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Best Satellite Internet Providers for 2017

What is the best satellite internet service? We reveal the top providers

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Satellite Internet Reviews

The best satellite internet should provide reliable and affordable service competitive with normal internet providers. If you live in a rural area far away from high-speed internet grid or are unhappy with your current internet service provider, it's time to consider satellite internet. Your choices may be limited, but the satellite internet providers I've reviewed are viable options compared to cable internet.

For those who live in remote and rural areas, satellite internet can be a lifesaver

When doing my research, cost and speed were at the top of my list. Satellite internet operates slightly differently than your normal types of internet providers, so you want to make sure you are getting a good value for your dollar. Because internet browsing habits are based on personal preference, the decision to get satellite internet may vary. Our review of the top satellite internet providers should help you find a company that best suits your needs.

Best Satellite Internet


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Company Download SpeedMonthly Price
HughesNet 5-15 Mbps$29.99-69.99
Exede Internet 12 Mbps$49.99-99.99
Dish Internet 5-10 Mbps$39.99-69.99

Satellite Internet Providers

I've compiled this list of the best satellite internet providers. Take a look at these reviews before choosing a service:


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1st
Download Speed 5-15 Mbps
Installation Fee Free
Monthly Price $29.99-69.99

HughesNet Internet

  • Pros
  • Free Installation
  • A long established provider
  • Excellent range of customer service options
  • Decent speeds with base package
  • Excellent speeds with Power MAX plan
  • Cons
  • Does not offer any bundled services
  • Not suitable for heavy gamers due to latency
  • Actual speeds are slower than advertised

A longtime player in the industry of satellite internet, HughesNet has been in existence for over 30 years, and currently has 2.5 million systems in place for customers across the globe. With their innovative and exclusive Gen4 technology, they boast some of the fastest speeds in satellite internet.

For watching videos, downloading files, checking email, and simply just surfing the web, their 15 Mbps speed is an excellent option. Considering that many of their competitors offer speeds at a significantly lesser rate, if you want exceptionally fast speed in satellite, this may be your best option.

An additional asset HughesNet offers is their Express Repair, which supplies technical support whenever you need it over the phone, 24/7. However, if the problem is not within your abilities of solving with assistance, HughesNet will dispatch a technician. However, one downside is that they do not offer any bundled services, so there is no option to save money on your service that way.

2nd
Download Speed 12 Mbps
Monthly Price $49.99-99.99

Exede Internet

  • Pros
  • Well known provider with a solid reputation
  • High speeds with all plans
  • Little difference in speed between peak and slow times
  • Late night free zone for unmetered bandwidth usage
  • Competitive pricing
  • Cons
  • No standard 30 day return policy/cooling off period
  • No live chat facility for customer support

Exede has some great internet plans, and they offer a lot of things no one else in the satellite internet game is doing. For example, their Freedom Plan offers the closest thing to an unlimited package around. 12 Mbps is their standard download speed, with 3 Mbps as their upload speed, both being fairly speedy for this type of internet connection.

Their Freedom Plan is an excellent choice for those in need of unlimited access without a data limit. Unfortunately, though, this plan is only available in select areas. They offer 25GB of data monthly, which is average for the industry, however, they also offer the option of purchasing additional data if need be. Conveniently, and cost-effectively, DIRECTV service can be bundled with Exede internet for added savings.

3rd
Download Speed 5-10 Mbps
Monthly Price $39.99-69.99

Dish Internet Review

  • Pros
  • Reputable brand that has been around for years
  • Entry level and comprehensive package available
  • Discounts and fee waiver available on bundles
  • Up to 30GB monthly data plans available
  • Get up to 10Mbps
  • Cons
  • Speeds considerably slower than cable internet
  • Not ideal for heavy gamers due to poor latency
  • Not BBB accredited

DishNet is extremely popular for their great prices, especially in regards to their bundled services, which can include television and phone service. As one of the most reliable and readily available internet choices, DishNet satellite internet is widely available in all 50 states. They do not have the same level of high speeds as others in the industry, however, they offer exceptional affordability. 10 Mbps is their standard download speed, and 5 Mbps is their upload speed.

Most plans come with a standard 50GB of data available for use at off-peak times. Another aspect to consider is that the technology involved is continuously evolving, and companies are always developing new advancements to improve the level of quality; DishNet is always on point with this. Along these lines, DishNet boasts some of the most steadfast internet connections, designed to work in any weather conditions.

