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Satellite internet has advanced far beyond its origins and now competes with high-speed internet in terms of speed. In 2017 HughesNet became the first satellite internet provider to meet the FCC benchmark for broadband. Today, as far as satellite internet in the U.S., the top most providers are Viasat and HughesNet. You can get Viasat and HughesNet satellite internet from coast to coast no matter how remote a community you’re a part of, or how far your rural home is from the reach of wireline services. But this also means you’ll have to pick one or the other.

In this comparison guide, we’ll look at the two top satellite internet provider options, HughesNet and Viasat, in terms of speed, data, pricing, plans, and more. Learn about the pros and cons of each option so you can make an informed decision about which satellite internet service maybe right for you.

HughesNet Vs Viasat: A General Comparison

Satellite Internet Provider

Max. Download Speed

Data Allowance

Pricing

HughesNet

25 Mbps

15 GB – 75 GB

$44.99 - $139.99/mo.
for 6 months w/24-month commitment

Viasat

12 Mbps -100 Mbps

40 GB – 150 GB

$49.99 - $149.99/mo.
for 3 months w/24-month commitment

Viasat gives you a variety of download speeds that include options faster than HughesNet. And also better monthly data allowance options with your service plan. Select plans also qualify for the Free Zone which gives you 100% un-metered data usage during off-peak hours.

On the other hand, HughesNet offers 25 Mbps download speed across all service plans regardless of where you maybe located. HughesNet plans are categorized based on data allowance. And while the data you get with your plan may seem much smaller than what Viasat offers, 50 GB Bonus Zone data is a healthy supplement for every subscriber which comes totally free of cost with all plans, and accounts for all activity during off-peak hours.

HughesNet caps your data usage, but does not put you offline even if you exceed the limit. There is essentially no hard data cap, and you remain connected albeit at slower speeds. With Viasat Unlimited plans as well, you get to stay online even when you have run out of your data allowance, albeit your connection is prioritized behind other customers when there is network congestion.

As for the pricing, satellite internet is costly, and there is no denying that. It sure connects Americans from coast to coast, but the expense of deploying a satellite-based infrastructure makes it impossible to sell satellite internet as cheap as wired broadband. Having said that, HughesNet Internet promo offers are, largely speaking, more lucrative relative to Viasat.   

HughesNet Vs Viasat: Plans & Pricing

It can be challenging to compare Viasat and HughesNet plans in terms of pricing. Both offer service plans with different service features and perks, and their promo offerings are also unique. So when you compare you must make sure to take into account all aspects of each service to decide which one is a better fit, and cuts a better deal for you.

Comparing Promotional Offers

 

Viasat Unlimited Bronze 12

Viasat Unlimited Silver 25

Viasat Unlimited Gold 50

Viasat Unlimited Platinum 100

Promo Price

$49.99/mo.  
for 3 months w/24-month commitment

$69.99/mo.
for 3 months w/24-month commitment

$99.99/mo.
for 3 months w/24-month commitment

$149.99/mo.
for 3 months w/24-month commitment

Standard Price

$69.99/mo.

$99.99/mo.

$149.99/mo.

$199.99/mo.

Max. Download Speed

12 Mbps

25 Mbps

50 Mbps

100 Mbps

Data Allowance

40 GB

60 GB

100 GB

150 GB

 

HughesNet Internet Plans

Promo Price

$44.99/mo.
for 6 months w/24-month commitment

$54.99/mo.
for 6 months w/24-month commitment

$89.99/mo.
for 6 months w/24-month commitment

$139.99
for 6 months w/24-month commitment

Standard Price

$64.99/mo.

$74.99/mo.

$109.99/mo.

$159.99/mo.

Max. Download Speed

25 Mbps

25 Mbps

25 Mbps

25 Mbps

Data Allowance

15 GB

30 GB

45 GB

75 GB

If we compare the Viasat Unlimited Silver 25 with the 30 GB HughesNet Internet plan to see how the two compare, in terms of speed there is nothing to gain or lose with either. But as for data, Viasat gives you double what HughesNet offers. Then again, you’ve the 50 GB Bonus Zone data from HughesNet also at your disposal, which brings the two options almost at par. Where the HughesNet plan comes out a clear winner is the promo offer as well as the standard price - the promo price is lower, the discount lasts longer, and the standard price is also lower than the correlating Viasat plan.

