Editor's Note
  • January 22, 2018 - Viasat, Exede’s parent company, recently rebranded Exede as part of its strategy to become a “global brand” and started offering different plan options. We updated language used in this review to reflect these changes.

The Good

Unlimited Data Plans and High Data Caps

Viasat launched Unlimited plans in late September, 2017, which don’t have a data cap at all — though the fine print states that Viasat may “prioritize your data behind other customers during network congestion” after you use 150GB. Viasat’s Freedom plan customers were already getting 150 gigabytes of data per month. At 150GB of unthrottled internet, both options give three times more than the highest data cap available at the other national satellite internet giant, HughesNet. To put that in perspective, HughesNet’s maximum cap of 50 GB will let you watch all 64 and a half hours of seasons one through eight of The Office without commercials (in standard definition), but you won’t be able to get all the way through season nine before hitting your cap. With a Freedom plan, you could watch the entire series almost three times before reaching your limit and getting throttled to crawling speeds.

Unlimited Data and Freedom plans are only available in select areas; you can find out the options where you live by going to Viasat’s website and entering your ZIP code.

Competitive Download and Upload Speeds

According to the most recent FCC data available, 95 percent of Viasat satellite internet customers were getting advertised download speeds of 12 Mbps, and upload speeds of three Mbps in 2016. That’s not as high as the “up to 30 Mbps” its website now touts for some customers, and that’s likely because Viasat launched a new satellite since then. At any rate, speeds from Viasat tend to hover right around or above its competitor, HughesNet, which was offering 5 Mbps and 10 Mbps to 95 percent of its customers in that same FCC data.

Bundle to Save Money

If you’re interested in satellite TV as well as satellite internet, Viasat offers a discount for customers who also sign up for a contract with DIRECTV. If you choose to bundle and consolidate those bills, you’ll receive $10 off your monthly bill for the first year of Viasat’s two-year contract, savings that add up to $240. And if you’re a new customer, you can order a Viasat Voice plan at the same time and get $10 taken off your phone plan for the first six months — though that may not be available in every service area.

Late-Night Free Zones

Viasat allows customers on its Classic plans to use as much data as they want between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. without having to worry about data limits. Those customers would be well-served to take advantage of that time by downloading any big files they need, like high-definition video. HughesNet offers a similar “free zone” when internet usage isn’t counted against your monthly allowance; but you’ll still have a data limit of 50 GB within that time. Viasat customers on other plans — the Hibernation plan, Freedom Plans, Unlimited data plans, or some Liberty Plans — aren’t provided a free zone, and some plans have a free zone with a different time range. Be sure to check the fine print of the plans you’re offered and plan out your heavy downloading accordingly.

The Bad

Actual Speeds Come Up Short

FCC data from 2016 showed Viasat’s median actual speeds reached only 70 percent of what was advertised, while HughesNet consistently exceeded what it advertised. So while the speeds you’re offered may seem fast compared to competition, you’ll actually need to multiply that number by .7 to see what you’re signing up for.

But that may change soon, because of that satellite Viasat launched in 2017. It’s promised faster speeds in 2018, and has plans to launch even more satellites in the next few years. That will likely bring speeds up to what’s advertised, at the very least — keep an eye on Viasat’s websites for progress.

Plans are Pricier than the Competition

In our review of The Best Satellite Internet, we found that Viasat’s plans are consistently more expensive than HughesNet’s for the same speeds. The trade-off, though, is that Viasat’s data caps are much more generous. The extra cost only make sense for people who know they burn through data each month.

The Details

Provider Details

  • Monthly Price: $50-100/month (this will vary based on location)
  • Service Area: Nationwide
  • States Available: 48

Additional Fees

  • Early Termination Fee: $15/remaining month of contract
  • Equipment Lease Fee: $9.99/month
  • Installation Fee: $100-150, depending on your area


As a sample, here’s what we see in Seattle. What’s available to you is determined by where you live.

Basic 12

  • Price: $50/month ($30 for first three months)
  • Download Rate: Up to 12 Mbps
  • Data Allowance: 10 GB
  • Free Zone: 3 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Bronze 12

  • Price: $70/month ($50 for first three months)
  • Download Rate: Up to 12 Mbps
  • Data Allowance: Unlimited

Silver 25

  • Price: $100/month ($70 for first three months)
  • Download Rate: Up to 25 Mbps
  • Data Allowance: Unlimited

Gold 30

  • Price: $150/month ($100 for the first three months)
  • Download Rate: Up to 30 Mbps
  • Data Allowance: Unlimited