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Viasat is a high-speed internet choice favored by people who live in rural areas where cable and fiber optics are not available. As a satellite internet service, Viasat might not have the speed of wired internet providers, but it does allow you to access the internet and even stream video (with some limitations that we’ll talk about later). Viasat offers a good assortment of plans (which vary depending on where you live) that deliver impressively high speeds at prices lower than most satellite competitors (although they are higher than the prices of most cable and fiber optic plans).
Many people still know Viasat as Exede. The company’s plans are not popular in metro areas, which is no surprise — but in rural locations where the pickings are slim, Viasat is a better option than most.
Viasat reigns as one of the largest satellite internet providers in the United States — it trails only HughesNet in availability. The main perk of Viasat is that it has the fastest speeds available from a satellite internet provider. You can also get higher data caps from Viasat, which makes it a better option if you like to stream video.
Viasat’s relative speed is a big deal, because satellite internet is usually a bit on the slow side. The reason customers choose satellite internet is out of necessity: It’s available where other types of internet service are not. You can live on a farm in the rural countryside and still obtain service from Viasat. Without a doubt, it is accessible from just about anywhere, which is a huge perk. Some places in the country just don’t have wired internet infrastructure, but that’s no obstacle to a satellite service like Viasat.
Yes, you are going to pay more for Viasat than you do for cable and DSL; and, yes, the speed does top out at only 100 Mbps. when compared to other satellite internet providers, Viasat is more affordable and impressively fast. Plus, your price is locked for two years depending on what plan you choose. Viasat offers no-contract plans, too, though the trade-off is a higher monthly price.
100 Mbps is fast enough to stream video, and you should have no issues with standard-definition streams and on-demand services like Netflix. Live TV and HD video are tougher to stream, so your mileage may vary with those.
Viasat’s satellite internet prices are different from other wireless internet providers. Their pricing is more based on speed than data, unlike Hughesnet and Rise Broadband.
Viasat has two plans with faster speeds than Hughesnet. But what really makes Viasat a better choice over Hughesnet is their unlimited data plans. These are impressive plans, though — to be honest — they’re not truly unlimited. Despite the name, these plans have “soft” data caps ranging from 40-150 GB per month. However, those caps are still higher than the ones on Hughesnet’s plans. And if you’re interested in saving money, a “soft” cap — meaning that your internet speeds may slow down after you pass the cap — is better than a “hard” cap, in which blowing past the cap would mean paying data overage fees.
Relative to plan speeds, the prices for Viasat’s plans are a lot lower than Hughesnet’s. Viasat even has a lower price-per-Mbps plan than Rise Broadband, one of the cheapest rural internet providers. Viasat’s prices are still higher than wired internet providers, but that’s normal for satellite internet.
All Viasat plans and equipment must be installed by a certified Viasat technician, because you will need to have a satellite dish installed. You’ll need to lease or purchase your equipment.
The equipment lease for all of Viasat plans costs $10 per month, which is a pretty typical rate for an equipment fee. If you prefer to purchase Viasat’s equipment, it will cost you around $300 for the equipment. The main drawback of purchasing the equipment is that it is changing all the time and might quickly become outdated. Leasing the equipment means paying that monthly fee, but it also means that Viasat will provide you with updated equipment when needed. It’s cheaper to lease Viasat’s equipment if you only plan to stay with them for two years.
Viasat is ideal for:
Rural areas don’t have a lot of choices for internet service, especially if you want to stream video. The fact that Viasat offers speeds of up to 100 Mbps makes it special for people who are looking for higher speeds. If you’re moving from the city to a rural area, the transition might be a bit easier with the relatively speedy satellite service of Viasat. A coworker of mine recently made that move and — thanks to Viasat — is still able to participate in our Zoom meetings without much lag. Viasat’s contracts aren’t ideal, but your price will be locked for two years if you do which makes it easier to stick to a budget.
When it comes to satellite internet providers, Viasat’s only real competition is HughesNet. Viasat’s slower packages are comparable to some of HughesNet’s, but if you want high speeds, there’s no comparison: Viasat is your best option.
If I wanted to satisfy my family's streaming habits, I’d choose the Unlimited Platinum 100 plan. The price is high, but it would be easier to stream and continue working from home. There’s also enough priority data to handle all the meetings I have and shows we love to binge.
Viasat doesn’t offer any internet and TV bundles, but they do advertise Dish TV as their choice for TV. Viasat does offer a voice service you can add to your internet plan for $19.99 a month when you bundle.
Viasat began as a communications equipment company providing products to the military and large businesses. It wasn’t until 2017 that Viasat became the brand we know today. Prior to 2017, Viasat internet was known as Exede. Viasat continues to improve its network with new satellite launches from 2020-2022 and experimenting with DSL and satellite hybrid connections.