Viasat (Exede) Satellite Internet Review

Is the satellite internet service the best there is for rural internet?

Viasat logo
Overall Rating4 / 5
✔️ Plans starting at $30/mo.

✔️ Speeds up to 100 Mbps

❌ Long-term contract

 

How good is Viasat satellite internet?

Viasat Internet is currently the fastest satellite internet option for people who live in the outskirts of a city or in remote or rural areas.

With speeds up to 100 Mbps, Viasat internet service can support video streaming or several people browsing the internet at the same time. Overall, we found that Viasat offers a decent internet experience. Just remember that faster Viasat plans with more data (e.g., Unlimited Gold and Platinum plans) are more expensive compared to HughesNet and other traditional internet service plans (cable, DSL, etc.). Though Viasat offers a variety of service plans (ten total), some may not be available in your area—you can check your address to see which plans are available where you live.

How Viasat is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

In accordance with the Keep Americans Connected Pledge from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Viasat is making service changes to help customers impacted by COVID-19. For the next 60 days, Viasat will do the following for both residential and small-business customers:

1. Not cancel service if you’re unable to pay bills

2. Waive late fees

3. Allow public access to its Wi-Fi hotspots

Of course, the first two changes are dependent on customers experiencing economic disruptions related to COVID-19. For more details, read the full statement from Viasat.

Viasat internet plans and pricing

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Plans Intro Price* Download speed Data caps Regular Price
Liberty 12 $30/mo. Up to 12 Mbps 12 GB $50/mo.
Liberty 25 $50/mo. UP to 12 Mbps 25 GB $75/mo.
Liberty 50 $75/mo. Up to 12 Mbps 75 GB $100/mo.
Unlimited Bronze 12 $50/mo. Up to 12 Mbps 35 GB $70/mo.
Unlimited Silver 12 $100/mo. Up to 12 Mbps 45 GB $150/mo.
Unlimited Gold 12 $150/mo. Up to 12 Mbps 65 GB $200/mo.
Unlimited Silver 25 $70/mo. Up to 25 Mbps 60 GB $100/mo.
Unlimited Gold 30 $100/mo. Up to 30 Mbps 100 GB $150/mo.
Unlimited Gold 50 $100/mo. Up to 50 Mbps 100 GB $150/mo.
Unlimited Platinum 100 $150/mo. Up to 100 Mbps 150 GB $200/mo.

Data valid as of 5/28/2020. Speeds and pricing vary by area and are subject to change. 

*for the first three months. Price increases after 3 months.

How much does Viasat cost?

Viasat pricing starts at $30 a month for the Liberty 12 plan. If the Liberty 12 plan isn’t available where you live, the lowest price you’ll get is $50 a month for the Unlimited Bronze plan. (Both plans are limited to 12 GB of data, and the monthly price goes up after three months.)

The Unlimited Silver plan, which Viasat lists as its most popular plan on its website, starts at $70 a month for the introductory period (the regular monthly price is $100 a month). If you want all the bells and whistles that satellite internet can offer, you can opt for the Unlimited Platinum plan for the introductory price of $150 a month, but that jumps to $200 a month after three months.

Higher-priced, faster plans also deliver an increasing allotment of data—for example, the Unlimited Platinum 100 plan gives you 100 GB of data per month.

What does 12 GB of data get me?

If you’re wondering what you can do with 12 GB of data per month, keep in mind that downloading or streaming one movie in HD requires 4 to 6 GB (1.5 GB for standard definition). So, with only 12 GB of data every month, you can watch a few movies, send and receive emails, and do occasional research online. (Streaming video in low definition takes around 0.3 GB per hour, so you can definitely save data by sacrificing video quality.)

If you’re a conservative internet user or supplement with cellular internet (e.g., check email or browse using cellular data), 12 GB may be more than enough, but if you want more data or speed from Viasat’s service, you’ll need to pay more.

You likely noticed already, but it’s worth repeating: Viasat prices jump by $20–$50 a month after the first three months. (HughesNet, Viasat’s direct competitor, keeps prices locked for the entire two-year contract.)

Overall cost of Viasat (two years)

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Equipment leaseIntro priceRegular price2-year total**
Cheapest plan:
Liberty 12
$9.99/mo.$30/mo.$50/mo.~$1,380
Most popular:*
Unlimited Silver 25
$9.99/mo.$70/mo.$100/mo.~$2,550
Fastest plan:
Unlimited Platinum 100
$9.99/mo.$150/mo.$200/mo.~$4,890

*According to Viasat’s find a plan tool on its website.

**This is just an estimated cost (e.g., taxes not included)

Viasat Internet speeds

Viasat Internet plans can reach up to 100 Mbps in some areas thanks to its newest ViaSat-2 satellite that launched in 2018. That speed is fast enough to compete with cable or DSL internet, so pardon us if we seem a little overexcited.

With up to four times the download speed of HughesNet, Viasat offers the fastest satellite internet speeds in the industry. And faster speeds mean more than less buffering—it also means your video streaming picture quality gets better.

How fast is Viasat internet?

