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8 / 10  Review Rating

Viasat (formerly Exede) is one of two major providers of satellite internet in the United States (the other being HughesNet).

While it may not provide the same speed as cable or fiber providers, Viasat does have a secret weapon. As of April 2018, the company now offers several unlimited data plans. This is a perk not often seen with satellite internet providers, and it is directly tied to the recent launch of their new Viasat-2 satellites.

viasat logo

The main draw of a satellite connection, in general, is that it allows people in rural areas to get online, even if they’re far away from an established network. With Viasat, almost everyone can get online and enjoy high-speed internet regardless of their location. All you need is a clear view of the southern sky (and willingness to sign a two-year contract).

Pros and Cons of Viasat Internet


  • No fees for overusing data
  • 98% nationwide US coverage
  • 25 Mbps plan upgrade options


  • Relatively expensive
  • Data is throttled after 150 GB
  • Long contracts

Viasat Internet Plans Overview

Usually, satellite connections are much more limited in their data allowances. Because data has to be sent to a satellite for transmission, there’s a maximum amount of capacity that the network can handle at any given time. Keep that in mind as you take a look at Viasat internet plans and pricing.

Liberty 12 $50.00 12 Mbps SATELLITE No No
Liberty 25 $75.00 12 Mbps SATELLITE No No
Liberty 50 $100.00 12 Mbps SATELLITE No No
Unlimited Silver 25 $150.00 25 Mbps SATELLITE No No

As mentioned above, Viasat does offer several “unlimited data” plans with 12–25 Mbps download speeds. These options also state that “other traffic may be prioritized” if you use over 100 GB a month, however. While this may sound like a solid deal, 100 GB isn’t very much by today’s standards. Yes, you can technically use as much data as you want, but your speeds will be slowed in the process. Use this handy data calculator to help you figure out your data usage needs.

We’ve found that Viasat’s top connection speeds are reasonably comparable to competitor HughesNet, overall. Still, some customers we spoke to were routinely unable to access the 25 Mbps upgrade due to bandwidth constraints in subscription areas. The effective top speed is often the 12 Mbps plan.

The pricing of Viasat’s plans are generally competitive with other Satellite internet providers, but more expensive when compared to Cable or Fiber. We’ve found them to be more expensive than HughesNet for the speed delivered, but often better in terms of the data allowance. Bundles with DirecTV — one of the top television providers in the nation — are also available with discounts over standalone service.

Viasat Speeds and Network Performance

Satellite connections are generally slower than traditional options like cable or fiber, but Viasat still manages to offer downloads of up to 25 Mbps.

While data with some plans are usually unlimited, expect to see the speed of your connection decrease once you hit 150 GB of usage each month.

Austin, Texas 14 Mbps 35 Mbps
Bronx, New York 9.3 Mbps 25 Mbps
Brooklyn, New York 12 Mbps 34 Mbps
Chicago, Illinois 11 Mbps 24 Mbps
Dallas, Texas 8.1 Mbps 17 Mbps
Denver, Colorado 6.0 Mbps 18 Mbps
Houston, Texas 7.8 Mbps 15 Mbps
Los Angeles, California 8.7 Mbps 25 Mbps
Miami, Florida 6.5 Mbps 16 Mbps
Minneapolis, Minnesota 13 Mbps 32 Mbps
New York, New York 21 Mbps 50 Mbps
Orlando, Florida 3.5 Mbps 10 Mbps
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 3.6 Mbps 10 Mbps
Phoenix, Arizona 8.9 Mbps 14 Mbps
Portland, Oregon 6.2 Mbps 6.2 Mbps
Saint Louis, Missouri 7.1 Mbps 15 Mbps
San Antonio, Texas 12 Mbps 31 Mbps
San Diego, California 15 Mbps 18 Mbps
San Jose, California 12 Mbps 24 Mbps
Tucson, Arizona 14 Mbps 32 Mbps
Viasat’s new Viasat-2 satellite ups the ante for consumers, bringing speeds that are more comparable with cable than ever. Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

Viasat-2 Launch: The Beginning Of a New Era For Satellite Internet

In 2018, Viasat launched a new satellite network, aptly named ViaSat-2. This new network brings about a slew of changes to the company’s internet plans, some of which are clearly targeted toward their primary competitor, HughesNet. Most importantly, the company is now offering unlimited data on all of their mainline plans. This includes the 12, 30, 50, and 100 Mbps options that are now available to most current and new subscribers. These plans represent a significant step in the right direction for the company, and for satellite internet as a whole.

Important Note: Unlimited still doesn't quite mean unlimited.

Crucially, Viasat mentioned in their initial press release that their new ViaSat-2 plans would be unlimited, up to a certain point. This point varies from plan to plan, but the company mentions that once exceeded, other customer’s traffic may still be prioritized over yours. That said, the new satellite network has a massively-upgraded capacity, so hopefully, this won’t be as large an issue going forward. Time will tell.

Simple internet-based games will probably be just fine on a satellite connection, but anything beyond that may present an issue.

Is Viasat Good For Gaming?

While speeds of around 25 Mbps may be fine for online games due to the low amount of data transmitted, the issue you’ll run into with a satellite connection is some pretty major latency.

Every bit of data you use has to travel around 23,000 miles to a satellite in space and then bounce back, and this results in a minimum latency of 500 ms — a limitation that all satellite providers share.

