Satellite internet speeds tend to be slower compared to other types of broadband. Satellite internet also suffers from higher latency than other types of internet connections, mostly because it has to travel such a long distance through the atmosphere, rather than through a high-speed cable. This will be annoying-but-survivable with most internet activities, but it makes fast-paced activities like online gaming pretty much impossible.
Viasat, the faster satellite Internet Service Provider (ISP), offers a top speed of 100 Mbps. In a vacuum, this wouldn’t be bad: 100 Mbps is enough for several people to stream HD video simultaneously. But when you take the lower data caps and higher latency of satellite internet into account, 100 Mbps loses some of its appeal.
HughesNet plans all have the same speed: 25 Mbps. This is enough for doing things like browsing, emailing, and streaming, but it may come up short if you have multiple people trying to stream at once.
The other shortcoming of satellite internet is pricing. At equal speeds, satellite internet will almost always be more expensive than any other type of internet service.
Most of this price disparity comes from the cost of operating the satellite networks that power Viasat and HughesNet. What you get in return is something that no other ISP can truly offer: nationwide availability. Both Viasat and HughesNet are available basically everywhere in the US.
Satellite internet is generally best for those who live in rural areas without better land-based alternatives.
In rural areas, it’s often the case that satellite internet might be the only broadband connection available. Many places in the rural US don’t have access to DSL, cable, or fiber connections, and some areas are still stuck on dial-up (if you can believe it).
It may even be that your town has broadband access, but your property is too remote for cables to run to it. In these situations, it may be worth it to pay the premium for satellite internet to get a more usable speed.