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Best satellite internet providers of 2022

Viasat
Viasat

Best for faster speeds and more data

HughesNet
HughesNet

Best for affordable plans and no price hikes

Starlink
Starlink

Best potential (limited availability)

Actual speeds may vary and are not guaranteed. *Promotional price is for the first 3 months. Regular internet rate applies after 3 months ($50–$200/mo.). Service plans require a 24-month commitment.


Cara Haynes
Managing Editor
Published on April 21, 2022

Viasat, HughesNet, and Starlink are the best satellite internet providers in the US. Satellite internet is a good option for you if you live in a rural area where cable internet, fiber internet, or DSL internet providers aren't available. The best satellite internet service can give you good download speeds. And some of the best satellite internet plans from Viasat and Starlink can even give you unlimited data.

Satellite internet is more expensive per Mbps and usually comes with less data than the cable and fiber internet options you'll find in the city. But satellite internet service is available nationwide, which is why satellite internet is so popular in rural and remote areas. It's a steady internet option to get online in even the most remote locations. If you're looking to get connected in a hard-to-reach area, here's how to decide which is the best satellite provider for you.

Compare the best satellite internet providers

Provider
Price
Data
Installation
Download speeds
Get it
ViasatViasat
$49.99–$199.99/mo.*35–150 GB/mo.Free12–100 Mbps
HughesNetHughesNet
$64.99–$159.99/mo.15–75 GB/mo.Free25 Mbps
StarlinkStarlink
$110.00–$500.00/mo. Unlimited $599.00–$2,500.0050–500 Mbps

Actual speeds may vary and are not guaranteed. *Promotional price is for the first 3 months. Regular internet rate applies after 3 months ($50–$200/mo.). †Service plans require a 24-month commitment.

Choosing the best satellite internet provider for you comes down to what you value most in a satellite internet plan. For example, how much are you willing to pay for broadband internet access each month? And how much internet data do you need? The best satellite provider for you also depends on which plans and providers are available where you live. All satellite 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.

With a download speed up to 100 Mbps, Viasat is the best satellite internet provider for the fastest speeds and higher data caps—but it'll come at a price. Viasat's satellite internet plans are the most expensive and prices go up significantly after the three-month promotional period. 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. 

HughesNet, on the other hand, tops out at 25 Mbps download speeds but its prices stay the same throughout your entire 2-year contract. HughesNet offers smaller max monthly data caps. But HughesNet makes up for it with the Bonus Zone, which allows you to use data during off-peak hours with no limits. That said, 25 Mbps is really not that fast for an internet service provider, especially when you consider that's the max speed you'll get with HughesNet. 

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 recently launched a Starlink Business plan, which offers internet speeds up to 500 Mbps with an installation fee of $2,500. Wowza!

Unlike the geostationary satellite network employed by Viasat and HughesNet, Starlink employs low Earth orbit 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 access and speeds are spotty, and the hefty installation fees makes its lower monthly price point less enticing. 

Location
Is satellite internet service your best internet option?

We recommend satellite internet only if it's the best internet provider option available in your area. Use our zip code tool at the top of the page to see all your available internet providers. It will also show you all the best satellite internet plans where you live. 

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

Pros and cons of satellite internet

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

Viasat: Best for faster speeds and more data

Best for fast speeds
Viasat
Viasat
With generous data allowances up to 150 GB per month, Viasat is a reliable choice for home internet in rural areas. Viasat speeds reach 100 Mbps in many locations.
Pro Bullet Wide availability
Pro Bullet Speeds up to 100 Mbps
Con Bullet Prices go up after 3 months
$49.99–$199.99
/mo.

Why choose Viasat?

Viasat offers faster speeds than HughesNet—up to 100 Mbps in many locations. That’s four times faster than the top HughesNet speed. Viasat also offers much more data than HughesNet plans. With Viasat’s largest plan, you can get 150 GB of data per month, which is twice as much data as you can get on HughesNet’s largest plan.

Viasat plans vary by location, so don't be surprised if you sign up for Viasat and see some differences in what's offered than what we have listed here. That said, these four Viasat satellite internet plans are the most common. The data cap range you see reflected in the table below will be determined by where you live. The reason for the variability is Viasat has differing capacity depending on which geostationary satellite beam your home is under. 

If you want the fastest satellite internet 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.

