watch that data cap).
con Data caps: After you reach your data cap, your internet speeds will slow down.
con Latency: Sending information to space and back takes some extra time, which means satellite internet has high latency.
con Cost: The average cost of satellite internet (around $100 per month) is higher than other types of internet.

How much is satellite internet?

Satellite internet can cost anywhere from $64.99 on the low end of residential internet, to $300 on the high end of residential internet, to $500 for business internet, and that’s not counting equipment costs (trust us, Starlink’s got them). 

Satellite provider
Data cap
Equipment and installation
$90.00–$250.00/mo.50–500MbpsUnlimited$599.00–$2,500.00 one-time equipment fee; self-installation
$49.99–$174.99/mo.***15–50Mbps15–200GB$14.99/mo. equipment lease; Free professional install
$69.99–$299.9/mo.**12–100Mbps12–500GB$9.99/mo. equipment lease; Free professional install

As a rule of thumb, HughesNet plans are usually the cheapest because they offer 25Mbps internet for those who just want the basics, Viasat has the most expensive monthly plans with matching high speeds and data, and Starlink (residential) prices depend on whether you live in a high-capacity area ($120 per month) or a low-capacity area ($90 per month) of their network. Plus, of course, you have to pay a one-time, up-front equipment cost of $599 with Starlink—if it’s in your area at all.

Best for cost effectiveness: HughesNet

HughesNet won’t offer you blazing fast speeds, but if all you need is an internet provider that gets the job done, its consistent prices (read: no price hikes like Viasat) and lower prices make it a cost-effective solution. 

Just remember to pick the plan that has the right amount of data for your planned online tasks, otherwise you’ll run out of your high-speed priority data and be demoted to slowed standard data. For the record, this rule goes for all satellite internet providers, not just HughesNet.

Does satellite internet have unlimited data?

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Best for unlimited data: Starlink 

No internet providers offer truly unlimited data; all of them give you a set amount of high-speed or priority data, and if you exceed that, you’re dropped down to standard or deprioritized data. This means you can still access the internet—hence the loosely used “unlimited”—but at a slower speed.

That said, Starlink used to offer truly unlimited data but recently introduced a new 1TB data cap. Fortunately, 1TB is a generous data cap that few if any households are likely to use up in a month, so Starlink still stands as the satellite provider closest to offering unlimited data.

Is there such thing as unlimited satellite internet?

Satellite providers claim they offer unlimited satellite internet, but like mobile providers, this claim is based on a technicality. Truly unlimited satellite internet—or satellite internet service with no data caps or data slowdowns—doesn't exist, but Starlink's generous data cap comes pretty close.

Unlimited satellite internet is more difficult to obtain than unlimited internet with other internet types like cable or fiber. That's because of all the reasons we spelled out above—satellite internet systems have more complicated infrastructure from the get go. But people used to say 1 Gbps speeds with cable would be impossible, and now they're common.

That said, it wouldn't surprise us if unlimited satellite internet became the standard in the next few decades. Just keep an eye on on our website for all satellite internet and satellite tech updates; we'll let you know when we see the dream of truly unlimited satellite internet on the horizon.

Is HughesNet internet Unlimited? Does Viasat have an unlimited plan?

Technically, all HughesNet and Viasat plans offer unlimited satellite internet. But it's not truly unlimited. You get a set amount of priority data, or high-speed data, at the speeds you sign up for. After you run through that, you're not disconnected from the internet, but your speeds are usually throttled.

We've experimented with HughesNet, and after we blew through out data one month, we found our speeds weren't affected. That might be because there weren't a lot of other HughesNet internet users in our area, and therefore, there was no reason to throttle our speeds and clear the internet highways. But you can't rely on that, so remember: technically unlimited satellite internet isn't the same as truly unlimited satellite internet. 

How is satellite internet installed?

Satellite internet typically has its own special installation process. HughesNet professional installation costs $99, but you can often get it waived. Viasat installation is also professionally done. Starlink, on the other hand, only offers self-installation on residential internet plans.

Equipment and installation
Get it
HughesNet$14.99/mo. equipment lease; Free professional install
Viasat$9.99/mo. equipment lease; Free professional install
Starlink$599.00–$2,500.00 one-time equipment fee; self-installation

Best installation: Starlink 

Price aside, Starlink has the most seamless installation process. Elon Musk has made it so within 15 minutes you can be up and running after setting up Starlink yourself. Viasat and HughesNet require a technician to come out and install it. 

However, Viasat and HughesNet offer more affordable equipment leasing options compared to Starlink’s up-front internet equipment costs. Viasat and HughesNet’s contracts may not be worth the equipment savings to you, though, whereas Starlink lets you cancel within 30 days of receiving your equipment.

Use your zip code to find satellite internet providers near you.

