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Best Satellite Internet Providers of 2023

  • Best speeds


    • Price: $69.99–$299.99/mo.*
    • Speed:25–150 Mbps
    Read Review
  • Best prices


    • Price: $49.99–$149.99/mo.
    • Speed: 15-50Mbps
    Read Review
  • Lowest latency


    • Price: $120.00/mo.
    • Speed: 20–100Mbps

About satellite internet

Satellite internet connects your home to the internet via an orbiting satellite. This makes satellite connections available nationwide and a good option for rural areas that lack access to DSL, cable, or fiber networks. Instead of using land-based cords and cables to provide your signal, you connect to the internet through a small satellite dish installed on or near your home. The two major satellite internet providers are Viasat and HughesNet, though new providers like Starlink are now entering the satellite internet market.

Internet satellites are typically located in geostationary orbit (GSO), so the satellite that provides your signal is always in the same spot in the sky. In the US and the rest of the northern hemisphere, satellite internet is available virtually anywhere with a clear view of the southern sky.

Low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites circle the Earth at only a fraction of the distance of GSO satellites, but they streak across the sky in a matter of minutes. Although your data doesn’t need to travel as far, you need thousands of LEO satellites to maintain continuous coverage.

Other providers, like HughesNet, are experimenting with hybrid satellite/wireless networks in order to deliver a responsive online experience while still using powerful GSO satellites.

Compare the best satellite internet providers

ProviderSatellite speeds up toIntroductory priceCustomer satisfactionOrder online
Starlink 20–100Mbps$120.00/mo.N/AView Plans

Find satellite providers in your area.

Pros and cons of satellite internet


  • Wide availability


  • Slow speeds
  • Restrictive data caps
  • High latency


Wide availability—Satellite is the only kind of internet connection that basically covers the entire United States. You don’t need physical infrastructure like buried cables or utility poles to connect to satellite internet—you don’t even need to live within range of a transmission tower. All you need is a clear view of the southern sky and a good spot on your property where you can mount a dish.


Slow speeds—Satellite is faster than dial-up and can keep up with many DSL plans, but it can’t compete in terms of speed with cable or fiber connections.

Restrictive data caps—Satellite internet plans usually have restrictive data caps compared to other types of internet. If you reach the cap, your speed can be reduced, or you have to pay for extra data if you want to return to your normal plan speeds. Data-intensive activities like watching movies on Netflix are more difficult to do on a satellite connection.

High latency—The extended delay (space is far away) between sending a signal from your computer and getting a response makes it hard to play fast-paced online games like Fortnite and can cause problems in other real-time activities like video chat.

Best satellite internet plans for rural areas

ProviderDownload speedData thresholdPricesOrder online
Viasat Choice 50MbpsUp to 50Mbps100GB$99.99/mo.
Viasat Choice 100Mbps/300GBUp to 100Mbps300GB$199.99/mo.
HughesNet 100 GBUp to 25Mbps100GB$74.99/mo.§

Best satellite internet providers

There are two main satellite providers, with several LEO satellite providers entering the market. Viasat gives you multiple options for internet plans with varying download speeds and amounts of data. HughesNet’s options are simple—all plans offer similar download speeds and only differ in the amount of data. Starlink offers lower latency and higher speeds, but it’s still experiencing difficulty in meeting demand.

Viasat: Optimal choice for enhanced speeds and expanded data capacity

If you need a fast, reliable satellite internet plan regardless of cost, Viasat is your best option. It has the fastest speeds available for traditional satellite internet.

When choosing a Viasat plan, there are two main things to consider: download speed and data. If you are willing to sign up for one of the more expensive plans, you can get the best of both and the most value for your dollar. However, if you don’t use the internet as much, you can get by with a cheaper plan and save some money.

In general, we don’t recommend the Viasat plans with the lowest data allotments. Even background tasks like software updates can eat up your entire month’s quota in one shot. Unless you have a good grasp on exactly how much data you use among all your devices, we suggest erring on the side of a larger data plan so you don’t end up spending even more money adding additional data to your account.

Viasat Plans and Pricing

PackagePromotional price*SpeedData capOrder online
Choice 25Mbps$69.99/mo.Up to 25Mbps60GB
Choice 50Mbps$99.99/mo.Up to 50Mbps100GB
Choice 75Mbps$149.99/mo.Up to 75Mbps150GB
Choice 100Mbps/300GB$199.99/mo.Up to 100Mbps300GB
Choice 100Mbps/500GB$299.99/mo.Up to 100Mbps500GB

Is Viasat fast?