HughesNet vs Viasat: Additional Fees & Contracts

Early Cancellation Fee

Both HughesNet and Viasat require a 24-month minimum commitment with their promotional plans. And, if you cancel your contract before the end of the term, you will be charged an early termination fee. With Viasat you’ll pay $15 for each month remaining on your contract. And with HughesNet the early termination fee amounts to $400 if you cancel within 90 days - and after the first 90 days, the amount is reduced by $15 for each month of active service.   

Installation & Equipment

HughesNet professional lease setup fee is $99, but if you are lucky you may just find a promotional offer that waives off this upfront charge. Viasat also charges a $99.99 upfront fee for professional installation, and waives it off with select offers.   

As for internet equipment, the HughesNet satellite internet modem comes with built-in WiFi. And the in-home WiFi setup costs you $14.99/mo. unless you are able to save for a limited time with a promo offer. Viasat charges a $12.99/mo. fee for its WiFi equipment.

Pair up Internet with TV

Both HughesNet and Viasat partner with the top satellite pay-tv providers in the U.S. HughesNet partners with DIRECTV and Viasat with DISH. You can pair up with the pay-tv service alongside satellite internet for your home.

Both DISH and DIRECTV have their own pros and cons. DIRECTV is a haven for TV buffs and sports fanatics - it carries up to 330 channels and the best in national, regional and local sports. You also get more premium networks relative to DISH. And there is a good plenty of additional perks.

DISH however offers plans that are more economical and give you a good sized channel lineup, even if not the entertainment bonanza you can enjoy with DIRECTV. Plus DISH gives you a 2-year price guarantee whereas DIRECTV promo price expires after the first year, and you pay at the standard rate thereafter.

HughesNet and Viasat - Recapping the Pros & Cons

HughesNet

Pros

Consistent speeds

No hard data cap - you stay connected even after you’ve run out of data allowance

50 GB Bonus Zone Data for off peak hours

Cheaper promotional offers that last for 6 months

Cons

Only one speed is offered

Bonus Zone data is not uncapped

Viasat

Pros

Fastest satellite internet and a variety of speed options

Standard data keeps you connected even after you run out of monthly allowance

Free Zone un-metered data usage during off-peak hours

Promo offers last for 3 months

Cons

The fastest speed is not available nationwide

Free Zone timings vary by the plan

HughesNet Vs Viasat: Which One Is for You?

By now you must be thinking how to pick the right satellite internet provider if HughesNet and Viasat, despite their unique selling points, appear to be hanging in somewhat of a balance. Well, as we always say, it is your home needs that decide the right provider and plan for you.

So, if you are a home where speeds faster than 25 Mbps and a lot of data are needed, Viasat is for you. And if the 25 Mbps download speed suffices for the number of online users and activity at your home, then it is definitely a relatively cheaper option. Keep in mind your usage and budget, and if you need pro advice call us at 1-855-349-9328 and let our experts help you make an informed decision. One thing is for sure wherever you are located, HughesNet availability would not be a problem, nor would you have to hunt for Viasat!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is HughesNet more affordable than Viasat?

Broadly speaking, HughesNet and Viasat internet plans fall in a similar price range but HughesNet promotional price lasts longer than Viasat. And it is somewhat cheaper too.  HughesNet promo price ranges from $44.99 to $139.99 per month whereas Viasat promo offers range from $49.99 to $149.99 per month.

Do Viasat and HughesNet require a Contract?

Yes. There is a 2-year commitment required by both HughesNet & Viasat. However, standard offer from HughesNet does not require a long-term commitment. Whereas Viasat offers you to pay a No-Long Contract Fee of $300 with your first bill, and stay on a month-to-month plan.

Is HughesNet Internet available in my area?

HughesNet Internet is available coast-to-coast, and the only thing may change is the promotional offers available at your address. Call 1-855-349-9309 to find out which HughesNet Internet plans are offered in your area.