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The top companies that provide satellite internet services

The top companies that provide satellite internet services

Satellite internet providers Viasat and HughesNet offer different plans with varying speeds and data allowances. Viasat generally has faster speeds and more data but may slow down during network congestion. HughesNet has slower speeds but does not slow down once you've reached your data cap. Prices and equipment costs also vary between the two providers. It's important to consider your budget, usage habits, and limitations such as data caps and weather conditions when choosing a provider.

Can it be confirmed that there are only two primary satellite service providers operating in the United States?

The satellite internet industry in the US has significantly reduced over the past decade, leaving only two major providers - Viasat and HughesNet. Previously, there were more options, but they either got acquired or discontinued their satellite internet plans. With only two major providers in the market, customers have limited options to choose from. The lack of competition may lead to increased pricing and fewer incentives for innovation. It is important for customers to carefully consider their options before signing a contract, and to keep an eye on any new players that may enter the market in the future. Satellite internet has come a long way since its inception, but it still has some limitations. 

The biggest issue with satellite internet is latency, which refers to the delay between sending and receiving data. This is because data has to travel from Earth to space and back again, which can cause a noticeable delay. Additionally, satellite internet can be impacted by weather, such as heavy rain or snow, which can cause disruptions to the signal. Despite these limitations, satellite internet can be a lifeline for those in rural areas with limited access to other forms of internet. 

Is the low-Earth orbit satellite option accessible in 2020?

Satellite internet has long been known for its slow speeds, high latency, and low data allowances. But the industry may be on the brink of a revolution with the advent of low-Earth orbit (LEO) broadband. LEO broadband promises faster speeds and lower latency, as the satellites are closer to Earth and can communicate more quickly with ground-based receivers. 

One of the companies at the forefront of LEO broadband is SpaceX with its Starlink service. In 2020, the company launched its beta testing program and began offering service to select customers. With thousands of satellites planned for deployment, Starlink aims to offer high-speed internet to underserved areas around the world. 

Another company working on LEO broadband is OneWeb, which has already launched a number of satellites into orbit. While there are still questions about the affordability of these services and their impact on the environment, LEO broadband has the potential to revolutionize the satellite internet industry and provide high-speed internet to people who have been left behind by traditional wired services. However, for now, Viasat and HughesNet remain the only two major satellite internet providers in the US. 

The top satellite internet service providers in 2020.

Satellite internet providers, Viasat and HughesNet, remain the major options for satellite broadband access in 2020. Choosing the best option can be tricky, as there are many factors to consider such as speed, data caps, and pricing. Internet speeds play a vital role in everyday use, especially for downloading and streaming videos. 

Data caps and thresholds are also important, as both providers will throttle or “deprioritize” your traffic if you exceed a certain amount of data. In terms of pricing, satellite internet access is typically more expensive than terrestrial internet, so finding the right plan is important to stay within your budget. Currently, Viasat offers the best value for most consumers, with a range of speed options and data thresholds that are more generous than those offered by HughesNet. While 

Viasat’s service is slightly more expensive, it is less restrictive and ultimately worth the extra cost. With the emergence of low-Earth orbit broadband in the near future, satellite internet may see significant improvements in speed and accessibility. 

While Viasat and HughesNet may be the top choices for satellite internet in 2020, the industry is rapidly changing with the emergence of low-Earth orbit satellite internet from companies like SpaceX's Starlink and OneWeb. 

These new players in the market promise faster speeds and lower latency than traditional satellite internet. Starlink, for example, is targeting speeds of up to 1 Gbps with a latency of around 20 milliseconds. While these services are not widely available yet, they could soon disrupt the satellite internet industry and offer more options for those in need of reliable internet in rural or remote areas. 

Additionally, some companies are exploring the use of balloons and drones to deliver internet access to hard-to-reach areas. Alphabet's Loon project, for instance, aims to provide internet access to remote areas by using a network of high-altitude balloons. While these technologies are still in development, they could provide exciting alternatives to traditional satellite internet providers in the future. 