Satellite internet for RVs and moving vehicles

Starlink RV (now called Starlink Roam) is the best option to get you connected on the road. It’s also the best option if you want satellite internet for your RV. Read up on our comparison to learn more about the differences between Starlink Roam and Starlink Residential

Of course, Starlink for RVs isn’t the only portable internet option that could satisfy you. Check out our How to Get Internet in Your RV for more options that may suit your wallet and your adventuring spirit. 

Download speed
Get it
$30.00–$50.00/moUnlimited72–245Mbps average40 million households
$60.00–$80.00/mo.UnlimitedUp to 1,000Mbps30 million households

Is Satellite internet the best option for you?

Satellite internet is a great opportunity for people in rural areas or places with few, slow, or no other internet options. You can get speeds up to 100Mbps (sometimes even faster) and data caps up to 1TB. With Starlink’s new LEO satellite developments, and Viasat and HughesNet’s new GEO satellite launches, satellite internet can only continue to improve.

Best satellite internet providers FAQ

Is Starlink better than Viasat?

Starlink and Viasat are both great satellite internet providers, but Starlink certainly gives you more data for less money per month—if it’s available in your area. Viasat is available to 99% of the US population, where Starlink’s availability is limited and its policies often volatile. 

Check out our Starlink vs. Viasat comparison to help you decide which provider is better for you. 

Will Starlink be faster than HughesNet?

Starlink is already faster than HughesNet by an easy 75Mbps, since HughesNet and HughesNet Fusion offer only a max of 25Mbps per plan. Check out our Starlink vs. HughesNet breakdown for more details.

Do all satellite internet providers have data caps?

All satellite internet providers have data caps, though some of them are a bit more secret or “technical” than others. Viasat and HughesNet, for example, technically offer unlimited data, but it’s slowed, standard data that’s available after you run past your priority, or faster speed, data cap. 

Starlink, meanwhile, probably has the closest thing to truly unlimited satellite internet, but it, too, has a data cap hidden in the terms and conditions—it just doesn’t tell you what it is. All Starlink clarifies is that customers who use more than the average consumer allotment of data will be throttled. That said, Starlink used to offer a 1TB data cap, so we’d hazard a guess that the undisclosed average user data cap is fairly generous. 

Is satellite internet the same as Wi-Fi?

Satellite internet is an excellent way to get Wi-Fi if you live in a rural or remote area, but a satellite internet connection and a Wi-Fi network are slightly different things. Satellite internet Wi-Fi networks work just like any other Wi-Fi network. Your satellite internet dish will connect directly with your modem/router, which will translate the signal from your dish into a Wi-Fi signal for your home.

Additionally, satellite internet makes it possible for you to get Wi-Fi everywhere, providing speeds up to 500 Mbps, depending on which plans and providers are available in your area. So once you do have it set up, you can enjoy your satellite Wi-Fi even in remote areas.

How much does satellite internet cost?

Satellite internet costs $49.99 to $500.00 per month, depending on your contract and how much speed and data you want. The average person will pay around $100 a month for quality satellite internet. Satellite internet is one of the more expensive internet options for how much speed and data you get. Still, if it's your only option, it's usually worth it to get an internet connection in rural and remote areas.

Is satellite internet a good option?

Satellite internet is a good option for people who have no other internet options. If you live in a rural or remote location, satellite internet is a great way to get online when you don't have any other source of connection. All you need to connect to satellite internet is a clear view of the southern sky.

Satellite internet is not a good option if you have cable internet or fiber internet available where you live.

Is satellite internet the same as Wi-Fi?

Satellite internet is an excellent way to get Wi-Fi if you live in a rural or remote area, but a satellite internet connection and a Wi-Fi network are slightly different things. Satellite internet Wi-Fi networks work just like any other WiFi network. Your satellite internet dish will connect directly with your modem/router, which will translate the signal from your dish into a Wi-Fi signal for your home.

Additionally, satellite internet makes it possible for you to get Wi-Fi everywhere, providing speeds up to 500Mbps, depending on which plans and providers are available in your area. So once you do have it set up, you can enjoy your satellite WiFi even in remote areas.

Can you get high-speed internet with satellite?

Satellite internet offers anywhere from 25–250Mbps download speeds depending on the provider, so you can definitely get high-speed internet with satellites. Keep in mind that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines high-speed broadband internet as 25Mbps or above—but that doesn't mean you won't experience slowdowns or latency issues with satellite internet compared to cable or fiber. 

What is HughesNet Fusion?

HughesNet Fusion is a new plan option that combines satellite and wireless connections. This addresses the biggest problem facing satellite internet—the high latency that comes from the physical distance to a communication satellite. Fusion uses additional equipment that connects to nearby wireless networks when performing latency-sensitive activities like playing games or using video chat, dramatically reducing lag.