Satellite internet is often the best option for remote areas because it’s available where other internet service providers (ISPs) don’t reach. Depending on where you live and which internet service you choose, satellite internet download speeds and data limits could be your best option.
HughesNet satellite internet is a good choice because of its broad coverage map. According to HughesNet, its service area covers the entire contiguous United States. HughesNet has no hard data limits, so if you exceed your monthly data plan, you don’t lose connectivity, but you may experience reduced data speeds during high-traffic periods.
There’s also good news for night owls and early risers: HughesNet offers a Bonus Zone with 50GB of free monthly data during off-peak hours between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m.
Satellite internet plans with HughesNet are best for home usage and low-bandwidth internet activities such as email, social media, and listening to music. If you want to watch streaming video services or need to make a lot of video calls, you should consider a higher-data option like the HughesNet Fusion 200GB plan. Just be aware that HughesNet Fusion plans are less available than the satellite-internet-only plans.
If you need higher amounts of data for educational purposes or running a small business, HughesNet’s max 25Mbps speeds aren’t the best choice. We recommend either Viasat or, if you can get it, Starlink for those needs. Read more about them below.
Like HughesNet, Viasat satellite internet service is a good option for American Indian lands because its satellite internet service is available to 99% of the U.S. population, making it an option where cable and DSL internet providers don’t offer service.
Viasat costs are around the same as HughesNet for the same amount of data, but it delivers faster download speeds: up to 100Mbps, compared to HughesNet’s 25Mbps. Keep in mind that your exact plans and internet speeds will depend on your location, though.
With data limits up to 500GB and 100Mbps download speeds, Viasat can support at-home online education, power small schools on American Indian lands, or run a small business (you can finally run those credit card machines). There are even Viasat business plans available if needed. The only downside is that Viasat is costly.
Starlink truly offers the best of both worlds (HughesNet’s lower prices and Viasat’s higher speeds and data caps)—again, if you can get it. Check out more about it below.
Starlink offers high-speed, low-latency satellite internet service that uses low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites, so its service is faster and more reliable than other satellite internet options. Unfortunately, it’s not yet available all over the U.S.
According to the Starlink coverage map as of April 2023, much of Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and areas east of the Mississippi are still on a waitlist for Starlink internet service. American Indian lands in those areas will have to wait a bit longer to experience Starlink.
Even if Starlink internet service isn’t available in your area, it’s worth checking so you can get on the Starlink waitlist and gain access to the service once it opens up. With Starlink’s $90 to $120 monthly plan (depending on how congested the network is or will be in your area), you’ll get 1TB of data and up to 100Mbps speeds without a contract. That much data and speed can smoothly power your online gaming, TV streaming, online education, educational facilities, and business transactions.
So overall, if your home is on the coverage map, and you can pay $599 upfront for hardware, Starlink could be the best, fastest option for your area. We recommend getting it if you can.