The Best Satellite Internet Providers of 2024

We help you decide which satellite internet provider is best for you.
HughesNet
Hughesnet | Overall rating
3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3
  • Icon Yes  Dark
    $74.99–$119.99 per month
  • Icon Yes  Dark
    Best budget pick
  • Icon Yes  Dark
    Lower latency with Fusion plan
Starlink
Starlink | Overall rating
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8
  • Icon Yes  Dark
    $120.00–$500.00 per month
  • Icon Yes  Dark
    Fastest, lowest latency option
  • Icon Yes  Dark
    Only portable option
Viasat
Viasat | Overall rating
3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7
  • Icon Yes  Dark
    $99.99–$119.99 per month
  • Icon Yes  Dark
    Unlimited high-speed data
  • Icon Yes  Dark
    No contract
Andreas Rivera
May 22, 2024
Icon Time To Read12 min read

Our extensive process for comparing satellite internet providers

We base our analyses on thorough research, including customer interviews, surveys, first-hand testing, results from our speed test tool, and proprietary internet provider data. We compare providers’ value, data limits, reliability, and speeds.

Hughesnet, Starlink, and Viasat are the best (and only) satellite internet providers in the U.S., each with strengths and weaknesses. 

Starlink is the fastest but most expensive, Hughesnet has good budget plans and upgraded technology, and Viasat offers unlimited data and no contracts.  

At SatelliteInternet.com, we specialize in helping people with unique internet challenges. We’ve spent years testing satellite internet providers, talking to customers, and studying the intricacies of rural internet. We look into the major satellite internet providers and alternative internet solutions for people in rural locations. We also help travelers pick the best services and devices to stay connected from their RV or boat. Read on to compare satellite providers and find the best option for your life.

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

The top satellite internet providers

Starting rate
$74.99
per month
$120.00
per month
$99.99
per month
Download speed50-100 Mbps5-220 Mbps12-150 Mbps
Priority data cap100—200GB40GB-2TBUnlimited
Equipment$14.99—$19.99 per month$499-$2500 one-time$15.00 per month
InstallationFree w/ equipment leaseSelf-installUp to $300 depending on soft credit check
Recommended planElite—$89.99 per monthStarlink Standard—$120.00 per monthViasat Unleashed—$99.99 per month
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

How we rate satellite internet providers

We break down our reviews of satellite internet providers into four categories.

Speed

Considers the provider’s download/upload speeds and average latency.

Reliability

Rates the consistency of service and access to customer support.

Data

Rates the plan's allotment of high-speed data, taking into account priority data and options for purchasing more data.

Value

Looks at the pricing (w/ fees) of services for what you’re getting and compared to competitors.

At SatelliteInternet.com, we base our analyses on thorough research, including customer interviews, first-hand testing, results from our speed test tool, and proprietary internet provider data on speeds and pricing.

Hughesnet

The cheapest satellite internet

Hughesnet | Overall rating
3.3
(
out of 5
)
Icon Tooltip  Dark
  • Icon Check  Dark
    Speed Rating
    3.4
  • Icon Check  Dark
    Reliability Rating
    3.0
  • Icon Check  Dark
    Data Rating
    2.6
  • Icon Check  Dark
    Value Rating
    4.0

Hughesnet offers plans with speeds and reliability for minimal internet usage. Speeds and latency lag behind competitors but will save you money in the long run. In an effort to improve speed and coverage, Hughesnet launched the Jupiter-3 satellite into high orbit in mid-2023. In our customer surveys, Hughesnet users have remarked that they’ve seen improvements in speeds, although reliability and customer service remain frustrating. 

“I like the price that we pay, but wish the speeds would be better.”–Hughesnet customer

As we interviewed satellite internet customers as part of our provider review process, it was tough finding Hughesnet customers with positive feelings about the service. Discourse online and in our customer survey indicated there was satisfaction with the price but extreme disappointment with the mandatory two-year commitment and measly priority data caps. However, for many with a rural lifestyle, it’s enough to keep them in contact with the rest of the world for safety and basic communication.

