Viasat vs. HughesNet Review 2022

If satellite internet is your only option, you might consider Viasat or HughesNet. Here's how these two satellite providers compare.

Best for Top Speeds & Data
Monthly price
$30$169.99
Download speeds
12100 Mbps
Data cap
12150 GB
Best for Budget Prices
Monthly price
$64.99-$159.99
Download speeds
25 Mbps
Data cap
1575 GB
Catherine McNally
Editorial Lead, Internet & Gaming
Read More
February 02, 2022
9 min read

When comparing Viasat versus HughesNet, we recommend Viasat thanks to its faster speeds and higher data caps.

Viasat's download speeds soar past HughesNet with a max of 100 Mbps, and so do its data caps (up to 300 GB a month). On the other hand, Viasat’s prices also top out at $200 a month after your three-month promotional price ends, but that price gets you some of the fastest download speeds and largest data caps available to satellite internet.

As for HughesNet, its download speeds max out at 25 Mbps, and you’ll pay up to $159.99 a month depending on how much data you want (up to 75 GB a month).

If you’re still undecided on whether Viasat or HughesNet is best, we’ve compared prices, download speeds, data caps, and more for these two satellite internet providers.

Viasat satellite internet pros and cons

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Fastest speeds up to 100 Mbps
Pro Bullet Better prices if you want faster speeds and more data
Pro Bullet Unlimited plans come with up to 300 GB of data per month
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet High prices that go up by $15–$50 after three months
Con Bullet Download speeds of 1–5 Mbps after you hit your data limit
Con Bullet No option to add data to Unlimited plans

HughesNet satellite internet pros and cons

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Option to add data to any plan
Pro Bullet Prices stay the same for two years
Pro Bullet More affordable plans with low data and slower speeds
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Only one 25 Mbps download speed option
Con Bullet Download speeds of 1–3 Mbps after data cap exceeded
Con Bullet Higher prices for more data when compared to Viasat
See which Viasat and HughesNet plans are available near you.

Viasat vs. HughesNet: Prices

Winner: Tie

If it’s your wallet you’re concerned about and not speed, HughesNet one-ups Viasat with a steady price that starts out cheaper and doesn’t jump up after three months.

That said, Viasat’s prices may be higher, but its 100 Mbps download speeds are the fastest satellite internet can provide. And when you look at the price Viasat charges for those top-end speeds, it ends up cheaper per Mbps than HughesNet.

But before we compare Viasat versus HughesNet prices, let’s get the lay of the land.

Viasat promotional prices and prices after three months
Plan
Promotional price*
Price after 3 mos.
Download speed
Data cap
Details
$30.00/mo.*$50/mo.12 Mbps12 GB
$50.00/mo.*$75/mo.12 Mbps25 GB
$75.00/mo.*$100/mo.12 Mbps50 GB
$49.99-$69.99/mo.*$70/mo.12 Mbps35 GB
$69.99-$99.99/mo.*$100/mo.25 Mbps60 GB
$99.99/mo.*$150/mo.12 Mbps45 GB
$119.99/mo.*$150/mo.30 Mbps100 GB
$99.99-$149.99/mo.*$150/mo.50 Mbps100 GB
$149.99/mo.*$200/mo.12 Mbps65 GB
$149.99-$199.99/mo.*$200/mo.100 Mbps150 GB
Data effective 01/17/22. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Offer available to new qualifying customers. One-time standard installation fee may be due at checkout. Minimum 24-month service term required. Equipment lease fee is $12.99/mo. Taxes apply. Service is not available in all areas. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time.

Data effective 11/29/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 3 months.

Viasat charges $30 to $150 a month for its satellite internet service, and the price changes based on how much download speed and data you want. The faster your speed and the more data you add, the higher the price.

Also, Viasat’s prices are nowhere near as straightforward as HughesNet’s prices. (Seriously, solving a Rubik’s cube is easier than puzzling out why certain Viasat plans are priced the way they are.) If you ask us, Avril Lavigne secretly wrote the song “Complicated” about Viasat.

And those prices get even more complicated when you throw in Viasat’s three-month price hike.

Where Viasat’s prices were treating your brain to a logic puzzle, HughesNet prices are refreshingly straightforward. What you see is what you get—even the HughesNet plan names refer to how much data comes with them.

