When you become a new homeowner finding an internet provider may seem tricky. Read on to learn about Viasat vs Hughesnet and which is best for you.
Viasat vs Hughesnet: Which Is Best for Your Internet Needs in 2020
According to the 2018 American Community Survey, over 8.4 million households use satellite internet.
That's around 6% of the total population in America. Most households who choose satellite internet live in rural areas where cable isn't offered.
Two of the largest satellite providers in the U.S. are Viasat and HughesNet. Are you wondering which internet provider is the best for you? In this guide, we'll do an in-depth comparison of Viasat vs HughesNet.
Viasat vs HughesNet: Where's the Coverage At?
In terms of coverage density, the far south in Key West, Florida and then much of Michigan, and other extreme rural areas, seem to use Viasat the most. HughesNet is scattered throughout the rest of the U.S.
HughesNet Internet Plans
HughesNet offers a variety of internet package plans. Each plan varies in price based on how much GB data you want.
10 GB Data Plan - This plan starts at $59.99/month. The download speed is up to 25 Mbps, and upload speed is up to 3 Mbps. If you exceed 10 GB for the month, you'll stay connected, but at reduced speeds. This plan is best for light internet users who stream around 15 hours of video in a given month.
20 GB Data Plan - Starting at $69.99/month, the 20 GB data plan gives a download speed up to 25 Mbps and an upload speed up to 3 Mbps. The average internet user will find this plan the most appealing. This plan is able to accommodate streaming up to 30 hours of video per month with ease.
30 GB Data Plan - This plan starts at $99.99/month. It offers the same download and upload speeds as the other plans. If you have a family who all enjoy gaming and streaming their own shows in their rooms, you'll want this plan. The 30 GB data plan is able to handle streaming up to 45 hours of video in a given month.
50 GB Data Plan - Starting at $149.99/month, the 50 GB data plan affords the same download and upload speed as all the other plans. If you have a larger family who are all heavy internet users, this is the plan for you. This plan is able to stream up to 72 hours of video per month without any issues.
Viasat Internet Plans
Viasat internet service plans start out cheaper at $30/month, making it a cheaper option than HughesNet. Its download speeds also have a wider range, starting at 12 Mbps and going up to 100 Mbps.
There are multiple Viasat unlimited internet plans to choose from. However, be aware that “unlimited” doesn’t mean they give unlimited high-speed data. Each plan gives a certain amount of priority data, then you’ll hit a “soft cap” where the internet speed slows down.
Liberty 12 - This is the cheapest Viasat plan at $30/month. The download speed is at 12 Mbps, and it has a data cap at 12 GB.
Liberty 25 - The Liberty 25 plan starts at $50/month. You get 12 Mbps with the plan and a data cap of 25 GB.
Liberty 50 - The final Liberty plan, this one starts at $75/month. You get 12 Mbps with the plan, and up to 75 GB.
Unlimited Bronze 12 - The first step in the Bronze plan, this one starts at $50/month. It gives a download speed of 12 MBps, and has a data cap of 35 GB.
Unlimited Bronze 25 - This plan starts at $50/month. Bronze has a download speed of 25 Mbps, and a data cap of 35 GB.
Unlimited Silver 12 - The bottom Silver tier, this plan is $100/month. You can get 12 Mbps for your download speed, and have a data ap of 45 GB.
Unlimited Silver 25 - Silver starts at $70/month. The plan gives 25 Mbps, and has a data cap of 60 GB.
Unlimited Gold 12 - The bottom tier Gold plan, this starts at $150/month. You get a download speed of 12 Mbps, and a data cap of 65 GB.
Unlimited Gold 30 - The next step up in the Gold tier, this plan is $100/month. You get a download speed of 30 Mbps, and a data cap of 100 GB.
Unlimited Gold 50 - This plan begins at $100/month, and gives a download speed of 50 Mbps and gives up to 100 GB.
Unlimited Platinum 100 - Platinum begins at $150/month. The plan affords 100 Mbps for downloads, and has a data cap of 150 GB.
Viasat vs HughesNet: Price Comparison
With Viasat, you're going to pay more than you will with HughesNet. However, Viasat also offers higher speeds than HughesNet.
Much of what you'll pay will depend upon where you live in the United States. You might be able to find a fast, cheap plan in one state, but then a slower plan at the same cost in another state. It all depends on the region you live in.
With Viasat, after the first three months, the price you pay will go up a fair amount. For example, the Liberty 12 plan may start at $30/month, but after the three-month mark, you'll be looking at $50/month.
Here's how the other Viasat plans price out after three months:
- Liberty 25 - Starts at $50, goes up to $75.
- Liberty 50 - Starts at $75, goes up to $100.
- Unlimited Bronze 12 - Starts at $50, goes up to $70.
- Unlimited Silver 12 - Starts at $100, goes up to $150.
- Unlimited Silver 25 - Starts at $70, goes up to $100.
- Unlimited Gold 12 - Starts at $150, goes up to $200.
- Unlimited Gold 30 - Starts at $100, goes up to $150.
- Unlimited Gold 50 - Starts at $100, goes up to $150.
- Unlimited Platinum 100 - Starts at $150, goes up to $200.