Satellite Internet: What to Consider

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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. If more than one option is available to you, learn about each of them thoroughly. Find out what's available and within your budget, explore what the ideal plans are, and get a feel for what speeds, how much data, and exactly the type of service you're looking for.

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.

A satellite subscriber needs a satellite dish that is fixed facing south towards the equator. It is best to set one up high on a rooftop, balcony or pole with a clear path to the sky without obstructing trees, buildings, or telephones in the way. Inside, you will need a modem that connects your network to the transceiver outside. The modem and the dish can be connected by a coaxial cable that carries electromagnetic signals and is limited to 150 feet or less in length. An Ethernet cable connects the modem and the computer.

Satellite Internet Service: The Basics

With a number of different satellite internet providers now offering services, it is important for anyone considering satellite internet service to do their research. All the best satellite internet providers, however, 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 without annoying interruptions.
  • Unlimited usage during overnight and off-peak hours.
  • Great customer support that handles customer requests, concerns, questions, troubleshooting, and problems quickly, efficiently, and in a timely manner.

Satellite Internet Providers by ZIP Code

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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.

To check if satellite internet is offered near you, check out our handy ZIP code checker tool.

Satellite Internet Providers: Benefits and Drawbacks

You Get What You Pay For

While satellite internet isn't one of the "cheapest" technologies to get internet access, you do get what you pay for. In 2013, the FCC reported that during peak usage periods, 90% of satellite internet users received 140% or more of the advertised speeds they were paying for.

The best satellite internet should provide reliable and affordable service competitive with normal internet providers

Convenience

Satellite Internet service is exceptionally convenient because you are always connected to the Internet with it, unlike dial-up services. You are continuously online, and phone lines and/ or cable lines will not interfere or affect your connection.

For those who live in remote and rural areas, satellite internet can be a lifesaver, and a legitimate option for a decent, high-speed internet option. It can be installed practically anywhere and operates without a cable or DSL connection.

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The Weather

The most crucial disadvantage with even with the fastest satellite internet provider is that you are entirely at the mercy of the weather. Powerful winds, rain, moisture, and other factors based on the meteorological environment can factor into your service and the quality of the reception.

Since satellites are more directly overhead for the southern states, northern states ones are apt to see a few more problems when bad weather occurs. Generally, there are not a lot of problems caused by weather, except in a few very heavy rainfalls. If there are a lot of problems with fading signals, it could be because the dish has not been aligned correctly, or because snow, water, or ice has built up on it. In northern states, a dish that comes with a built-in heater is needed.

If you live in a particularly prone location to weather that can be volatile and/or unpredictable, you may want to reconsider this method of internet service.

However, it must be known that, in 2016, the technology is continuously being advanced and many companies have developed technologies to counter negative effects that come as a result of the weather. Be aware that cable can also go out as a result of the weather.

Latency Can Slow Down Even the Fastest Satellite Internet Provider

An additional factor to keep in mind is latency, which is a delay in transmission, also known as "ping time," as a result of using satellite technology. Simply put, latency is the time it takes for a command to produce a result. Latency also affects traditional internet service providers but in smaller measurements. According to the FCC, satellite internet has the highest latency across all technology types coming at an average of 628ms across all providers.

Your ability to connect relies on these signals. For satellites, latency is an even bigger issue than it is for terrestrial internet providers because the signal has to travel much farther. For most intended purposes, satellite latency is not a deal breaker. Today, technology has gotten to a point that limits latency and allows for satellite users to experience the internet in relatively the same way that everyone else does.

Any activity that requires low-latency will be negatively affected by satellite internet use, however. This includes:

  • Regular Web Browsing - High-speed satellite internet is an acceptable option for web browsing, and you shouldn't notice any significant delays.
  • Downloads - Download speeds are much higher than dial-up but aren't as fast as fiber optics.
  • Streaming - This is something that used to be difficult with satellite but is now possible. You can stream video without many noticeable interruptions
  • Gaming - Slower paced puzzle and RPG (role playing games) can be played via satellite connections without much issue. However, competitive shooters and fighters that require quick reactions may be frustrating to play, especially if your opponent has a faster connection.

If you are going online to predominantly play games, download large videos, and use voice over internet protocol (VOIP), you may find satellite internet incapable of meeting your demand.

Satellite Internet Service

1. 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 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.

Like normal satellite internet service, your speeds may be affected by the weather. This is certainly true for RVs, and you should be on the lookout for other obstructions like tree branches when bringing your dish off the road.

