The best satellite Internet should provide reliable and affordable service competitive with the more traditional cable and DSL Internet providers in your area.
If you live in a rural area far away from high-speed Internet grid - and cannot make do with a dial-up Internet connection - or are unhappy with your current ISP, it's time to consider satellite Internet.
Your choices may be limited, but we've reviewed are viable options. When doing our research, cost and Internet speed was at the top of our list.
Satellite Internet operates slightly differently than your cable Internet providers, so you want to make sure you are getting good value for your dollar.
Our review of the top satellite Internet providers should help you find a company that best suits your needs.
The Best Satellite Internet Providers
Best Satellite Internet Provider: HughesNet
There's no denying that satellite TV is a lifesaver if you live in a more rural area. That's right, it's the reliable internet that you can get pretty much anywhere.
In the battle of HughesNet and ViaSat (the nations top satellite providers) we've chosen Hughesnet as our top pick. Here's why:
- Speed - Each HughesNet plan can support several devices.
- Coverage - As we said, satellite coverage is the best.
- Price - HughesNet offers cheaper plans than ViaSat.
- Contract Commitment - Keep your sign up price for the entire length of your contract.
Although HughesNet is crushing it in some of the most top categories they're lacking in some of the most basic ones such as:
- Customer Service - HughesNet has been known to have a low customer service rating.
- Speed Limitations - HughesNet data caps reduce your speed after you allocated billed amount.
HughesNet Internet Plans
|HughesNet Internet 10GB||25 Mbps||$39.99|
|HughesNet Internet 20GB||25 Mbps||$49.99|
|HughesNet Internet 30GB||25 Mbps||$79.99|
|HughesNet Internet 50GB||25 Mbps||$129.99|
Runner Up: ViaSat
Here at MoneySavingPro, we're all about saving a couple bucks and ViaSat satellite internet, formerly known as Exede, gives you more bang for your buck.
Here are some of the main reasons why you might choose ViaSat over HughesNet.
- Speed - ViaSat has recorded speeds that range from 25-100 Mbps.
- Quality - HughesNet may have some cheaper plans but ViaSat gives you more bang for your buck.
- No Data Caps - With ViaSat, unlimited truly is unlimited.
There are a few reasons why ViaSat comes in as number two in our book:
- Better Deals - Unfortunately, the satellite doesn't necessarily come cheap so if you're looking to save a bundle you'll want to check out other internet options in your area first.
- Contract Prices - You may have gotten an introductory rate but keep in mind it's only good for a few months. Then your bill goes up.
- Speed Limitations - The speed of your ViaSat internet is entirely based on your location.
Viasat Internet Plans
|Viasat Unlimited Bronze 12||12 Mbps||$70|
|Viasat Unlimited Silver 25||25 Mbps||$100|
|Viasat Unlimited Gold 30||30 Mbps||$150|
What is Satellite Internet?
Satellite Internet uses satellites in geostationary orbit (rotating around the earth above the equator) that relays signals between ground stations that are transmitting data by radio waves and a small dish transceiver.
In other words, Internet signal is sent from the provider, bounces off the satellite and is received by a dish that is placed outside a home. It takes about a fourth of a second for a signal to reach a satellite in orbit and come back.
However, because of its high orbit, the satellite can reach any location, so it is a viable option for those who live in remote areas.
If you're in a rural area, it is important to understand that, on average, high-speed Internet via satellite is about 178 times faster compared to dial-up Internet.
Satellite Internet providers offer their customers these basic services:
- A high-speed Internet connection that can offer a reliable fast connection for downloads, uploads, browsing, and email.
- The Internet no longer goes through your telephone line, particularly convenient for those who are still on dial-up connections.
- The ability to play games, download movies, watch videos, and check email quickly and conveniently.
- Unlimited usage during overnight and off-peak hours.
Key Considerations When Buying a Satellite Internet
Whether you use it for work, education, entertainment, or shopping, the Internet forms an important part of people's daily lives these days. This is why you need to make sure you choose the right satellite Internet service provider for your needs.
Some of the factors to look at when selecting a service provider or satellite Internet package include:
- Choice of packages and plans available, including bundled plans
- The speed and bandwidth available
- Cost of the services
- Features of the individual plans
- Reviews and ratings for the provider
- Reputation for customer service and troubleshooting
Other factors, such as availability, may play into your decision. If you are in an especially remote locale, your options may be further limited. For instance, if you reside in a mobile home or in an RV, you may want to purchase RV satellite Internet, but RV satellite Internet service is far from cheap.
Satellite Internet for RVs
Satellite isn't just available to your typical homeowner. In fact, it's available for those of us who are always on the go with Mobile/RV satellite internet.
Although wireless broadband coverage is always improving and many consumers are happy with traditional Internet access, good coverage still isn't available in places like far west Texas, deep in the Rocky Mountains, or in the woods of northern Maine.
If you live life on the go and typically travel beyond any cellular coverage map, then satellite Internet access is an incredible option to consider. The initial investment can be quite substantial, however. Some satellite dishes for RVs can be up to $1,000--and that doesn't include any installation fees.
You'll find, though, that your investment is continually justified when your mobile satellite dish streams your favorite channels while on the road or at the campsite.
Satellite Internet Providers by ZIP Code
If you live in a rural area, you may be one of the 76% of Americans who live in remote areas without high-speed Internet. Because of our increased reliance on the Internet, making sure you have a fast, reliable connection is important.
For those who live in rural areas, satellite Internet is the proven way to offer high-speed Internet access.
Though some people who are not in remote locations opt for this method, as it often comes at a great price when bundled with other services, it is not the top choice of those who have other options.
You can benefit from a solid, affordable, and reliable alternative to traditional Internet services even if you live in a hard to reach rural areas. To check if satellite Internet is offered near you, check out our handy ZIP code checker tool.
If you live close to an urban area, satellite Internet might not be your only option. You can compare different packages in our review of the best Internet providers.
If you want to bundle together satellite Internet and satellite TV, check out our review of the best satellite TV providers.