We recommend HughesNet because it has better prices and lets you rollover purchased data, unlike its satellite competitor, Viasat. Even if it's not super fast, HughesNet's 25 Mbps is plenty to search the web, pay bills or shop online, and even stream TV.
Both HughesNet and Viasat limit your data usage based on the plan you pay for, but neither cuts you off once you exceed your data allotment for the month. That’s the “unlimited” satellite internet each brand advertises, but it’s not truly unlimited, either. After you use up all your full-speed data, your speeds slow to 1 to 3 Mbps.
So, yeah, the data situation isn’t ideal with satellite internet. But HughesNet’s biggest advantage is its availability. It’s often the only available internet connection in rural communities as an alternative to cable and DSL phone lines.
All HughesNet internet plans chug along at a minimum of 25 Mbps. That’s not super fast, but its plans are a better value than Viasat’s cheapest plans, which start at 12 Mbps, and it’s significantly cheaper than Viasat’s most expensive plans and their ensuing price hikes, which can get your monthly cost up to $299.99 a month. HughesNet prices stay the same for 24 months.
So as long as you have a plan with enough data for your needs, HughesNet internet speeds should support most online activities—barring multiplayer online gaming, 4K TV streaming, or tons of teleconferencing. Satellite internet generally has a hard time with these internet-heavy activities, especially with its higher latency and when weather interferes with the satellite connection.
In the next few years, HughesNet and Viasat will both be launching new satellite systems that will deliver increased internet speeds, reduced latency, and more data to their customers, making them possibly even better alternatives than Starlink despite Elon Musk’s best efforts.