What makes a satellite internet plan more expensive?
Internet packages are usually priced based on how much speed they offer. Faster packages cost more. This is how Viasat prices its plans, and it makes choosing a package relatively easy. Need more speed? Just bump your plan up a tier.
HughesNet plan speeds are all the same though. It prices its plans based on data caps, which we’ll discuss more below.
Wait, how much speed do you actually need?
This really depends on two things:
- What are you using the internet for? Streaming HD video requires a lot more speed than just browsing the web.
- How many people will be using the internet at the same time? If two people are streaming at once, you’ll need twice the bandwidth to avoid any performance issues.
To get a more exact estimate of how much speed you need, take this quiz: How Much Internet Speed Do I Need?
HughesNet bases its satellite internet prices on data cap rather than speed. All HughesNet packages offer the same speed: 25 Mbps. Each package tier then offers an additional 10–20 GB of data.
Viasat plans also have increasing data limits as the speed (and price) increases, but that’s not the main way the packages are advertised.
The average data cap for satellite internet plans is 60 GB. The highest data cap available is 150 GB on Viasat’s Unlimited Platinum 100 plan. Keep in mind that these limits are more like thresholds. When you reach them, you can still use your service, but your speed will be slowed to 1–3 Mbps (virtually unusable). But at least there are no overage fees.
How much data is enough?
Again, this depends largely on what you’re doing with your connection. If you only browse the web and check email occasionally, you can probably get by with a basic 35 GB plan.
However, if you’re gaming or streaming music and (especially) video, you’ll eat through that very quickly. Watching an hour of Netflix in HD can use up to 3 GB of data, so more data is always better—especially if you stream a lot.