Viasat plans offer download speeds up to 100 Mbps. (All Viasat plans advertise 3 Mbps upload speeds.) 100 Mbps download speed is fast enough to compete with cable or DSL internet, but that speed is only on the Unlimited Platinum 100 plan. Nine of the ten possible Viasat plans (all subject to availability in your area) fall in the 12 to 50 Mbps download speed range (see Viasat plans table above).

How much data do I get?

All Viasat plans technically have unlimited data. We say “technically” because you still have “data thresholds.” All data you use (upload and download) counts toward that threshold. When you hit your monthly data threshold, your speeds can slow down during periods of heavy congestion. (The technical term for this is data deprioritization.) At the start of the next billing period, your data use will reset to zero.

If there are fewer people using the Viasat network, like in the wee hours of the morning, you probably won’t notice the data deprioritization much. Your speed might even stay the same as usual. But when lots of people are online during evenings and weekends, and your partner has maxed out the data binge-watching Netflix or Hulu all month, you’ll experience much slower speeds.

*Pro tip: How to keep an eye on data usage

The best way to avoid data deprioritization is to get a package with a high data threshold and keep an eye on your data usage. If you do end up going over and getting deprioritized, try to plan around the high-traffic times by downloading videos or games during off-peak hours when your speeds will be faster. If you keep hitting the data threshold every month, add a DVD plan to your Netflix account for data-free binge-watching.

Viasat installation and equipment

Viasat offers free installation, which is standard for residential satellite internet service—especially since self-installation is out of the question. (You need a Viasat certified technician to install the satellite dish.)

As part of the service, you have to lease or purchase a Viasat WiFi Gateway (a modem/router combo) from Viasat. You’ll need the provided modem to interpret the satellite internet signal, but you can use a different router if you choose (more on that later).

You’ll have to pay the full monthly lease of $9.99 per month regardless of which router you use, so you won’t save any money by using your own equipment.

If you want to purchase the Viasat WiFi Gateway rather than rent it, you can buy it for $299.99, but we wouldn’t recommend doing that at this time (we’re expecting significant changes to satellite internet technology in the near future). If you’re not sure how long you’ll stay with Viasat, we recommend renting. Plus, at the end of a two-year period, renting is $60 cheaper than buying.

Viasat equipment fees

  • Viasat WiFi Gateway monthly lease: $9.99/mo.
  • Viasat WiFi Gateway purchase price: $299.99

Remember: Get permission to install your satellite dish.

If you have an HOA or rent your home, make sure you get permission to install a satellite dish first. The last thing you want is to install your dish and get a notice in the mail a week later telling you to take it down.

Viasat customer satisfaction

Internet service providers have long struggled with making customers happy, and the same issues that plague big-name ISPs (lack of competition, slower than advertised speeds, and more) are magnified with satellite ISPs. That doesn’t mean you won’t be happy with your service—it just means that internet ratings tend to land in the mediocre range, so keep that context in mind.

Still, Viasat beats out HughesNet, the other major satellite internet provider, in just about every service category, which includes actual download/upload speeds and customer support. Viasat is the better option for satellite internet service, but it also costs more than HughesNet, the second-place option.

Bottom line: Is Viasat satellite internet any good ?

If you’re in a rural area and need internet service, Viasat is a good option. Its speeds and data deprioritization thresholds outshine HughesNet, though you do end up paying extra for it. Satellite internet plans are more expensive than internet options in urban areas, but a higher monthly internet bill is usually worth it to stay connected online from wherever you’re spending your time.

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Viasat FAQ

Does Viasat require a phone line?

No, Viasat does not require a phone line to get satellite internet service. All you need is the right Viasat equipment and a clear view of the southern sky.

Can I stream video with Viasat satellite internet?

Yes, you can stream with Viasat. However, there’s a big difference between trying to stream Mad Max: Fury Road in 4K to your 70-inch TV and watching a how-to cooking video on YouTube via your smartphone. The latter is feasible, but the former is implausible using a basic satellite internet plan.

Viasat does offer streaming quality recommendations for its plans (see below), but keep in mind that they’re not guaranteed.

  • Unlimited Bronze 25: 360p
  • Unlimited Silver 25: 480p
  • Unlimited Gold 30: 720p
  • Unlimited Gold 50: 720p
  • Unlimited Platinum 100: 1080p

How fast is Viasat Internet?

Viasat offers five different speed tiers across eight different packages. The top download speeds for these packages range from 12 Mbps up to 100 Mbps. (Internet packages from HughesNet, the other leading satellite internet provider, top out at 25 Mbps.)

How do I get TV service with my Viasat Internet plan?

You can pair your Viasat Internet service with satellite TV from DISH or DIRECTV. Satellite TV requires a separate satellite dish. So, if you get Viasat Internet and DISH or DIRECTV, each company will have to install its own satellite dish.

Can I use a VoIP with my Viasat Internet service?

Yes, you can use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) with Viasat, but it will use up your data unless you use Viasat’s own VoIP, called Viasat Voice. Like its internet service, Viasat Voice is a monthly subscription service.