Hughesnet plans and pricing

Data plan
Price
Speed
Select$49.99/mo for 12 mo.*Up to 50 Mbps
Elite$64.99/mo for 12 mo.*Up to 100 Mbps
Fusion$94.99/mo for 12 mo.*Up to 100 Mbps
* Offer for 12 months. Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Equipment Lease or Purchase fees extra. Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Equipment Lease or Purchase fees extra.

Data as of 01/2/2024 Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Offer for 12 months. Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Equipment Lease or Purchase fees extra. Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Equipment Lease or Purchase fees extra.

Speed rating for Hughesnet

3.4

out of 5.0

Hughesnet offers speeds in the 50Mbps–100Mbps range. That’s enough speed to enjoy browsing, social media, and even a bit of streaming. However, since Hughesnet operates with geostationary satellites, high latency becomes an issue. Hughesnet Fusion uses a fixed-wireless low-latency connection to better compete with Starlink, but it has limited availability.

Reliability rating for Hughesnet

3.0

out of 5.0

Hughesnet is about as reliable as a satellite provider can be. Satellite internet is susceptible to weather interference, but Hughesnet generally offers a solid connection with far better customer support than Starlink.

Hughesnet also offers community support forums, which is a nice touch—sometimes, hearing it from other customers can be helpful. If quick and responsive customer support is a priority, Hughesnet also offers an express support subscription starting at $8.99 per month.

Data rating for Hughesnet

2.6

out of 5.0

Hughesnet offers a limited amount of priority high-speed data each month. After going through your allotment, Hughesnet will likely slow down your bandwidth to 1 to 3Mbps. 

Hughesnet’s plans feature two choices for data: 100GB or 200GB per month. These are low compared to Starlink’s high-priority data plans and Viasat’s unlimited plan. Once that’s gone, you can continue to use your service as much as you want, but at a reduced speed. We don’t recommend streaming and other data-heavy activities with this service. Instead of streaming, customers with a data cap also have satellite TV like DirecTV or Dish.

Value rating for Hughesnet

4.0

out of 5.0

Hughesnet is the most budget-friendly of these three providers. With prices starting at $74.99 per month, it’s the most affordable satellite internet provider for decent speed and data. You also get a $25 discount for the first 12 months of service, but it’s important to remember that Hughesnet requires a 24-month commitment that you won’t get out of without an early termination fee. It’s the only provider that retains such a contract.

Read our full Hughesnet review.

Starlink

The fastest, most convenient satellite internet

Starlink | Overall rating
3.8
(
out of 5
)
Icon Tooltip  Dark
  • Icon Check  Dark
    Speed Rating
    4.9
  • Icon Check  Dark
    Reliability Rating
    3.0
  • Icon Check  Dark
    Data Rating
    4.5
  • Icon Check  Dark
    Value Rating
    2.6

When it comes to speed and convenience, SpaceX’s Starlink has been winning over people all over the world. Its unique technology and internet packages set it apart from Hughesnet and Viasat, making it the fastest and most versatile satellite internet service. The plans aren’t cheap, and the upfront equipment fees are high. Plus, Starlink's customer service leaves a lot to be desired. 

“Latency was the biggest surprise. 40ms, which was enough to stream live TV. That was not an option before.” –Jim Olson, Starlink customer

The Starlink customers we spoke with had many more good things to say than bad. For them, the difference in latency compared to competitors they tried was day and night. Streaming high-quality video or playing video games online, all without lag or running into data caps, was finally possible for them.

Starlink

Starlink plans and pricing

Plan
Price*
Speed
Latency
Equipment fee
Starlink Standard$120/mo.20-100 Mbps25–50ms$499.00
Starlink Priority$140.00–$500.00/mo.40–220Mbps25–50ms$2,500.00
Starlink Mobile$150.00–$200.00/mo.5–50Mbps25–50ms$499.00–$2,500.00
Starlink Mobile Priority$250.00–$5,000.00/mo.40—220Mbps25–50ms$2,500.00
Plus hardware, shipping & handling fees, and tax. Fully refundable. Depending on location, some orders may take 2 weeks or more to fulfill.

