How Much Does Satellite Internet Cost?


Dave Schafer
Researcher & Writer
Read More
February 01, 2022

Average monthly cost of satellite internet

The average cost of a satellite internet plan in the US is about $110 per month. This is more than the average cost of a cable or fiber plan, which is about $50 per month.

The upside is that satellite internet plans are available anywhere in the country. The plan prices are also consistent from place to place, whereas cable and fiber prices can vary from one town to the next.

There are three residential satellite internet providers in the US: Viasat, HughesNet, and Starlink. Viasat, on average, is about $27.00 more per month than HughesNet, but Viasat speeds and data caps tend to be higher. The average price of a Viasat plan after the promo period is $129.08, while the average price for HughesNet is $102.49. Starlink currently offers only one plan with limited availability for $99.00 per month.

Average speed of satellite internet

The average speed of a satellite internet plan is 31 Mbps. This may not seem that fast, but it’s actually pretty good (25 Mbps is considered broadband by the FCC). Unless you live with a lot of people who all stream at the same time, it should be plenty of speed for everyday tasks.

Also, keep in mind that this average speed is a little skewed by the fact that HughesNet’s plans max out at 25 Mbps. For context, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) considers a broadband connection to be 25 Mbps or higher, so you’ll be right on the line but still hanging with the broadband crew.

If you want more speed than that, Viasat offers plans up to 100 Mbps. You’ll just have to check speed availability in your area (and pay a little more) to get it.

Provider
Introductory price
Download speed
Availability
Get it
Viasat$30.00–$150.00/mo.* ($50.00–$200.00 after 3 months)12–100 MbpsNationwide
HughesNet$64.99–$159.99/mo.†25 MbpsNationwide
Starlink$99.00/mo. + $499.00 one-time equipment fee100–200 MbpsLimited

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.

What makes a satellite internet plan more expensive?

Speed

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?

Data

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 15–75 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 300 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.

Starlink offers plans with truly unlimited data, which is one reason why it's so exciting. The only problem is Starlink availability is highly limited as it continues to roll out its network.

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.

Other costs to consider

Installation

Both Viasat and HughesNet offer free installation if you meet certain requirements. For Viasat, you can get free installation if you’re a new customer. Just ask about the installation fee rebate program. Otherwise it’ll cost you $99.95 to install Viasat.

If you’re getting HughesNet, you’ll have to buy your equipment outright ($449.99) to get the installation fee waived. Leasing your equipment ($14.99/mo.) from HughesNet will require a $99 activation fee.

Starlink requires a hefty one-time $499.00 equipment fee. But the equipment is user-friendly enough that you can just install it yourself rather than wait on a professional.

Equipment

Viasat charges $9.99 per month for equipment rentals, with the option to pay a lifetime equipment lease for $299.99. HughesNet charges $14.99 per month with a $449.99 purchase price. Starlink charges a mandatory $499.00 equipment fee—leasing it monthly isn't an option.

Paying upfront for equipment can save you money in the long run if you plan to stick with one service provider, but we recommend just sticking with the monthly lease if you’re not sure.

Price hikes

One major thing to keep in mind is that all Viasat packages go up in price after a three-month introductory period. The exact amount of the increase depends on which plan you select, but it can be anywhere from $20–$50 more per month.

HughesNet plans don’t have price increases: what you sign up for is what you’ll pay for the length of your two-year term.

Methodology

We rounded up the details on all the packages offered by HughesNet, Viasat, and Starlink. Pooling this data allowed us to determine the average available price, speed, and data cap for satellite internet. Since these plans are all offered nationwide, this gives us a fairly accurate picture of the actual averages.

Dave Schafer
Written by
Dave Schafer
Dave has written professionally for tech companies and consumer technology sites for nearly five years, with a special focus on TV and internet. He uses his industry expertise to help readers at HighSpeedInternet.com get the most out of their services. No matter the project, he prefers his coffee black (the stronger, the better).