HughesNet promotional prices
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
15 GB$64.99/mo.*25 Mbps15 GB
30 GB$74.99/mo.*25 Mbps30 GB
45 GB$109.99/mo.*25 Mbps45 GB
75 GB$159.99/mo.*25 Mbps75 GB

Yup, that’s it for HughesNet prices.

Viasat vs. HughesNet prices compared

Deciding whether HughesNet or Viasat offers the best value for you really depends on what you can make do with or what you need.

  • More data or faster download speeds: Viasat offers more value.
  • Lower prices, slower speeds, and less data: HughesNet offers more value.

Because HughesNet offers only 25 Mbps speeds and data up to 75 GB, it can be tricky to compare it to Viasat, which has speeds and data caps all over the place. So let’s compare two similar HughesNet and Viasat plans to see which one is the better deal.

Let’s look at HughesNet’s most expensive plan, 75 GB, and compare it to a similar Viasat plan first.

If you take the HughesNet 75 GB plan with 25 Mbps download speeds and 75 GB of data and compare it to the Viasat Unlimited Silver 25 plan with 25 Mbps and 120 GB of data, here’s how everything compares at face value.

Viasat Unlimited Silver 25 compared to HughesNet 75 GB
Service
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Viasat InternetUnlimited Silver 25$69.99-$99.99/mo.*25 Mbps60 GB
HughesNet Internet75 GB$159.99/mo.25 Mbps75 GB
Data effective 01/17/22. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Offer available to new qualifying customers. One-time standard installation fee may be due at checkout. Minimum 24-month service term required. Equipment lease fee is $12.99/mo. Taxes apply. Service is not available in all areas. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time.

At first glance, it’s clear that Viasat’s Unlimited Silver 25 plan is the better deal. But does that hold up when the price balloons to $100 a month after the promotional period ends?

A quick look at the math tells us that, over two years, we’d pay the following amounts for the HughesNet 75 GB plan and the Viasat Unlimited Silver 25 plan:

  • HughesNet 75 GB: $159.99 x 24 months = $3,839.76
  • Viasat Unlimited Silver 25: ($70 x 3 months) + ($100 x 21 months) = $2,310

So Viasat’s Unlimited Silver 25 plan is almost $1,600 cheaper than HughesNet’s 75 GB plan over the two-year contract, even with the three-month price hike factored in. Plus, you get 45 more GB of data per month with Viasat. Not bad.

Now let’s compare a cheaper HughesNet plan to a similar Viasat plan. How about the HughesNet 15 GB plan versus the Visast Liberty 25 plan?

Viasat Liberty 25 compared to HughesNet 15 GB
Service
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Viasat InternetLiberty 25$50.00/mo.*12 Mbps25 GB
HughesNet Internet15 GB$64.99/mo.25 Mbps15 GB
Data effective 01/17/22. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Offer available to new qualifying customers. One-time standard installation fee may be due at checkout. Minimum 24-month service term required. Equipment lease fee is $12.99/mo. Taxes apply. Service is not available in all areas. Offer may be changed or withdrawn at any time.

Here’s how those prices add up over your two-year contract when you take the Viasat price hike into account:

  • HughesNet 15 GB: $64.99 x 24 months = $1,559.76
  • Viasat Liberty 25: ($50 x 3 months) + ($75 x 21 months) = $1,725

It’s a close race, and it may not seem like much, but the HughesNet 15 GB plan will save you about $165 over two years compared to the Viasat Liberty 25 plan.

View Viasat Plans | Read Viasat Review
View HughesNet Plans | Read HughesNet Review

Viasat vs. HughesNet: Internet speed

Winner: Viasat

When it comes to internet speed, Viasat pairs you with speeds anywhere from 12 to 100 Mbps, while all of HughesNet’s plans come with a steady 25 Mbps.

Compared to any other type of internet, those max download speeds are slow.

Viasat vs. HughesNet download speeds and upload speeds
Provider
Download speeds
Upload speeds
Viasat Internet12100 Mbps3 Mbps
HughesNet Internet25 Mbps3 Mbps

Data effective 11/29/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

But if satellite internet is one of your best options, our choice is Viasat for those top-end, 100 Mbps download speeds.