Speed rating for Starlink

4.9

out of 5.0

Starlink’s download speed will depend entirely on your location and plan, but typical speeds throughout the U.S. range between 100Mbps and 220Mbps. Starlink uses low-earth orbit satellites, providing faster connections with lower latency than Viasat or Hughesnet’s geostationary satellites.

Around the U.S., Starlink latency runs between 30 and 50 milliseconds (ms), compared to Hughesnet and Viasat, which clock in latency as high as 800ms. This makes Starlink ideal for streaming and online gaming, activities that are frustrating or non-existent for Hughesnet and Viasat customers.

Reliability rating for Starlink

3.0

out of 5.0

Starlink takes an unorthodox approach, with no professional installation necessary or offered. Starlink sends you your equipment with minimal instructions on how to set up and align the dish using the Starlink app. It’s a surprisingly easy process, although if you need to mount the dish for a better vantage point, you’ll require additional parts specific to Starlink. You’ll need to install it yourself or hire someone to do it.  Customer support is done through submitting tickets through their website or app, but it is not always responsive or helpful, according to customers. 

Data rating for Starlink

4.5

out of 5.0

Starlink’s standard plan doesn’t have a priority data cap, promising unlimited high-speed data. However, you can get a Priority plan that features allotted priority data, ensuring that your connection to the network takes precedence over standard users’ bandwidth. A Priority plan could be better if you live in an area with many other Starlink users and are heavy data users who can’t afford slowdowns.

Value rating for Starlink

2.6

out of 5.0

Starlink has the most unique set of plans, with pricing radically different from the competition. It has several plans for various use cases, including mobile, business, and even boats. The typical plan recommended for home use is the monthly standard plan for $120. That’s more expensive than Hughesnet’s most expensive plan, but it promises drastically better speeds. No contract is required, so you’re free to cancel at any time. The trade-off is the upfront cost for equipment: $499 for a standard kit or $2,500 for a high-performance kit. 

Read our full Starlink review.

Viasat

Unlimited, high-speed satellite internet

Viasat | Overall rating
3.7
(
out of 5
)
Icon Tooltip  Dark
  • Icon Check  Dark
    Speed Rating
    3.0
  • Icon Check  Dark
    Reliability Rating
    2.7
  • Icon Check  Dark
    Data Rating
    4.8
  • Icon Check  Dark
    Value Rating
    4.4

Viasat is a direct competitor to Hughesnet, featuring similar technology and internet packages. However, in early 2024, Viasat launched a new plan called Unleashed. It features unlimited high-speed data and no contract, allowing you to cancel anytime. With unlimited data at a competitive price, it lends itself to being a solution for people who are heavy data users. The main downside is that Viasat’s speeds and final pricing depend entirely on your location, so the service’s ideal package may not be available.

“Viasat speeds were good, but the latency was bad—800ms plus. It was not an ISP to stream anything.”–Jason Astel, former Viasat customer

We spoke to several Viasat customers, and the frustrations we heard were similar to Hughesnet's regarding latency and data caps. However, Viasat's removal of a hard data limit and contract positions itself to remain more competitive. As more customers sign up for Viasat Unleased, we’ll see how they stack up as a middle-of-the-road option for rural internet users.

Viasat

Viasat plans and pricing

Plan
Price
Data Cap
Speed
Viasat Unleashed
$99.99
/mo
UnlimitedUp to 150Mbps

Data as of 3/01/24. Prices and availability vary by location. Installation fees, monthly equipment lease fees, and taxes may apply. After 850 GB of High-Speed Data usage, you still have unlimited access to Standard Data, which may result in slower speed.

Speed rating for Viasat

3.0

out of 5.0

Viasat offers satellite internet speeds up to 150Mbps—faster than Hughesnet and on par with Starlink. However, the actual speeds you receive will vary by your exact location.

Much like Hughesnet, Viasat has broadband download speeds but high latency, preventing it from being considered high-speed. Viasat uses geostationary satellites that orbit far from the planet’s surface, which means data has much farther to go when compared to a wired connection or even the close-orbiting Starlink fleet.

Reliability rating for Viasat

2.7

out of 5.0

Outside of issues around weather interference, we people will have a satisfactory experience using Viasat for light internet use. While you’ll likely experience slowdowns during peak hours, Viasat will never outright cut you off from connection. 