Viasat is currently neck-and-neck with Starlink for the highest advertised speeds of any residential satellite internet plan as the latter’s speed estimates have been revised down due to network congestion. This makes Viasat one of the fastest satellite providers in North America.

Viasat plans differ from each other in both download speed and data. Only its fastest and most expensive plans reach the same maximum speeds as Starlink and at a higher cost with lower data caps. We don’t recommend the Viasat plans with the lowest data limits, as many customers will find themselves needing to buy additional data on a regular basis simply to keep up with software updates and similar tasks.

Viasat also has higher latency than Starlink, which can cause massive lag issues for real-time activities like video chat. This is an issue inherent in geosynchronous (GSO) satellite internet, not just Viasat.

HughesNet: Best for affordable plans

HughesNet plans have a download speed range of 15-50Mbps, which is the minimum connection speed that can be considered broadband. That’s enough to stream 4K video—at least in theory. When we tested HughesNet plans first-hand, we found that it couldn’t maintain enough speed to stream 4K. In fact, it barely managed 480p.

HughesNet offers two types of plans, traditional satellite-only plans and its multitransport HughesNet Fusion plans. Both plan types let you choose how much monthly data you want, though you can always purchase more if you run low.

HughesNet Fusion combines satellite and terrestrial wireless connections into a single plan. With some additional equipment, it will correctly route your connection over satellite or wireless, giving you low latency when it matters, such as with online games or video chat.

As with Viasat, we don’t generally recommend plans with low data caps, though if you experience slower-than-expected speeds like we did while testing, you might not be going through data as fast as you think. Although HughesNet makes it easy to buy more data, choosing a plan that better meets your household data usage saves you money in the long run.

All HughesNet plans also include 50GB of Bonus Zone data. This data stash is available during low-traffic hours at night—between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. This isn’t just a huge benefit for night owls, it also gives the option to plan out software updates and large downloads so they don’t count against the normal data caps.

HughesNet Plans, Pricing, and Speeds

PackagePrice*SpeedData capOrder online
Fusion 100 GB$74.99/mo.25Mbps100GB
Fusion 200 GB$149.99/mo.50Mbps200GB
Satellite-only 15 GB$49.99/mo.15Mbps15GB
Satellite-only 50 GB$49.99/mo.25Mbps50GB
Satellite-only 100 GB$74.99/mo.25Mbps100GB
Satellite-only 200 GB$149.99/mo.50Mbps200GB

Is HughesNet a practical solution?

HughesNet is the most affordable satellite internet, but it also has the lowest speeds, barely meeting the FCC’s threshold for broadband internet. This means that it’s enough speed to do basic tasks like checking your email or social media, but not enough to do more bandwidth-intensive tasks like watching HD video.

One advantage HughesNet has are its multitransport HughesNet Fusion plans. Like its satellite-only plans, Fusion plans have a fixed speed, but let you choose how much monthly data you want. The difference is that these plans combine satellite and terrestrial wireless connections, routing your connection over the one you need at that moment. This gives you low latency when it matters, such as with online games or video chat.

As with Viasat, we don’t recommend plans with incredibly low data caps, however, you might not be going through data as fast as you think with HughesNet. When testing HughesNet, we experienced much slower than expected speeds, which was not ideal, but it did mean that our data lasted longer than we had anticipated. In any case, while HughesNet makes it easy to buy more data, choosing a plan that better meets your household data usage will save you money in the long run.

HughesNet plans also include 50GB of Bonus Zone data. This extra data is only available during low-traffic hours at night—between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. This is handy for night owls, but more importantly, it gives the option to plan out software updates and large downloads so they don’t count against the normal data caps.

There are certainly pros and cons to going with the budget option for your home internet, so make sure you know what will work for your household before you commit to a long-term contract.

Starlink: Best potential (limited availability)

Starlink is one of the most exciting developments in satellite internet. Developed by SpaceX, Starlink uses thousands of small satellites in low orbit around the Earth, as opposed to a single, large telecommunications satellite, like Viasat and HughesNet.

One of the biggest physical hurdles that satellite internet faces is the immense distance between the earth and satellites in geosynchronous orbit. By bringing its satellites closer to Earth, Starlink shortens the path your data takes, allowing for lower latency and higher speeds. This makes real-time applications such as video chat and online games much more feasible.