Viasat may serve just fine for Farmville, but will severely limit your effectiveness if you’re playing a game like Call of Duty or League of Legends. Streaming on Twitch becomes basically unworkable on any satellite connection, and quickly eats up data anyway.

Are There Any Benefits to a Satellite Connection?

While Cable delivers Internet over cables, Viasat beams it to a satellite and “bounces” it back down to subscribers throughout the US. Image Source: Unsplash

The main benefit of a satellite connection is the huge range that Viasat covers. You can access their service pretty much anywhere, but you’re going to pay more and get lower speeds overall.

Generally, satellite internet is intended to serve customers that don’t have access to traditional options. It can’t compete in price or speed with regular Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that have an established ground network — internet speeds are faster with wired connections than they are over the air (sorry, it's just science!).

Where is Viasat Internet Available?

As a satellite Provider, Viasat is available throughout 98% of the United States. The only real limitation within the contiguous United States is the need for an unobstructed view of the sky. That said, Viasat mainly focuses on offering service to rural customers who lack access to traditional options.

Viasat Installation Options and Installation Fees

Because Viasat requires a satellite dish to operate, you won’t be able to install service on your own. Fortunately, installation is free when you sign a two-year contract. The company doesn’t allow you to buy the equipment outright, so you’ll be stuck paying a rental fee in all cases.

Installation Fee Free
Internet Equipment Rental Fee $9.99
DirecTV DVR rental fee $15+
Early Termination Fee (ETF) – Internet $15 for each month remaining on contract
Early Termination Fee (ETF) – DirecTV $25 for each month remaining on contract

Viasat Internet Equipment Options

As far as specifications go, Viasat’s “Wi-Fi modem” gateway device is pretty standard in terms of power. It does have some neat extra features under the hood, however. The dual-band device supports both 2.4 and 5 GHz connections, and includes 5 ethernet ports. Additionally, the modem has support for guest access networks and parental controls, so you can manage your children’s internet access and keep guests off your personal network if you have security concerns.

Viasat comes with a modem/Wi-Fi “gateway” unit with advanced home networking features. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

If you’d prefer, you can use your own wireless equipment. You’ll still be stuck paying the monthly rental fee due to the inability to buy your own satellite, but it’s a viable option for those who would rather use equipment they’re already familiar with.

Viasat TV Service: What Are My Options?

Viasat and Directv
Viasat doesn’t provide TV service directly, but many customers bundle service with DirecTV for a small monthly savings. Image Source: Unsplash

While Viasat doesn’t offer TV themselves, they do partner with DIRECTV in many areas to offer bundled TV and internet service. The main plan advertised is the “Choice” package, starting at around $45 a month. It offers over 200 channels, a Genie TiVo DVR, and exclusive access to NFL Sunday Ticket. Here are a few of the premium sports channels offered with this plan:

DIRECTV Choice Sports Channels

  • NFL Network
  • ESPN 2 HD
  • Fox Sports 1 HD
  • NFL Sunday Ticket MAX
  • Tennis Channel HD
  • MLB Network HD
Genie HD DVR $20/month 1 TB
DirecTV HD DVR $15/month 500 GB
DirecTV Standard DVR $7/month 320 GB

Viasat Internet’s Main Strengths and Weaknesses

The Bad: Streaming Limitations

For heavy streamers and cord-cutters, satellite internet from Viasat is not a viable option. While you can enjoy a decent picture quality using the provider’s higher-tier plans, you’re going to quickly run into data cap issues. Viasat’s “unlimited” plan isn’t truly unlimited, in that you’ll end up with slower connections pretty quickly. 150 GB is pretty easy to blow through in a month and you’ll quickly find yourself frustrated with the limitations. Cutting the cord is much easier with a traditional cable or fiber connection.

The Good: Free Zone Data Bonus

If you’re on a plan with a data cap, take a look at your plan’s “free zone”, a range of early morning hours where the connection is not metered. These times, usually ranging from 3 – 6 AM, are periods where the network has a light load and can handle heavier individual usage. Schedule any major downloads for this window to save some precious data!

Conclusion: Viasat Internet Is Best for Rural Customers With a Streaming Habit

There’s no doubt about it: Viasat can’t compete with cable and fiber providers when it comes to price or quality of service.

With that said, they’re one of the best options available when traditional ISPs aren’t around. Their 25 Mbps downloads with a premium plan puts them above competitor HughesNet when it comes to top speeds, and they offer options without data caps (albeit with throttling for heavy usage).

Overall, while Viasat won’t allow you to stream HD content all day, it’s a viable option for high-speed internet in underserved areas of the United States. We recommend it above HughesNet for most customers, mainly because of the option for higher data caps that are friendly to streaming YouTube and Netflix.

Why Did Exede Internet Change Its Name To Viasat?

Interestingly, Viasat is the name of the satellite network that Exede Internet has been operating on for years now. It is also the parent company behind the service, and in late 2017, they decided to consolidate their branding into the Viasat name. No service changes were announced alongside the name change, and if you have Exede email addresses or logins, they won’t be changing, either (for now).

Viasat Internet (formerly Exede) at a Glance

Price Range $50.00 – $150.00/mo+
Connection Type(s) Satellite
Customer Recommendation Rating 35.30%
ACSI Customer Service Rating
Netflix Ranking 53rd
Population Served 308,511,223