Viasat is less consistent than Hughesnet from location to location. The fleet of Viasat's satellites, which they had planned to expand with an additional satellite, but a launch malfunction in 2023 severely delayed those plans. Viasat restricts the exact details of its speeds across that coverage net.

Data rating for Viasat

4.8

out of 5.0

Viasat no longer has data caps that limit how much you can download. It offers virtually unlimited high-speed data, although heavy data users who go over 850GB in a month will likely be throttled. Even with that ceiling, it’s miles above the limit of Hughesnet’s top plan, which offers only up to 200GB per month. 

Value rating for Viasat

4.4

out of 5.0

Viasat simplifies its pricing with a rate as low as $99.99 monthly for the highest speed available in your area. Like the download speeds offered, your final pricing will depend on where you live, and you may need to pay up to $119.99. 

Where Viasat has the clear advantage over Hughesnet is the elimination of its two-year contract—meaning if you’re leaving Viasat for whatever reason, you won’t have to pay an expensive early termination fee. No contract and cheaper upfront costs make Viasat the most flexible, least risky choice among satellite internet providers.

Read our full Viasat review.

 

Site Icon  Light
Internet Speed Test
How much speed are you actually paying for?
There was an error initializing the test. Please reload the page and try again.

Connecting to a server ...

... Icon Pros  Light Icon Pros  Light
Connecting to
another server...
00.00 Test in progress Testing Your Speed Test Download speed Test complete 0 1 5 10 20 40 80 160 320+
Upload Speed
Latency (ping)
Provider
IP address
Server Location
Compare Providers
Share
Restart

Not fast enough?

How to choose the best satellite internet provider for...

Email, text, and voice

All three providers can keep you in communication with the web, allowing you to email, use chat clients like Slack and Discord, and make phone calls—to an extent. The high latency of Hughesnet and Viasat means there will be minor delays in sending text messages, making instant chat not so instant. Customers using VoiP apps like Skype have experienced noticeable delays in conversations, but it’s still usable.  Starlink’s low latency clears those problems up but is an expensive solution for basic communication. 

Streaming

Using satellite internet to stream your favorite movies and shows is complicated. It’s not recommended you stream using Hughesnet due to the limited data allotment, which will quickly get eaten up. Many Hughesnet customers opt to download movies during the nighttime hours when bonus data is available or subscribe to a satellite TV provider. Viasat offers nearly unlimited data so you shouldn’t have to worry about that, but the high latency will result in long buffering times. Streaming in the lowest quality or downloading the HD version is recommended to avoid buffering. Starlink’s high speeds and low latency will make for a better streaming experience overall.  

Gaming

Gaming online is a challenge for satellite internet customers. The three big providers feature adequate download speeds, but latency and data consumption are more important for online gaming. Hughesnet and Viasat’s latency is too high to be effective at online gaming, especially for fast-paced action games where responsive input is essential. Plus, with Hughesnet’s priority data cap, you’ll quickly run through your monthly allotment.

Starlink is the only viable solution for gaming over satellite internet. With unlimited data and much lower latency, it’s better to stay competitive with little to no lag. We’ve spoken to Satellite customers who say gaming online wasn’t possible until they switched to Starlink.

Campers and RVs

Options are limited, but getting high-speed internet through satellite is possible whether you’re traveling with a tent, van, or RV. Currently, Starlink is the only satellite provider that allows you to take in on the go if you’re on a Mobile plan. Regional Mobile will enable you to connect anywhere within a country or region for $150 per month, while Global Mobile lets you globetrot with your Starlink for $200. Speeds are slower than the standard residential plan, but still strong enough to suit any of your internet needs on the go. Besides Starlink, there are more ways to get online while traveling, including mobile hotspot plans and 5G fixed-wireless internet.  

Boats

Like RVs, Starlink is the only satellite internet service with plans specifically for boats. Starlink Mobile will work on any schooner, yacht, or dinghy—as long as you’re stationary. However, the whole point of having a boat is to sail into the distance, so if you need to stay connected while moving, you’ll need the Flat High-Performance Starlink, which costs $2,500. Mobile Priority gives you the highest speeds available from anywhere, making it helpful in navigating any body of water while the family can stream movies and music. 