Although you can sign up for Starlink anywhere in the US, the company is struggling to scale up to a nationwide operation. Those currently signing up are experiencing months-long waits before their equipment arrives, with no help from customer support.10

PackagePrice*SpeedData capOrder online
Starlink Residential$120.00/mo.§20–100MbpsNoneMore information
Starlink Roam Regional$150.00/mo.5Mbps–50MbpsNoneMore information
Starlink Roam Global$200.00/mo.5Mbps–50MbpsNoneMore information

Does Starlink live up to the hype?

Starlink is the biggest thing to happen in the satellite internet market in decades, but it’s still a newcomer to the scene. While Starlink could reshape internet in rural America by providing greater access, faster speeds, and lower prices like you see in more urban areas, it’s still a long way off on these promises. New customers often have to wait months to get their equipment. Speeds have dropped as the network has struggled to deal with the influx of users. The service also comes with a hefty upfront equipment cost and an increasingly convoluted system of data plans. None of these issues are conducive to folks in underserved rural areas.

Although some of these problems could be dealbreakers for many potential customers, Starlink, even in its current state, is a viable choice when compared to other satellite options. It may not live up to the hype (at least not yet), but it fills a need for rural customers who need a flexible, low-latency internet option.

How to find the best internet provider in your area

Enter your zip code above to see a comparison of the best internet providers available near you. Knowing what your options are is the first step to choosing the right internet provider for you.

How satellite internet works

Satellite internet works by sending a signal to a satellite in geosynchronous orbit (except for LEO satellites) and then bouncing that signal back to a receiver installed on your home. This means that you can get satellite service just about anywhere without normal infrastructure like buried cables, utility poles, or ground-based antennas.

Disadvantages of satellite internet

While beaming your internet signal in from outer space gives satellite internet a unique advantage over other types of connections, it also comes with a lot of downsides.

Due to strict data caps and high latency, satellite internet isn’t the best option unless it’s the only option. Although satellite internet can deliver broadband speeds up to 100Mbps in some areas (which match DSL speeds), its restrictive data caps and high price per Mbps make DSL the better choice if it’s available.

Space is very, very far away

Traditional satellite internet providers keep their satellites in geosynchronous orbit so that they are always found in the same spot in the sky. This means that a single satellite can cover an entire continent.

Unfortunately, geosynchronous orbit is very high—22,236 miles above the Earth’s surface. For comparison, the International Space Station is only 254 miles above the Earth. That means your data has to travel almost 90 times farther, plus it has to make a round trip.

Since a satellite signal has to travel all the way into orbit and back to reach the rest of the internet, satellite connections have much higher latency than other types of internet connections.

Latency is the amount of time it takes for a signal to travel from your computer to a server on the internet. High latency causes lag, which can make activities like video chat and online gaming difficult or impossible. Latency is different from bandwidth or download speed, which means that even if you have a fast connection, it still might have high enough latency to interfere with certain activities.

The future of satellite internet

Satellite internet has improved considerably over the years and is an industry where new companies like Starlink are still innovating. Speeds are getting faster, and a new generation of satellites is poised to accelerate the pace of these changes even further. Although it has definite drawbacks, satellite internet can still be a good option for those who want to stay connected even when they’re chilling in their cabin in the woods.

One of the biggest things to look for in the future is increased competition among satellite providers. Lack of competition is a problem across all types of internet technology, but satellite has a particularly high barrier to entry, which has left just two providers for decades. With several companies developing their own LEO satellite technology, we might finally see more options for satellite customers.

The LEO satellite gold rush is also forcing traditional GSO satellite providers to come up with new solutions to long-standing problems like latency. HughesNet plans to address this issue with its new Fusion plans, which make use of terrestrial wireless networks for latency-sensitive data. This means that if you make a video call or turn on your favorite Twitch streamer, your HughesNet equipment will switch over to a wireless connection in order to deliver that data to your device without the lag you’d get using your satellite connection.

Like LEO satellites, hybrid satellite internet like HughesNet Fusion could make a huge difference for rural communities without access to cable or fiber internet. As high-speed options in rural areas increase, people will be able to take advantage of many of the same opportunities for work, entertainment, and education available in urban areas.

The practical reality of connecting via satellite

For now, satellite internet still has enough downsides to make it a less appealing choice than fiber, cable, or DSL. High latency makes it difficult to use video chat or play online games, while low data caps make streaming video impractical.

Because of these factors, we highly suggest going with fiber, cable, or DSL if any of them are available in your area. If not, satellite internet is still a solid alternative to dial-up internet and a good way to stay connected in rural areas.