ATTENTION! Internet speed plays a critical role in determining how quickly you can download files, with faster speeds enabling faster downloads that take minutes instead of hours. It also affects the quality of video streaming and determines the number of people who can effectively use your connection without experiencing a noticeable decrease in performance. Speed is a highly noticeable aspect of everyday internet use and has a direct impact on usability.

ATTENTION! Data caps and thresholds are additional factors to consider when it comes to internet usage. Both major internet service providers often impose restrictions or "deprioritize" your traffic if you exceed a certain data limit. This practice is similar to what cellular providers have been doing for a long time. For heavy downloaders, it is crucial to monitor these data caps as they can significantly impact your internet experience. However, if you are a light user with minimal data consumption, data caps may be less significant and may not affect you as much.

ATTENTION! When it comes to the value you receive for your money, satellite internet access tends to be more costly compared to terrestrial internet options. The key is to find an internet plan that aligns with your specific needs while also staying within your budget. It's important to strike a balance between the features and capabilities you require and the cost of the internet service you choose.

Viasat offers excellent overall value in the realm of internet service providers.




Data Usage


12 to 100 Mbps

$50 to $100

40 to 150 GB


25 Mbps

$59.99 to $149.99

10 to 50 GB

Viasat is widely regarded as the provider offering the best value in satellite internet for most consumers. They provide a diverse range of speed options, starting from 12 Mbps and reaching up to 100 Mbps, which surpasses the speeds of many wired connections. 

One notable advantage of Viasat is their use of data thresholds instead of strict data caps, providing users with more generous data allowances. While Viasat's service may be slightly more expensive than competitors like HughesNet, it is generally considered to be less restrictive. This makes Viasat a compelling option for those willing to pay a bit extra in exchange for the quality and reliability of their service. 

It's worth noting that the satellite internet market is constantly evolving, and the availability and offerings of different providers may vary depending on location.

Viasat offers the fastest internet speeds among the satellite internet providers.

In the satellite internet industry, Viasat currently offers the highest speeds, with download speeds ranging from 12 Mbps to 100 Mbps. These speeds are faster than what HughesNet can offer, as the latter company has just one tier of speed, which is 25 Mbps. With Viasat's high-end service, you can get download speeds that are faster than some cable and fiber optic internet plans, which is impressive for a satellite provider. 

The high-speed tiers offered by Viasat are particularly useful for those who have multiple people using their internet connection simultaneously or those who engage in bandwidth-heavy activities, such as downloading large files or streaming 4K videos. Viasat's higher speeds are better equipped to handle these types of activities, and users are less likely to experience issues with slow speeds or buffering. 

In addition to offering high-speed internet, Viasat also uses data thresholds instead of data caps, which is more generous to users. While both companies will throttle or "deprioritize" traffic if you exceed a certain amount of data, Viasat's thresholds are more flexible than HughesNet's, allowing for a more seamless internet experience. 

Although Viasat's service is slightly more expensive than HughesNet's, it may be worth the extra cost for those who require faster speeds and more data flexibility. However, it's worth noting that HughesNet's consistent 25 Mbps speed may be sufficient for single users who don't engage in bandwidth-heavy activities. 

It's worth keeping an eye on the satellite internet industry, as new providers, such as SpaceX's Starlink and OneWeb, plan to offer a new type of high-speed service called low-Earth orbit broadband. This service would be a significant improvement over what's currently available and could potentially disrupt the current market dominance of Viasat and HughesNet. 

The provider Viasat has the least restrictive data caps.

Data caps have long been a bane for satellite internet users. These limitations on data usage can become a hindrance for basic activities such as browsing and emailing once the limit is exceeded. The good news is that Viasat has taken steps to minimize the inconvenience caused by data caps. 

Unlike traditional data caps, Viasat's approach to data caps is different. Viasat does not set hard data caps on its service. Instead, it has set thresholds that prioritize internet traffic once the usage limit is reached. As a result, users experience a significant reduction in internet speed but can still browse the internet, email, or perform other activities without being entirely disconnected. This approach is less restrictive than HughesNet, which employs traditional data caps. 

