Viasat review: Satellite internet service

Viasat offers valuable plans for users who burn through data with ​10 different plans to choose from and download speeds up to 100Mbps. Here's our review of Viasat.

Viasat, formerly known as Exede, is a satellite internet service provider with an impressive plan lineup. Subscribers can choose from 10 different combinations of speed and data with limits far exceeding those of competitors. While Viasat plans are a bit pricier than others, you may find the cost is worth it if you need a higher-bandwidth service than what is offered by other satellite providers.

Pros:

  • 10 different plans to choose from
  • Download speeds up to 100Mbps
  • High data caps

Cons:

  • Same upload speed across all plans
  • Actual speeds are often lower than advertised speeds

Viasat internet plans and prices


PriceDownload/Upload SpeedsConnection TypeBest for
Liberty 12$50/mo.12 Mbps / 3 MbpsSatellite1-2 people, browsing only
Liberty 25$75/mo.12 Mbps / 3 MbpsSatellite1-2 people, browsing only
Liberty 50$100/mo.12 Mbps / 3 MbpsSatellite1-2 people, browsing only
Unlimited Bronze 12$70/mo.12 Mbps / 3 MbpsSatellite1-2 people, browsing only
Unlimited Silver 12$100/mo.12 Mbps / 3 MbpsSatellite1-2 people, video streaming up to 480p
Unlimited Gold 12$150/mo.12 Mbps / 3 MbpsSatellite1-2 people, video streaming up to 480p
Unlimited Silver 25$100/mo.25 Mbps / 3 MbpsSatelliteUp to 3 people, video streaming up to 480p
Unlimited Gold 30$150/mo.30 Mbps / 3 MbpsSatelliteVideo streaming up to 720p
Unlimited Gold 50$150/mo.50 Mbps / 3 MbpsSatelliteUp to 4 people, video streaming up to 720p
Unlimited Platinum 100$200/mo.100 Mbps / 3 MbpsSatellite5+ people, streaming up to 1080p HD

*Data effective March 22, 2020. Pricing varies by location and availability.

Estimated speeds

Six of Viasat's lower-tier plans have the same advertised speeds: 12Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. However, as you reach the provider's more premium plans, the speeds quickly increase. You'll find options of 25Mbps, 30Mbps, 50Mbps, and even 100Mbps. And these higher-speed plans come with data limits high enough to let you fully enjoy them. The Unlimited Platinum 100 plan, for example, carries a limit of 150GB per month, much higher than anything offered by competitors.

Pricing

Viasat plans start at $50 for 12GB of data at 12Mbps and go all the way up to $200 for 150GB of data at 100Mbps. The entry-level plans are pricier than comparable ones from competitor HughesNet, which offers 10GB of data faster than 25Mbps at just $39.99 per month. 

However, if speed and data are your priority and cost is not an issue, you'll probably find Viasat's unparalleled top-speed plans to be worth the price.

Who is each plan best for?

  • 12Mbps: Best for a single user with 1-2 devices
  • 25Mbps: Best for two users with up to 4 devices
  • 30Mbps: Best for three users with up to 5 devices
  • 50Mbps: Best for four users with up to 6 devices
  • 100Mbps: Best for five users with up to 8 devices

How fast is Viasat internet?

Viasat advertises speeds starting at 12Mbps and going up to 100Mbps. Unfortunately, the Fixed Broadband Report from the Federal Communications Commission hints that these speeds may not exactly be accurate. The study found less than 60% of Viasat customers received download speeds that were at least 80% of the advertised speed. The good news is that upload speeds were accurate and even exceeded the advertised speed on average.

Although Viasat's 100 Mbps isn't available everywhere, having access to 12 to 50Mbps is a solid connection range and should provide enough speed for small to medium-sized households.

Internet availability

Since Viasat internet is delivered by satellite, it's widely available across the entire United States, even in areas that can't get standard broadband or fiber internet service. Viasat also plans to expand to other areas of North America, South America, the Caribbean, and a large part of the Atlantic Ocean. The provider notes that users on the go can also take advantage of Viasat partnerships with other satellite providers across Europe.

While Viasat is still more expensive than some cable and DSL internet options, if you live in a rural area and want access to fast speeds with reasonable data caps, Viasat is a solid option.

Other factors to consider

The most important thing to know when considering Viasat is that despite the wide range of plans, the availability of each plan greatly depends on your geographic area. Top speeds are not available in all locations, and we even found that some plans may be priced higher in some areas than in others. To get the most accurate pricing and plan information, enter your zip code on the Viasat website to see which plans are available in your area.

Another factor to consider is how long will you be paying your introductory price. Viasat provides a price lock for the first two years of service; your price will increase by up to 33% after the first three months due to its promotional pricing structure listed on its site. So be aware that once the introductory period ends, you will switch to paying the actual locked-in rate.

Finally, just like any other satellite provider, you may run into difficulties while using video conferencing tools or online gaming. This results from latency, which is the time it takes for data to travel from one point to another. With data having to travel between a satellite and your home, there may be a slight delay.

Viasat vs HughesNet


Starting PriceAvailabilityDownload SpeedsConnectionContract
Viasat$5050 states12 Mbps – 100 MbpsSatellite24 months
HughesNet$39.9950 states25 MbpsSatellite24 months