Sure, 25 Mbps is all right if it’s just you doing a little emailing and a little Facebook browsing. But share your internet with even just one more person, try to do a little video streaming with your Roku, or get some work done from home, and 25 Mbps (or speeds below that) just won’t cut it.

Not sure how much speed you need?
Light Bulb
Check out our internet speed guide and get a peg on how much speed is best for your household.

Not to mention that, thanks to its high latency, satellite internet just isn’t cut out for the following:

That’s not to say that you can’t do these things with satellite internet. But you’ll likely lag or gobble up your monthly data allowance.

We’ve got more info on how to stream with satellite internet as well as some tips to optimize your satellite internet speeds and how to deal with data caps that should help you avoid some of those heartaches and headaches. Hopefully.

Play Video

Data caps

When it comes to data caps, Viasat offers anywhere from 12–300 GB of data a month, while HughesNet offers 15–75 GB of data per month.

Compared to the terabyte (1,000 GB) or even unlimited data caps you get with most DSL, cable, and fiber internet plans, both satellite ISP’s data caps are a huge letdown.

You may be wondering if this data cap business is a mistake, at least where Viasat is concerned. Unfortunately, even though it advertises many of its internet plans as “unlimited,” Viasat still has data caps on every single one of its plans.

If you go over that Viasat unlimited plan data cap, it slows your internet speeds to anywhere between 1 to 5 Mbps during times when lots of people are using the internet. That’s a slow crawl at best.

Here’s a quick look at the major differences between HughesNet and Viasat data caps:

Viasat vs. HughesNet data caps
Provider and plan
Data cap
When you use up your data...
Can you buy more data?

Viasat Liberty plans

12–50 GB/mo.

Speeds slow to 1–5 Mbps at all times

Yes

Viasat Unlimited plans

45–300 GB/mo.

Speeds slow to 1–5 Mbps during high-traffic times

No

All HughesNet plans

15–75 GB/mo.

Speeds slow to 1–3 Mbps at all times

Yes

Data effective 11/29/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Notice that Viasat lets you add data only to its Liberty plans, while the Unlimited plans are stuck with potentially slow speeds until the data resets at the start of the next month.

Things get a little complicated when it comes to satellite internet data caps, so we recommend diving into our Viasat data guide and HughesNet data guide if you want all the juicy details.

View Viasat Plans | Read Viasat Review
View HughesNet Plans | Read HughesNet Review

Viasat vs. HughesNet: Customer service

Winner: Neither

It’s no secret that internet providers have a lot to work on when it comes to customer service. And, sadly, Viasat and HughesNet are no exception.

While both ISPs were lumped into the “All Others” category of the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report,5 you only need to turn to the internet to find dozens of customer complaints about Viasat and HughesNet.

Viasat vs. HughesNet customer service ratings comparison
Provider
ACSI 2020–2021 score
Viasat 62 out of 100 (“All Others”)
HughesNet

64 out of 100 (“All Others”)

Customer reviews scattered across the web get a little more specific, showing why both of these satellite ISPs earned what’s essentially a D grade:

Gerald from Florissant, Colorado, described his confusing and unhelpful experience with HughesNet customer service: “I had an (appointment) to install HughesNet in my new home this afternoon, and when I called to confirm, they said my account was canceled and was sent a refund, and I had to start over. No one told me why, just that it was canceled.”6

And a user on HighSpeedInternet.com didn’t have anything better to say about their experience with Viasat’s customer service: “We have had four to five scheduled visits to repair a box issue (we aren’t getting internet service). (Viasat has) never shown up, and they don’t call until after they miss the appointment (each time).”7

No Viasat service for more than two days? Ask for a bill adjustment!
Heads Up

Mary from Eugene, Oregon, left a pro tip we had to share here. She said that you can always ask Viasat for a bill adjustment if your service is interrupted for more than two days.8

But you have to ask for it, so get on the phone with Viasat if bad weather or other issues leave you without internet for more than a couple days.

But sometimes we all get lucky and land that one customer service rep who’s amazing.