Viasat Internet Plans

HD Video Streaming

Streaming Music

Online Gaming

40 GB

16 hrs/mo

280 hrs/mo

200 hrs/mo

60 GB

24 hrs/mo

420 hrs/mo

400 hrs/mo

100 GB

40 hrs/mo

700 hrs/mo

500 hrs/mo

150 GB

60 hrs/mo

1150 hrs/mo

750 hrs/mo

Viasat has taken steps to enhance its offerings by providing a greater variety of internet plans at different price points. Unlike traditional data caps, Viasat implements thresholds that prioritize internet traffic until a certain limit is reached. Once this threshold is crossed, the user may experience a significant reduction in speeds, similar to a hard data cap. However, one notable advantage of Viasat is their wider range of data allotments compared to HughesNet, giving them a competitive edge in terms of available data options.

HughesNet  Internet Plans

HD Video Streaming

Streaming Music

Online Gaming

10 GB

4 hrs/mo

70 hrs/mo

50 hrs/mo

20 GB

8 hrs/mo

140 hrs/mo

100 hrs/mo

30 GB

12 hrs/mo

210 hrs/mo

150 hrs/mo

50 GB

20 hrs/mo

350 hrs/mo

250 hrs/mo

HughesNet maintains its data caps policy across all its internet access tiers. Depending on the package you choose, you will encounter a specific data cap based on your payment. Even with the most expensive HughesNet package, the data cap is set at 50 GB, which may be insufficient for many users considering the overall data requirements. Once you surpass the data cap, your download speed drops significantly to 3 Mbps, which can make even basic tasks like checking emails feel cumbersome. This limitation can be seen as a drawback, as it negatively impacts the overall user experience.

Viasat is the best option for gaming.

When it comes to online gaming, one of the most important factors is low latency or ping time. With satellite internet, the distance that signals need to travel between the user and the satellite in orbit can result in higher ping times compared to other types of internet connections. As a result, gamers may experience lag, slow response times, and other issues that can impact their gaming experience. 

Viasat and HughesNet both face this challenge due to the nature of satellite internet, and it's an issue that they both struggle with. 

However, Viasat has an edge over HughesNet when it comes to gaming. Viasat offers a more lenient data threshold system, which is a big plus for gamers. The company does not impose traditional data caps but instead deprioritizes internet traffic once certain thresholds are met. This means that Viasat users can enjoy a wider range of data allotments without having to worry about their gaming activities or other data-intensive tasks. This is particularly important for online gamers who need to download game updates or patches, which can often be several gigabytes in size. 

HughesNet, on the other hand, imposes data caps that can be a major concern for gamers. The most expensive package offered by the company comes with a 50 GB data cap, which can be easily exhausted by downloading just one or two games. Once the cap is reached, HughesNet users will experience a significant drop in download speed, making it difficult to download new games, updates, or patches. This can be frustrating for gamers who need to stay up to date with the latest developments in their favorite games. 

The victor or the top performer: Viasat.

After considering factors such as pricing, speed, data caps, and gaming, it is difficult not to recommend Viasat over HughesNet. Although Viasat is slightly more expensive than HughesNet, it provides better value for money. With a variety of speed tiers, Viasat caters to customers with different internet needs and delivers consistent speeds regardless of data usage. Additionally, Viasat's threshold system for data deprioritization is less restrictive than HughesNet's traditional data caps, making it a more gamer-friendly option. 

It's important to note that companies may change their offerings and HughesNet may become more competitive in the future. However, for most consumers currently seeking satellite internet, Viasat is the better option. Viasat's consistent speeds and less restrictive data thresholds make it a more reliable choice, especially for those who require internet access for work or school. 

Furthermore, Viasat has made strides to expand its service area and is available in more locations than HughesNet. As of 2021, Viasat's satellite internet service is available in all 50 states, while HughesNet is not available in certain regions due to limitations in coverage. 

Satellite internet providers offer reliable connectivity in remote areas. Viasat excels with high-speed plans, unlimited data, and nationwide coverage. HughesNet delivers consistent service and affordable plans. Starlink, while still expanding, promises low latency and impressive speeds. For those seeking budget-friendly options, WildBlue and EarthLink are worth considering. Ultimately, choose based on location, speed, data limits, and pricing to ensure optimal satellite internet experience.

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