What other internet options are available for rural areas?

Satellite internet is the only type of internet connection that is available throughout the entire US. However, many rural areas have other options like DSL, hotspots, and 4G LTE internet that might be a better choice for your needs.

4G LTE home internet

4G LTE home internet uses the same cellular networks that your mobile devices use, but with a more traditional router that connects to cellular networks rather than a phone or a mobile hotspot.

Because these plans are designed for home Wi-Fi networks, 4G LTE home internet plans are usually better suited for families with higher internet usage. Many plans come with unlimited data, which can make them a good alternative to satellite internet in areas where you have good cell reception.

Verizon is also building out its 5G Home Internet service, which uses 5G cellular technology. This service has the potential to offer much higher speeds than 4G cellular connections and will provide internet to customers in areas with limited internet choices.3

Mobile wireless hotspots

Mobile wireless internet uses cell towers to connect to your phone or other devices. Although phone networks don’t cover the whole United States, 4G cellular networks cover most populated areas. If you get good phone reception in your house, you might be able to use your phone in lieu of a separate internet plan.

Most smartphones can be used as a mobile hotspot, which broadcasts a Wi-Fi signal that you can use to connect your other devices like laptops and smart TVs. You can also buy a dedicated mobile hotspot in addition to your phone plan. This will keep your phone from running down its battery and ensure that the other people in your house don’t lose their internet connection every time you go out.

Like satellite connections, many phone plans have data caps or other restrictions that make them difficult to use as your primary internet service. If, however, you have good reception and don’t use a lot of data in a month, you can get decent internet service through a service you’re already paying for.

Satellite internet FAQ

Which provider offers the best satellite internet?

Viasat offers the best satellite internet if you want faster download speeds and more data, while HughesNet offers more affordable plans.

There are currently two providers that offer traditional residential satellite internet in the United States: Viasat and HughesNet. Both are available nationwide. Viasat provides a lot of different plans, from slower budget options to expensive plans that can reach speeds up to 100Mbps.

Although it has more options, Viasat plans often have price hikes that can catch you unaware if you don’t read the fine print. Another issue is that although Viasat is technically available anywhere in the US, increased internet demand in rural areas means that Viasat doesn’t have the bandwidth to add new customers in certain areas.

HughesNet is the provider to turn to for simple, no-fuss satellite internet. HughesNet has more consistent pricing without hidden price hikes. But its download speeds top out at 50Mbps.

There are also several providers building low-earth orbit satellite constellations, the first of which is Starlink. Starlink offers faster speeds and lower latency than Viasat or HughesNet, though the company is currently struggling to fulfill orders for equipment, so it could be a few months until your service is up and running.

What’s the deal with SpaceX’s Starlink?

Using SpaceX’s reusable rockets, Starlink has been launching hundreds of satellites into low-Earth orbit at a fraction of the normal cost associated with launching satellites. The ultimate goal is to offer faster, more affordable satellite internet service.

LEO satellite constellations like Starlink have the potential to drastically improve internet connections for rural Americans, both through better speeds and more competition between providers. That said, while Starlink’s technology is amazing, the company has struggled to actually manage the logistics necessary for a nationwide internet provider. Equipment deliveries have been delayed by almost a full year and promises about speed and data have had to be rolled back as the satellite network has struggled under the strain of so many users.10, 13

Although Starlink and other LEO satellite services are definitely changing the way we connect to the internet, it remains to be seen if these companies will be able to fully realize their lofty visions.

How fast will Starlink internet be?

Starlink currently advertises download speeds between 50 and 250Mbps, which is faster than any plans currently available through residential satellite internet providers. As new satellites are launched and old ones deorbit, the actual speed users experience will vary.

Starlink speeds are also impacted by the number of customers using its network, so estimated speeds have fluctuated considerably since the service’s public launch. SpaceX’s long-term plans include the goal of reaching 10Gbps download speeds, which is faster than most residential internet plans.7

Also, because these satellites are in low-Earth orbit (just dipping into the Earth’s atmosphere), they can deliver these speeds with much lower latency than geostationary satellites, which are thousands of miles higher into space. Starlink customers can expect 20–40 ms of latency, compared to latency around 600 ms for traditional satellite internet.4

How much does Starlink internet cost?

Starlink has a monthly fee of $110. The equipment to set up Starlink, including the satellite dish, currently costs $599—the most expensive upfront costs of any satellite provider; however, it’s also the only satellite provider that doesn’t have data caps.

