Why you can trust ZDNet
Our recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We may earn a commission when you purchase a product through our links. This helps support our work but does not influence what we write about or the price you pay. Our editors thoroughly review and fact check every article. Our process

‘ZDNet Recommends’ What exactly does that mean?

ZDNet’s recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNet nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNet's editorial team writes on behalf of YOU, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form

Close

DISH network internet review: Performance depends on your location

What you can expect from one of the nation's biggest satellite providers.

DISH Network Internet offers consumers the ability to bundle their TV package with high-speed internet plans from one of their partners. As a satellite company, it made sure to include a satellite internet option, which caters to those who live in more remote areas that do not have access to DSLcable or fiber

Not sure what to expect? Let us break it down for you with our DISH internet review. 

The Claim

DISH promises the best satellite TV and internet package in the industry, saying, "Not only do we have great internet available where you live, but we also have the best TV in the industry -- all at a price the competition can't touch." On its internet performance specifically, DISH claims, "Connections are reliable, installation is professional, and customer support is available 24/7."

Is it true?

Sort of.

DISH's internet performance is tough to gauge because your location will determine whether you're connected with Frontier or Viasat. DISH claims that up to 100+ Mbps is available with these options, but again, that is entirely dependent on location. While Frontier offers DSL and fiber-optic service and claims to offer high speeds, reliable network, and the capability to support multiple devices, it is less available and less reliable depending on where you are located. For those in the right spot, it's a great option. For more remote areas, Viasat's satellite internet may be the best option. It may be slower than DSL or fiber, but Viasat's unlimited rural internet data plans are a good deal.

DISH's internet partners scored high in our lists of the best high-speed internet providers and the best cheap internet service.

DISH does have a reputable installation service. Customers are given a 75-minute window for when your technician will arrive, and you can track the exact time on DISH's website. The provider's customer support is indeed some of the best in the business, as well: Support is available 24/7, and DISH was the only internet provider to receive a five-star rating from J.D. Power in customer service.

Product Overview

Best for

People who require higher speeds (DISH via HughesNet) or higher data limits (DISH via Viasat)

Not for

High volume data users as well as users who prefer multiple HD or 4K streams


DISH via HughesNetDISH via Viasat
Price per monthStarts at $27.99Starts at $50
Standout featuresHigh speedsHigh data limits
States served29 states50 states
Data plansUnlimitedUnlimited
Average download speedsUp to 940 MbpsUp to 100 Mbps
Contract length2 years2 years

Customer Service

Internet service providers are some of the least-liked companies globally, and their customer satisfaction is notoriously low. Surprisingly, DISH bucks this trend. In 2019, J.D. Power awarded DISH Network the highest in overall customer satisfaction. And DISH Network reviews tend to be positive. But your experience with the internet customer service may be different since Frontier has some of the lowest scores in J.D. Power's customer satisfaction study, and Viasat's users are not particularly happy with their service either.

No overage fees

Both Frontier and Viasat offer unlimited data in their DISH Network plans. This is good news for those not wanting to get caught with an unexpected overage fee at the end of the month.

Possible Drawbacks

Slowing satellite speeds

In general, satellite speeds are slowing down significantly. In a 2016 study (the most recent available), the FCC collected nationwide information on internet service provider speeds. It found that satellite speeds over the past years took a huge hit, while almost all other internet service options remained flat. The report states that Viasat's went down from 107% to 71%." The FCC concluded that this was the result of more homes using satellite internet, thus slowing down speeds nationwide.

The Competition

   The Competition:
DISH via HughesNetDISH via ViasatVerizon 4G LTEFixed wireless
Price per monthStarts at $27.99Starts at $50Starts at $60Starts at $60
Data plansUnlimited10 GB
20 GB
30 GB
50 GB
Unlimited
500 MB
2 GB
4 GB
5 GB
8 GB
Go Unlimited
Beyond Unlimited
Above Unlimited
Unlimited
Maximum speeds940 Mbps100 Mbps12 Mbps1-1,000 Mbps
States served29505050

DISH vs Verizon 4G LTE

A cell carrier is an unlikely challenger to satellite or fixed internet. For those willing to get creative and opt for a hotspot, this is undoubtedly an option. Verizon leads the pack of 4G LTE providers, and, like satellite internet, its coverage can reach almost every corner of the country. Verizon offers two ways to use its 4G LTE service on non-mobile devices: You can designate your cell phone as a hotspot and tether your other devices to it (like gaming systems, tablets, and laptops), or you can buy a mobile hotspot from Verizon, which costs anywhere between $20 and $100. The benefit of this is that you won't have to pay for the additional TV service that you would with DISH.

Unfortunately, speeds and data limits for 4G Mobile Broadband providers are generally on the lower end. Verizon offers anywhere between 5 and 12 Mbps on its 4G LTE plan, slower than Frontier and roughly on par with Viasat. Users will find themselves feeling less frustrated opting for a more traditional internet option.

DISH vs Fixed wireless

Another popular option for homes in rural areas is fixed wireless internet, which beams data from an access point, like a mounted tower, to a reception device. These are usually small dishes or antennas installed on the outside of your home. The primary benefit to fixed wireless internet is that data caps tend to be much higher than with satellite internet, with many plans offering truly unlimited service. Activities like streaming HD video and online gaming tend to eat up the most data, so fixed wireless may be the best option for you if these are some of your primary activities.

Speed is dependent on which internet partner you choose and where you are located. The speeds will vary, but overall, if Frontier is in a viable area for you, that seems to be the option with the fastest response and download speed. 

If you want to learn more about service options available, check out our article about the different types of internet connections

DISH Network Satellite Internet FAQ

Should I go with DISH for satellite TV?

Whether you get service from HughesNet or Viasat ultimately depends on where you live, but either one means bundling with a DISH TV plan. If you're more interested in satellite TV than the internet, it's worth noting that there are better options out there. While DIRECTV -- the other major satellite TV company -- has better packages and channel offerings, DISH stands out with unique features. DISH offers users access to over 80 000 on-demand titles at no extra charge, and its DVR capabilities are premium by being able to hold 2000 hours of content at a time.

What should I know about the two-year contract?

It is essential to understand what you are signing up for when you opt for a contract. Users who sign the contract ensure that they have a lower promotional price in exchange for agreeing to be with that package for two years -- similar to a contracted phone plan.  

Once the contract ends, the price will go up, and should you want to end your contract early; there are charges involved with doing so. While not ideal, this is on par with other internet providers: Both Viasat and Frontier require two-year minimum contracts.

Should I choose Frontier or Viasat?

Which provider DISH partners with depends on your location, so you won't have a choice which provider you get if you opt to bundle with DISH's satellite TV. But if you're only after internet service and either of these providers is sold independently in your area, it's worth checking out. 

If Frontier is available in your area, we recommend it because of the significantly higher average download speeds they have over Viasat. Otherwise, their packages offer similar perks. 

The Bottom Line

With its slower speeds and data limits, satellite internet should really only be considered if you live in a rural area without broadband access. DISH is best for customers looking for a complete internet and TV package (since you can only access DISH's satellite internet by bundling it with a TV package).

 Suppose you're only after basic web browsing and occasional video streaming. In that case, you're unlikely to be disappointed with DISH's top-notch customer service ratings, fairly reliable speeds, and unique TV bundling options.