Choosing the best internet from satellite providers comes down to what you need most in a satellite internet plan. For example, how much are you willing to pay for broadband internet access each month? What activities do you need internet for? How much internet data do you need to match?
The best satellite internet provider for you also depends on what's available where you live. All satellite WiFi providers are available nationwide (except Starlink isn't quite yet), but you'll have access to different internet speeds and data depending on your location.
HughesNet tops out at 25 Mbps 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.
Plus, HughesNet prices are better than Viasat's. In fact, right now HughesNet is offering $20 to $50 a month off your first six months for a total of $120 to $300 off total. That's pretty sweet savings.
Unfortunately, HughesNet does 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 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.
With a download speed up to 100 Mbps, Viasat is the best satellite internet provider if you're looking for fast speeds and high data caps—but it comes at a hefty price.
Viasat's satellite internet plans are already the most expensive out of the to three satellite internet providers, and its prices go up significantly after the three-month promotional period. Up to $80 more a month, to be exact. With both Viasat and HughesNet, you have to sign a 2-year contract, so it's costly to jump ship if you don't want to pay the higher prices that kick in for the majority of your contract.
Starlink seems like the satellite internet provider solution we've all been waiting for, but we'll see if its performance can live up to its promises as the network continues to launch. Most Starlink users experience 50–250 Mbps speeds, which makes Starlink the fastest residential satellite provider available.
Starlink also has a Starlink Business plan, which offers internet speeds up to 500 Mbps. That's amazing, but those download speeds come with an installation fee of $2,500. Wowza!
Of course, it could be worth it for faster internet. Unlike the geostationary satellite networks Viasat and HughesNet use, Starlink employs low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, which are closer to the Earth and allow for lower latency (as low as 20 ms) and faster speeds.
The fact that Starlink Business boasts satellite internet speeds up to 500 Mbps is truly astounding and a testament to the capabilities of low Earth orbit satellites. However, Starlink availability is still highly limited, internet connection and speeds are spotty, and the hefty installation fees makes its lower monthly price point less enticing.