Sherry from Lake Butler, Florida, had nothing but praise for her HughesNet service representative: “Was having trouble with my internet, when I called to figure it out the rep did (an) excellent job trying to get it figured out! He went through everything on his end that he could and helped me check everything on my end. It took a little while but had my internet back up and running. Thank You.”9

Our advice? If you have to call Viasat or HughesNet customer service, we recommend checking our customer service guide for tips before you pick up the phone.

View Viasat Plans | Read Viasat Review
View HughesNet Plans | Read HughesNet Review

Viasat vs. HughesNet: Which is better?

Best for fast speeds & most data
Viasat Internet
Viasat Internet
Our Rating
4 out of 5 stars
4
Starting from
$30.00
/mo
Data effective 11/12/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

We recommend Viasat if you’re going for the fastest possible speeds and highest data caps—and if you don’t mind spending more per month. But HughesNet could save you some money If you prefer paying less and don’t mind slower speeds and lower data caps.

  • Price: Tie. Major points to HughesNet for consistent pricing across your whole contract and lower prices in general. Of course, HughesNet’s low prices come with slow speeds and less data than Viasat, so if you’re after faster download speeds and higher data caps, Viasat is the better buy.
  • Speed and data: Viasat. Viasat offers faster speeds up to 100 Mbps and bigger data caps of up to 300 GB. HughesNet’s speeds are the same 25 Mbps for all its plans, and it comes with a max of only 75 GB of data.
  • Customer service: Neither. Both Viasat and HughesNet have some serious work to do when it comes to customer service, just like every other ISP.

It also bears repeating: if you’re swapping to satellite internet from DSL, cable, or fiber internet, then satellite’s high prices, slower speeds, and small data caps might be a nasty surprise.

That said, it’s always a good idea to check for other rural internet options in your area. An easy way to do this is to enter your zip code in our tool below. We’ll show you all the internet providers in your area, including their prices, download speeds, and more.

Runner-up for slower, budget-friendly plans: HughesNet

4 out of 5 stars
4
Download speeds
25 Mbps
Data cap
1575 GB
Connection Type
Satellite
Starting from
$64.99
Data effective 05/19/2022. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Still comparing Viasat and HughesNet? Check this out next:
Viasat
4 out of 5 stars
4

Need the fastest speeds satellite has?

HughesNet
3 out of 5 stars
3

Rather pay the lowest price for satellite internet?

FAQ

Still have questions that need answering? Let's see if we can help.

Is Viasat better than HughesNet?

Generally, we say yes, Viasat is better than HughesNet. That's because it offers more data (300 GB vs. 75 GB) and faster max speeds (100 Mbps vs. 25 Mbps) than HughesNet.

But if you're more concerned about your bill and don't use your internet often, HughesNet's lower prices for its 15 GB and 30 GB plans are cheaper than Viasat.

Who is the best satellite internet provider?

Right now, our money's still on Viasat as the best satellite internet provider. But you shouldn't automatically discount HughesNet or even up-and-comer Starlink.

While Viasat offers the fastest max speeds (100 Mbps) and most data (300 GB) of the two satellite internet providers that are most widely available, HughesNet does offer cheaper plans with slower speeds and less data that may appeal to you if you prefer to be offline more than online.

And Starlink is still building out its satellite service, meaning we have yet to see its full potential.

What is the best internet service for rural areas?

Honestly, the best internet service for rural areas mainly comes down to what you have available. Satellite internet, like Viasat and HughesNet, is available pretty much nationwide, so chances are you can grab a satellite internet plan.

In that case, we'd recommend Viasat if you share your internet with others, like family, or consider yourself a digital nomad. And HughesNet is an okay choice if you don't use the internet a lot and would rather save some money.

But if you have DSL internet, fixed wireless, or even a hotspot device, these may be better internet options for your rural location. We cover each of these connection types in our rural internet guide.

Sources

Catherine McNally
Written by
Catherine McNally
Catherine has a degree in journalism and an MBA, and has spent the last 10+ years writing everything from Okinawa travel guides to stories on Medium. She’s been online since AOL CDs were a thing and is an unapologetic PC gamer. She believes the internet is a necessity, not a luxury, and writes reviews and guides to help everyone stay connected. You can also find her on Twitter: @CMReviewsIt.

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