Business

All three providers work with enterprises for commercial service but offer internet solutions aimed at small businesses in rural settings, albeit with the same speeds, data, and terms as their home plans. Hughesnet and Viasat’s plans provide 24/7 support and priority bandwidth for business customers. Video chat is doable, but usually in the lowest definition, and you’ll probably appear laggy to everyone else on the call. Starlink is the exception where you’ll see improved voice and video quality, but it’s an expensive solution.

Hughesnet and Viasat also offer backup internet plans for businesses that can’t afford to be offline when their primary provider has an outage. These are affordable plans that offer minimal but stable business continuity. 

Starlink doesn’t offer a specific small business plan but recommends using its Priority plans for businesses. These plans provide top speeds and give customers priority in its support ticket system.

The best internet providers for rural areas

Provider
Price
Tech Type
Download speed
Get it
$50/mo.Fixed Wireless72-245 Mbps
$35-$70^Fixed Wireless300-1000 Mbps
$55/mo.°Wireless225 Mbps
$50-$75**DSL/Fiber80-940 Mbps
$39.95-$65Fixed Wireless25-250 Mbps
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
w/ Auto Pay. Regulatory fees included in monthly price for qualified accounts. See full terms.
^ w/ Auto Pay. Available in select areas.
° AutoPay and paperless billing required. Monthly State Cost Recovery Charge in TX, OH, NV applies. . Service subj. to Internet Terms of Service at att.com/internet-terms. Offers may be modified, or discontinued, at any time without notice. Other conditions may apply to all offers. Speeds based on wired connection. Actual speeds may vary. For more info, go to www.att.com/speed101.
** Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply.

Satellite internet’s greatest strength is its availability, which benefits people in rural settings. If you have a clear view of the sky, you can likely get satellite internet when no other options are available. However, fixed-wireless options are faster internet solutions for rural customers, but they are not as widely available as satellites. It’s worth investigating whether these solutions are available before committing to a satellite provider.

Use our location tool to see what internet providers are available in your area.

Enter your zip code to see what rural internet options are available to you.

Satellite internet service national averages

According to national statistics, access to satellite internet has surged by at least 150 percent since 2017. This has been extremely helpful in increasing the number of Americans who have reliable access to the web, especially those who live in rural areas. While these services pale in comparison to traditional broadband internet options, satellite internet is still vital to connecting people no matter where they're located. 

For more information on access, costs, and speeds, read our satellite internet statistics page.

The average download speed of satellite internet is 75.5 Mbps
The average monthly cost of satellite internet is $121 nationwide
HughesNet
Hughesnet | National Averages
83.5 Mbps
$89.99
average speed
average monthly cost
Starlink
Starlink | National Averages
63.5 Mbps
$165.00
average speed
average monthly cost
Viasat
Viasat | National Averages
100 Mbps
$109.99
average speed
average monthly cost

Best satellite internet providers FAQ

Home 5G internet as well as fixed wireless internet are better options than satellite for remote locations. They’re faster and more reliable, but not nearly as available as satellites for people in rural areas.

$119.44 is the average cost of satellite internet per month, with an annual average cost of $1,433.28.

Satellite internet has a 99.9 percent availability to the U.S. and territories.

Based on different use cases and needs, we recommend the three major satellite internet providers: Hughesnet for affordability, Viasat for no data cap and no contract, and Starlink for speed and convenience.

The average download speed of satellite internet is 75.56Mbps.

Person using internet on farm drinking coffee
Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared
Overall rating: 3.3/5 Speed and latency – 3.4/5 Reliability – 3.0/5 Data – 2.6/5 Value...
SpaceX rocket launch
Starlink Internet Review: Plans, Pricing, and Speeds
Overall rating: 3.8/5 Speed and latency – 4.9/5 Reliability – 3.0/5 Data – 4.5/5 Value...
People using internet in barn
Viasat Internet Review: Plans, Prices, and Deals
Viasat Internet is the fastest satellite internet option for people who live in the outskirts...