Does Viasat work with a VPN?

It’s possible to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) with your Viasat Internet service, but it may not perform well with one. Satellite internet, even from Viasat, is susceptible to high latency (lag). Because a VPN continually encrypts and decrypts information as it leaves or enters your network, every piece of data is like initiating a new download. This compounds the effects of high latency and can increase your data usage by about 5–15%.

Can I play video games with Viasat Internet?

The short answer is yes, but online gaming with satellite internet can be problematic. Viasat is no exception. While you’ll get plenty of speed from Viasat, the lag associated with satellite internet can be frustrating. It has the biggest impact on real-time activities like online gaming. For some helpful tips about the best ways to play video games online using satellite internet, check out Your Guide to Gaming on Satellite Internet.

What’s the cheapest Viasat Internet plan?

The Liberty 12 plan ($30 a month) is the cheapest Viasat plan. Viasat plans vary by location, so the Liberty 12 plan may not be available in your area. Also, prices for these plans can change at any time.

Can I get Viasat for my rural business?

Yes, Viasat offers a wide array of business internet solutions that are ideal for anything from small businesses to airlines.

How do I see my monthly Viasat bill?

To see your Viasat bill, just log into your Viasat account.

How do I pay my Viasat bill?

The easiest way to pay your Viasat bill is to log into your account using the link above, following the prompts to make a payment. You can pay your Viasat bill with a credit or debit card. Checks are not accepted.

Who do I contact with Viasat billing questions?

For questions about your Viasat bill, visit its Contact Us page to submit your question by chat or email. Or you can simply call 1-855-810-1308.

Does Viasat charge cancellation fees?

Yes. Viasat Internet services require a two-year agreement. If you cancel your service before the end of that two-year period, Viasat will charge $15 for every month remaining on the contract. For example, if you cancel after the first year, you’ll be charged $180.

Is Viasat available in my area?

Viasat satellite internet is available almost everywhere in the US.

Is Exede available in my area?

Exede Internet was the old brand name for Viasat residential internet services. In 2017, Viasat stopped using the Exede brand name. Now it markets all its residential internet services as Viasat Internet. While existing Exede customers were allowed to keep their service plans, no new Exede plans are available. However, Viasat Internet is available almost everywhere in North America.

How do I install Viasat satellite internet?

Viasat Internet requires professional installation to mount and align the satellite dish that receives the signal. There is no self-installation option. You’ll schedule an installation time when you order your service. Along with installing the dish, the installation technician will help you set up the connection on the main computer you’ll use on the internet. The Viasat installation technician will need an adult (18 or older) to verify the credit card on the account and sign for the installation.

What equipment do I need for Viasat Internet?

Viasat will provide all the equipment you need for a fast internet connection and home network. Most setups include the satellite dish and a modem with a built-in Wi-Fi router. You can also use a third-party router if you prefer, but you must use the modem issued by Viasat. Also, Viasat charges a monthly equipment lease fee of $9.99.

Will Viasat Internet work with a wireless router?

Yes. In fact, the Viasat modem comes with a built-in wireless router. If you prefer a different router, you can use it, but you’ll still need to use Viasat’s modem and pay the monthly equipment fee.

What is Viasat?

Viasat is a satellite communications company. It provides satellite internet and phone services to government, corporate, and residential clients. Its residential internet service was formerly branded as Exede Internet. After purchasing WildBlue, a smaller satellite internet provider, it also provided services in some areas under that brand name.

In 2017, Viasat dropped the brand names Exede and WildBlue and now offers all its residential internet service under the name Viasat Internet.

What happened to Exede Internet?

Viasat used to offer residential satellite internet service under the brand name Exede Internet. It dropped the name Exede in 2017. Now it uses the name Viasat Internet for all its residential internet services. While all new service plans are marketed as Viasat Internet plans, customers who were on existing Exede plans were grandfathered into the new brand, and most could keep their service agreement.

What is Via-Sat-2?

ViaSat-2 is the satellite launched by Viasat in 2017 that went live for service in 2018. It has a huge throughput capacity that allows it to provide satellite internet service to airlines and other large corporate clients while still offering up to 100 Mbps download speeds to residential customers.

About Viasat (formerly Exede)

Viasat is a huge satellite communications company, which is why it’s one of the top two providers of residential satellite internet in the United States. In addition to residential, it also provides satellite internet service to corporate and government clients. This includes providing in-flight Wi-Fi on major airlines like JetBlue, United Airlines, Virgin America, and more.

The company has long used the name Viasat for its overall business, but its residential internet service used to go by Exede Internet. After launching the massive ViaSat-2 satellite in 2018, which can deliver faster speeds to more customers, the company stopped using the name Exede and rebranded its residential satellite internet service as Viasat Internet.

Download speeds will get another upgrade in 2021. Viasat is currently building a new satellite system, called ViaSat-3. The ViaSat-3 will increase customer download speed tremendously, possibly up to 1 gigabit per second (1,000 Mbps). This new system will also expand Viasat’s coverage to include Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

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