2. Unlimited Satellite Internet

If you happen to be a night owl, you're in luck since most companies offer unlimited internet usage during late night hours. If you opt for a lower data plan and go over the limit, you will get charged some hefty amounts, so that's something you need to keep in mind. If you aren't going to be partaking in a lot of activity that requires substantial data, and you plan on checking email and doing simple browsing, a lesser data plan may be convenient for you.

3. Rural Internet

Living in the country can be blissful - except when it comes to rural internet options. For more information, tips, and advice on how to get the best internet deals far from urban areas, check out our handy guide on the subject.

Advice for Choosing the Best Satellite Internet

Before you make your decision, here are some final tips and words of advice to help you:

Customer Service

Customer service is so important! The last thing you want or need is to be left hanging when you need support, help with a problem, or have an issue that requires immediate attention. Ensure to do your research regarding this step, see how other customers rate their ability to handle customers' needs because that will give a clear indication as to whether or not you will be treated similarly.

Take Advantage of Discount Bundles

Many companies are great about offering service bundles when you add additional services onto your current tab. When it comes to satellite internet, the most common services to be bundled with it are satellite television and voice phone services. These discounts that come as a result of bundling can save you a lot of money, both monthly and over the long term expense of maintaining separate services.

Find a Service that Works for Your Budget

It's never a good idea to just run with the first quote you're given. Shop around and get quotes from other companies offering similar services to ensure you get the optimum price for the services you need.

Satellite internet plans vary from inexpensive to high-priced, so it is essential that you do your homework to know exactly the service you need, and at what price. It is also common for some brands to waive activation and sign-up fees when you bundle services. Affordable options are very much available in the market of satellite internet, however, for those who are willing and able to pay more, the quality of service and availability of higher speeds is also a possibility depending on the plan chosen.

Satellite Internet Review Recap

With the range of satellite internet services on the increase this year, there is now more choice than ever for those who struggle to get standard wired internet services. By doing your research and making the right choice, 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.

If you live closer to an urban area, satellite internet might not be your only option. Take a look at the best internet providers, for a higher speed option.

If you want to bundle together internet and television, check out our review of the best satellite tv providers.

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Satellite Internet Providers by ZIP Code

Best Satellite Internet FAQs

Is there satellite Internet?

Yes there is! Satellite internet offers users high speed internet access through a system of satellites stationed around the planet. These satellites are generally place in geosynchronous orbit so that they are always located above the same part of Earth. This lets these satellites offer speeds as high as 50Mbps.

How does satellite internet work?

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.

A satellite subscriber needs a satellite dish that is fixed facing south towards the equator. It is best to set one up high on a rooftop, balcony or pole with a clear path to the sky without obstructing trees, buildings, or telephones in the way. Inside, you will need a modem that connects your network to the transceiver outside. The modem and the dish can be connected by a coaxial cable that carries electromagnetic signals and is limited to 150 feet or less in length. An Ethernet cable connects the modem and the computer.

How do satellite internet speeds compare to other high-speed internet technologies?

The geosynchronous satellites of satellite internet providers orbit the earth over 22,000 miles above the equator. This means that the data that updates your Facebook feed travels over 44,000 miles to get from the provider to your home. Typically this takes about a 4th of a second. But does this great distance affect speeds? Well, yes it does. Because the distance a satellite signal travels is around 20 times longer than a typical ground system something called latency occurs, even though satellite signals travel at the speed of light. Latency is a delay between a command and a response and this can contribute to slower speeds but other things like data processing can be bigger contributors to slower speeds.

That being said, general web surfing shouldn't be noticeably different but downloading or streaming speeds may be significantly slower than a DSL, fiber optic options and even cable. However, as technology grows satellite data processing speeds are getting faster. Plus, what satellite lacks in speed it gains in availability. Someone in more remote areas may have problems finding a reliable terrestrial internet provider but satellite service is available almost anywhere.

How much is Dish Network Internet?

Dish Network offers satellite internet packages that range in price from $49.99 to $79.99 per month. Higher priced plans have higher data limits than lower priced plans. If you bundle your satellite television and satellite internet packages together, you can save up to $10 per month, or $120 per year.

How fast is Dish High Speed Internet?

Dish Network's satellite internet's speed differs based on your location and service plan. The basic service plan offers speeds of 5Mbps down and 1Mbps up in rural areas, with a cap of 10GB per month. Higher level service plans offer speeds as high as 10Mbps download and 5Mbps upload.

What is a satellite network?

A satellite network is a group of satellites that are placed in low Earth orbit and form a communication chain with each other. This enables a station somewhere on Earth to communicate with a station anywhere else on Earth by sending a message to the nearest satellite, which relays the message to the other station, through satellites in the network.