Viasat

Viasat plans and pricing

Plan
Promo Price
Speed
Data Cap
Regular Price
Unlimited Gold 12
$150
/mo
Up to 12 Mbps65 GB
$200
/mo
Unlimited Silver 25
$69.99
/mo
Up to 25 Mbps120 GB
$99.99
/mo
Unlimited Gold 30
$99.99
/mo
Up to 30 Mbps100 GB
$149.99
/mo
Unlimited Gold 50
$99.99
/mo
Up to 50 Mbps200 GB
$149.99
/mo
Unlimited Platinum 100
$149.99
/mo
Up to 100 Mbps300 GB
$199.99
/mo

Data as of 2/23/2022. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. 

*Promotional price is for the first 3 months. Regular internet rate applies after 3 months. One-time installation fee may apply. Equipment lease fee is $12.99/mo. Taxes apply. Minimum 24 month service term required.

HughesNet: Best for affordable plans and no price hikes

Best for affordable plans
HughesNet
HughesNet
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 25 Mbps, and data allowances top out at 75 GB per month.
Pro Bullet Most affordable prices
Pro Bullet Bonus Zone data
Con Bullet Speeds max out at 25 Mbps
Pro Bullet Now offering 50% more data!
$64.99–$159.99
/mo.

Why choose HughesNet?

HughesNet has the lowest long-term prices on satellite internet—although it isn’t the best choice for everybody. HughesNet plans are cheaper because they offer plans with less data than Viasat plans. If your household doesn’t use much data because you use the internet only occasionally, you could use a HughesNet plan and save money. HughesNet plans also don't come with the massive price hikes you'll get with a Viasat plan. The price you pay when you sign up is the price you'll pay for 24 months.

HughesNet does offer a Bonus Zone, where you can use extra data between 2:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. One of the best things about HughesNet satellite internet is that it doesn’t increase your monthly price after three months like Viasat does. It’s not the fastest satellite internet provider, but it’s nice to know your bill will stay the same for the length of the 2-year contract.

For the lowest price on satellite broadband internet, go with HughesNet. Read our full hands-on HughesNet review to learn more.

HughesNet

HughesNet plans and pricing

Data plan
Price
Speed
15 GB
$64.99
/mo.
25 Mbps
30 GB
$74.99
/mo.
25 Mbps
45 GB
$109.99
/mo.
25 Mbps
75 GB
$159.99
/mo.
25 Mbps

*Data effective 2/23/2022. Service plans require a 24-month commitment.

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). 

Money
HughesNet plans now offer 50% more data.

HughesNet recently raised its data caps by 50%, which is a big deal! The max HughesNet data cap is now 75 GB (previously 50 GB). Monthly prices went up as well, but only by $5–$10 per month. That's definitely worth it for 50% more data on all HughesNet plans. 

Starlink: Best potential (limited availability)

Best potential (limited availability)
Starlink
Starlink
Starlink is available in limited areas, although you must join a six-month waiting list. The upfront cost for equipment is $599.00–$2,500.00. But monthly service is reasonably priced at $110.00 for unlimited data and $500.00 for Starlink Business.
Pro Bullet Unlimited data
Pro Bullet Faster satellite internet speeds
Con Bullet Super limited availability
$110.00–$500.00
/mo.

Why choose Starlink?

The most enticing thing about Starlink is that it currently offers truly unlimited data and fast internet speeds. In addition, Starlink may perform better for fast-paced gaming since it has lower latency thanks to low-Earth orbit satellites. It does have a hefty installation cost ($599 for Starlink equipment and $2,500 for Starlink Business equipment). But if Starlink satellite internet is available in your area, you're very lucky and it's worth checking out.

On the other hand, Elon Musk has said that he plans on reducing the equipment cost in the future, so it might be worth waiting a few years until the network is more fleshed out. However, Starlink just launched Starlink Business, which has an even heftier equipment fee at $2,500. You'll also have to pay $500 a month for Starlink Business, although you will get unheard of 500 Mbps satellite internet speeds. That's faster than most landline options.

If you use oodles of satellite internet data each month—and you have $599–$2,500 to invest upfront in satellite internet equipment—try Starlink or Starlink Business (as long as it's in your area). Read our full Starlink review to learn more.

Starlink

Starlink plans and pricing

Plan
Price*
Equipment fee
Speed
Starlink Internet
$110.00
/mo.
$599.0050–250 Mbps
Starlink Business
$500.00
/mo.
$2,500.00150–500 Mbps

*Plus hardware, shipping & handling fees, and tax. Fully refundable. Depending on location, some orders may take 6 months or more to fulfill.