For comparison, both HughesNet and Viasat have plans around this price range, but Starlink’s plan aims to be four to eight times faster. In contrast, Viasat’s comparable 100Mbps plan has a $169.99 per month promotional price that later increases to $249.99 per month. While purchasing equipment for either Viasat or HughesNet costs several hundred dollars, both have options to rent equipment, which vastly reduces upfront costs. Starlink does not currently have an option to rent its equipment.

Will there be just three satellite providers?

Although Starlink is set to become the first competitor to HughesNet and Viasat in almost twenty years, there are several other companies currently developing low-Earth orbit satellite constellations to provide home internet access.

Amazon’s Project Kuiper is partnering with Verizon to collaborate on bringing faster, more reliable internet to underserved rural areas in the United States. Amazon hopes that this might provide a solution for the remote work issues that people in these areas face.8

Meanwhile, OneWeb is partnering with the Saudi tech firm NEOM to bring fast satellite internet to the Middle East. OneWeb currently has over half of its proposed satellite network in orbit.9 Its launch schedule has been impacted by international sanctions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, though the company still plans on launching the second half of its satellite constellation this year using Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos.11 OneWeb is currently planning to merge with Eutelsat in 2023, making it a force to be reckoned with in satellite internet.12

How do I install satellite internet?

You need a professional installation to hook up your satellite internet service. Neither Viasat nor HughesNet offer self-installation as an option. Both require a technician to come to your home to install and calibrate your dish.

Starlink does not currently offer installation, so beta testers only have the option to buy a $599 setup kit and self-install.

How fast is satellite internet?

Current satellite internet speeds range from 12Mbps to 100Mbps. It’s important to remember that even at higher speeds, satellite connections still suffer from extremely high latency, which can make your connection feel much slower than it is while doing certain activities like streaming or online gaming.

Is satellite internet better than DSL?

DSL is a better choice than satellite internet if it’s available. DSL offers similar download speeds to satellite internet, but it has much lower latency and higher data caps. DSL plans are also often cheaper than satellite plans, making it a fairly clear choice.


  1. Karl Bode, Techdirt, “Verizon Says Claims It’s Abandoning Its DSL Customers ‘Pure Nonsense,’ as Company Clearly Busy Abandoning DSL Customers,” June 16, 2015. Accessed October 15, 2020.
  2. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, “AT&T Kills DSL, Leaves Tens of Millions of Homes without Fiber Internet,” October 5, 2020. Accessed October 15, 2020.
  3. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, “Verizon Announces Its Nationwide 5G Network,” Oct 13, 2020. Accessed October 15, 2020.
  4. Joey Roulette, Reuters, “Musk’s SpaceX Pegs Initial Starlink Internet Price at $99 per Month – Email,” October 27, 2020. Accessed October 29, 2020.
  5. Jackie Wattles, CNN Business, “Here’s What You Need to Know About SpaceX’s Starlink Internet Service,” October 26, 2019. Accessed October 15, 2020.
  6. Mike Brown, Inverse, “SpaceX Starlink: When Will It Be Available in My Area?,” February 4, 2020. Accessed October 15, 2020.
  7. Michael Kan, PC Mag, “SpaceX’s Starlink Raises Download Speed Goal From 1Gbps to 10Gbps,” January 26, 2021. Accessed January 28, 2021.
  8. Anuradha Garg, Market Realist, “Project Kuiper, Starlink, and OneWeb Duel in Satellite Internet Race,” October 26 2021, Accessed October 27, 2021.
  9. Jason Rainbow, SpaceNews, “OneWeb and Saudi Arabia create $200 million connectivity joint venture,” October 27, 2021. Accessed October 28, 2021.
  10. Kate Duffy, Business Insider. “SpaceX Starlink Customers Who Paid a $100 Deposit 7 Months Ago Are Frustrated at Being Unable To Contact Customer Service To See When Their Kits Will Arrive.” Sep 5, 2021, Accessed March 9, 2022.
  11. Jason Rainbow, Space News, “Russia-Ukraine War Raises Questions for Upcoming Oneweb Launches,” February 28, 2022. Accessed March 17, 2022.
  12. Kris Holt, Engaget, “Two of Europe’s Biggest Internet Satellite Companies are Merging to Take on Starlink” July 26, 2022. Accessed July 28, 2022.
  13. Aaron Leong, DigitalTrends, “Why Starlink download speeds are experiencing double-digit dips,” Published November 30, 2022. Accessed January 30, 2023.