How does satellite affect online gaming and streaming?

Of course, streaming video online games requires a decent internet connection if you don't want movies to pause for loading every 10 seconds and any gamer knows your connection can make or break online play. But is satellite a good option for when you want to take your internet connection beyond simple web browsing?

Well, for many people in more rural areas where cable, DSL, and fiber optics aren't available satellite is the only option. While satellite has a further reach than wired internet services, it is much more fickle with its signal reliability. Satellite signals can be better or worse depending on distance from the source, weather and objects obstructing the dish. These factors, plus the provider's data processing speeds, contribute to something called latency which is when there is a delay between commands and results.

Because of this, certain types of online gaming can be negatively affected. First-person shooters and fighting games largely rely on quick flinch reactions and real time strategy games require split second decisions. Players of these games may become frustrated when their connection gives them a disadvantage. However, co-operative puzzle games, online board games and turn based RPGs can viably be played on a satellite because they require more in-depth strategy and problem solving rather than quick reactions.

Satellite providers can't control the weather or distance but the technology of processing speeds is always growing so the viability of even quick gaming. Video streaming is less affected but when latency is bad stuttering or stopping may happen.

What are the best speeds available for satellite Internet?

When looking at satellite Internet speeds, you will not be getting the same speeds as you would with cable or fiber optic systems. At present, the highest speed available anywhere is 15 Mbps. This is fast enough for movies and for most any other purposes you need.

How often does weather affect a satellite Internet signal?

It is true that bad weather can affect a TV signal from a satellite. Since satellites are more directly overhead for the southern states, northern ones are apt to see a few more problems when bad weather occurs. Generally, there are not a lot of problems caused by weather, except in a few very heavy rainfalls. If there are a lot of problems with fading signals, it could be because the dish has not been aligned correctly, or because snow, water, or ice has built up on it. In northern states, a dish that comes with a built-in heater is needed. Be aware that cable can also go out during a power outage.

How many HD channels come with the package?

If you like to watch movies in HD, you will want to look into how many HD channels come with the package. Some companies will only offer a few, while others may give you more than 200. Remember that for HD faster speeds are better.

Are there any advantages with satellite Internet?

There is one powerful advantage. If you are anywhere in the United States, particularly in the South, you can receive a signal from the satellite, as long as there is a clear path to the satellite. You will need to have a satellite dish attached to your home or business, and you are limited to a fixed location. In order for you to get the service, the satellite company will need to have offices nearby.

Is There a Limit on Bandwidth?

Satellite companies do place a limit on the bandwidth used by their customers. The limits on bandwidth are set by the package you buy. When those limits are met, the Internet service will typically slow down considerably. Movies will use a considerable amount of bandwidth (500 Mb average), and, as you might expect, HD movies use even more. Because of the difference between users in the day and late at night, some satellite Internet companies permit unlimited bandwidth in the early morning hours.

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We moved out into the country in June of 2015 and needed internet. All the other landline companies said they didn't service our address. Hughesnet was our 2nd satellite internet company. Sure, they bait you with what you want to hear. "you'll get great service." "You'll get to do whatever you want to do on the internet." "if you have any problems, just call us, we'll take care of you." ALL LIES! The service sucked. We couldn't even watch a video from facebook or even watch Netflix. When we called with our issues, their answer was, "you'll have to upgrade your package." After paying $70 per month for 11 months and having to increase our data plans on our cell phones, to use our internet on our cell phones, we called to cancel as we finally got service with a landline company offering DSL. When I called today, they were more than willing to bend over backwards so we didn't leave but it was too late. I had a customer service rep telling me my perception of the problem wasn't reality and hughesnet has great service. It came down to the fact that we were promised a good working product. That didn't happen. We got screwed. Classic bait and switch and they try prevent you from leaving with a $250 early termination fee. (good reputable companies wouldn't have that) Their service sucks as well as their customer service. Do not go with them! You will regret it.

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Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.

Advertiser Disclosure

In order for MoneySavingPro to remain a consumer free service, many of the companies covered in our industry reviews compensate MoneySavingPro for new sign ups.

However, the results of our comparison tools, the rankings of the providers and the information presented is not affected by compensation. Indeed, many of these companies approach us for an advertising partnership after we have already written a published their reviews.

While we try to research and review as many providers as possible in the 100+ industries we cover, we have not reviewed every company available.

Our rating system is independent of compensation and reflects our true understanding of the industry and the company based on a variety of factors. The companies that receive the highest rating will always be the providers that we believe offer the best value to the consumer.