HughesNet is more straightforward and consistent with its pricing. The price that you sign up for remains the same for your whole two-year contract.
Which Provider Has the Best Customer Service?
You have to turn to the satellite internet reviews of the two providers to determine the quality of their customer service. When looking at HughesNet vs Viasat internet reviews, you'll notice that both are competitive in the customer service field.
Both internet providers offer phone, email, and online chat customer service. If that isn't enough, both also have an online forum where the community on there can give additional help.
Unlike many cable internet providers who charge to install their equipment, both Viasat and HughesNet do free installation. Customers do not have the option to install their own equipment. Though considering installation is free, why would you want to?
Customer service is helpful with both providers and will work with you to choose a time that works best for a technician to come out and install the equipment. All satellite internet requires hardware (like a dish) to be set up outside of the house. The placement of the hardware has a direct impact on how fast the internet runs uninterrupted.
Equipment: Lease or Purchase?
Viasat internet plans all come with free standard installation. If you choose to lease the satellite equipment, you'll pay $9.99/month. This also includes the cost of built-in WiFi.
Viasat also has an option where you can do an upfront lifetime prepaid flat-rate amount of $299.99. If you plan to stay with Viasat for more than two years, this will be the most cost-efficient option for you.
HughesNet also does free installation. It's advised that you choose to lease the equipment, rather than opt to purchase. When you purchase equipment from HughesNet, you'll be stuck with the same equipment and unable to upgrade without paying for it. If you lease, then you're able to do free equipment upgrades.
Viasat vs HughesNet: Who Has the Best Download Speeds?
Satellite is notorious for advertising fast download speeds, but then failing to deliver on the promise. This often comes down to a latency issue, however.
According to a report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), HughesNet delivers on its promised download speeds. In fact, it was shown they even sometimes exceed what is advertised.
Viasat was quite the opposite. The FCC found that Viasat often delivered far slower internet speeds than what they claimed to give.
Customer reviews reflect these findings.
Which Provider Gives the Best Data Plans?
To answer the question of whether HughesNet or Viasat can give you the best data plan, you need to know how much data you use and need.
How much data you need depends on your internet habits. It'll also come down to how many devices you use and how many users will be using the internet in the household.
Do you and your family stream videos often? Are you gaming? How many people use the internet at the same time in the household?
Every 1 GB of data enables the streaming of 30 minutes of videos. Take into consideration how much 1 GB allows when trying to decide how much data you need each month.
With Viasat, they price their internet plans based on where you live. They offer two different types of plans: Liberty and Unlimited.
Liberty is going to give you 12 Mbps download speed. The varying levels of the Liberty plans are priced off of priority data per month. However, if you want to get free extra data, they offer a short window to do so from the late-night hours of 3 AM to 6 AM each day.
HughesNet prices its internet plans based on data allowance. All of the plans come with 25 Mbps for download speed. Their cheapest plan gives 10 GB, and the most expensive one goes up to 50 GB of data. If you go over this allotment, you are penalized with reduced speeds for the remainder of that month.
HughesNet also has a window where you can pull a bonus amount of 50 GB that's separate from the regular allotment. You can only pull from this bonus amount between 1 AM and 8 AM.
Viasat vs HughesNet: Bundle Packages
Viasat offers bundle packages thanks to their partnership with DIRECTV. HughesNet doesn't offer any bundles whatsoever.
HughesNet's complete lack of bundling options means that Viasat wins in this category. If you live way out in a rural area that's far from the city, odds are satellite is your only option for TV, the same as your internet. Being able to bundle your TV provider with your internet provider is essential when it comes to saving money.
Contracts and the Fine Print
Both Viasat and HughesNet share several similarities, and this includes their contract commitment. Both providers require a 24-month long contract commitment when you first sign up.
With HughesNet, if you cancel within the first 90 days of service, you are hit with an early termination fee of $400. Each month after that first 90 days decreases the early termination fee by $15. So if you quit the month following after the first 90 days, you'd pay $385 instead of $400.
With Viasat, if you terminate your contract early, you must pay $15 for each remaining month within the 24-month agreement. In some areas, Viasat allows you to forgo agreeing to a contract if you pay an extra fee of $300.
If you didn't pay the extra fee to avoid a contract, you'll be stuck paying the early termination fee. This means that if you cancel your service a month into the 24-month contract, you're looking at paying a termination fee of $345 for the 23 months that were remaining.
Choose the Provider That Works Best for You
In the Viasat vs HughesNet debate, both have their strengths and drawbacks.
Though Viasat is pricier, the sheer amount of options it offers makes it easier to choose as an internet provider. It gives faster speeds and more unlimited data. It's also worth noting that the base plan for Viasat is cheaper than HughesNet's base plan. In addition, Viasat's base plan gives a higher data cap than HughesNet.
In the end, it might be best to choose Viasat. You're able to browse through more plan options, have access to higher speeds, and are able to bundle your services if need be.
However, if you need a straightforward, simple plan and don't require much from your internet, HughesNet may be in your best interests. Overall, HughesNet is far cheaper than Viasat. HughesNet keeps its plans priced the same for the duration of your contract. The same can't be said for Viasat, who hikes their prices after your first three months with the provider have passed. The price hike isn't small, either. In most cases, prices increase by an average of $40.
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