Starlink satellite internet

Best satellite internet plans for rural areas

Most recommended
Viasat
Viasat Unlimited Platinum 100
• Price: $149.99–$199.99/mo.*
• Download speed: Up to 100 Mbps
• Data: 150 GB/mo.
Best for basics
HughesNet
HughesNet 30 GB Data Plan
• Price: $74.99/mo.*
• Download speed: 25 Mbps
• Data: 30 GB/mo.

*Promotional price is for the first 3 months. Regular internet rate applies after 3 months. Actual speeds may vary and are not guaranteed.

The Viasat Unlimited Platinum 100 plan is about as good as satellite internet can get. With speeds up to 100 Mbps and a generous data cap, you can get rural internet that will keep up with a modern lifestyle. The catch? Viasat's fastest plan isn't available everywhere. Although Viasat internet is available nationwide, the fastest speeds are offered only to select areas. You'll have to see which satellite internet plans are available where you live through Viasat.

If you just need an internet plan but don't plan on using it much, go with the HughesNet 30 GB Data Plan. You'll get speeds up to 25 Mbps, which is fast enough for a few people to do most things online. The price is also impossible to beat. Choose this plan if you just want your satellite internet to be available but not used very often.

Learn more about Viasat vs. HughesNet.

What is satellite internet and how does it work?

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Satellite internet is wireless internet that beams a connection from a satellite in space to a satellite on your house. The satellite on 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 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.

That's where satellite internet comes in. Unlike most other types of internet service, satellite internet doesn’t need any land-based infrastructure running out to your home. Instead, a home satellite dish communicates with a satellite in space to provide internet service. So, unlike landline internet providers, satellite internet is available virtually everywhere. That means you can get satellite internet anywhere you are, just as long as you have a clear view of the southern sky and a place to install your satellite dish.

Data transfers from your home internet devices to the satellite in space and then to the Network Operations Center back on Earth. All of this happens in about half a second. Thanks to satellite internet, people can still enjoy internet access even if where they live lacks cable or fiber infrastructure.

What makes Starlink satellites different from existing satellite internet providers like Viasat and HughesNet is the type of satellites it uses. Starlink relies on low Earth orbit satellites, which means it has thousands more satellites that circle the Earth at a lower altitude, making it possible to offer faster speeds and lower latency. Providers like Viasat and HughesNet use a geostationary satellite network that operates in a higher orbit. However, there are limitations to low Earth orbit technology that may make Starlink by SpaceX service more spotty than Viasat and HughesNet.

Other players in the low Earth orbit satellite provider game include Jeff Bezos with Project Kuiper. Kuiper plans to offer a similar product to Starlink, but with a smaller terminal and at a more affordable cost. They want to make internet access affordable to remote areas. Kuiper by Jeff Bezos is not yet available as a satellite provider, but it will be within the next couple of years.

Learn more about how satellite internet works.

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

More rural internet options beyond satellite internet

Although satellite internet is by far the most available internet type, there are several other satellite internet alternatives for rural areas, including fixed wireless and 5G home internet. Going with one of these alternatives to satellite internet might be a better internet access option for you. With 5G home internet and mobile hotspots, you can even take your internet on the road with you to your cabin or RV. Explore more rural internet service providers:

 

Learn more about the best rural internet providers.

You can also get rural internet from national mobile providers like Verizon and T-Mobile. Check out our reviews to learn more:

FAQ about the best satellite internet providers

How much does satellite internet cost?

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

Is satellite internet fast?

Satellite internet is not as fast as fiber or cable internet, but it can reach speeds up to 500 Mbps with Starlink Business. As Starlink continues to develop its network, satellite internet speeds may get faster. Starlink has already been changing widely held preconceptions of what satellite internet is capable of. With lower speed and latency, Starlink may be the innovation that makes satellite internet fast.

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 area, 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 available everywhere, which is its main strength. Satellite internet is not a good option if you have cable internet, fiber internet, or DSL 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 where you don't have any other internet options. Your satellite internet dish will connect directly with your modem/router, which will translate the signal from your dish into Wi-Fi for your home. Satellite internet Wi-Fi networks work just like any other Wi-Fi network. Additionally, satellite internet makes it possible for you to get Wi-Fi everywhere, providing Wi-Fi speeds up to 500 Mbps, depending on which plans and providers are available in your area.