Viasat Home Satellite Internet Review

Satellite internet is either a terrible internet option or the best option — it all depends on where you live and what types of internet service are available in your area. Viasat satellite internet isn’t an exception in this regard, and you need to keep this in mind when reading this review.
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There’s simply no point comparing Viasat satellite internet with other types of internet service, especially fiber and cable internet, because satellite internet is virtually always inferior to them in most ways. What makes sense is to compare Viasat with other satellite internet choices, such as HughesNet, and this review is here to help you do just that.

Viasat Internet Plans and Pricing

Viasat customers can choose from multiple plans, but not all plans are available everywhere:

Plan Download speed Limit Cost (standard rate)
Liberty 12 12 Mbps 12 GB from $30.00/ mo
Liberty 25 12 Mbps 25 GB from $50.00/ mo
Liberty 50 12 Mbps 50 GB from $75.00/ mo
Basic 12 12 Mbps 15 GB from $40.00/ mo
Unlimited Bronze 12 12 Mbps 80 GB from $64.99/ mo
Unlimited Silver 12 12 Mbps 45 GB from $99.99/ mo
Unlimited Gold 12 12 Mbps 65 GB from $149.99/ mo
Unlimited Silver 25 25 Mbps 120 GB from $84.99/ mo
Unlimited Gold 30 30 Mbps 100 GB from $119.99/ mo
Unlimited Gold 50 50 Mbps 200 GB from $119.99/ mo
Unlimited Platinum 100 100 Mbps 300 GB from $169.99/ mo

As you can see, Viasat Liberty plans is what you should be looking at if you want to spend at little money as possible. Unfortunately, these plans are not available in all locations.

Compared with other Viasat plans, they also have much lower data caps (12 GB a month for Liberty 12 versus 80 GB a month for Unlimited Bronze 12). If you exceed your monthly data allowance, your download speeds will drop down to 1 to 5 Mbps, which isn’t terrible, but it’s also far from ideal, especially if you want to do more than browse the internet and send/receive email messages.

Viasat Unlimited plans fare much better in this regard, but they’re also considerably more expensive. For example, the Unlimited Gold 30 plan, which offers decent download speeds and 100 GB of data, costs from $119.99 a month, and that’s only for the first three months.

Once the promotional period is over, the cost of the Unlimited Gold 30 plan jumps from $119.99 a month to $149.99 a month, and it’s a similar story for all other plans. Overall, Viasat prices are on the higher side, but such is the life of satellite internet users.

Regardless of which pain you choose, your download/upload speeds and latency will be affected by weather, so anything from rain to a thunderstorm to a dust storm can make it difficult to do more bandwidth-demanding tasks, such as video streaming and online gaming. This is something all satellite internet services have in common.

Viasat Internet Coverage

Viasat internet plans are available in the following states:

Available in:
Alabama Montana
Alaska Nebraska
Arizona Nevada
Arkansas New Hampshire
California New Jersey
Colorado New Mexico
Connecticut New York
Delaware North Carolina
District Of Columbia North Dakota
Florida Ohio
Georgia Oklahoma
Hawaii Oregon
Idaho Pennsylvania
Illinois Rhode Island
Indiana South Carolina
Iowa South Dakota
Kansas Tennessee
Kentucky Texas
Louisiana Utah
Maine Vermont
Maryland Virginia
Massachusetts Washington
Michigan West Virginia
Minnesota Wisconsin
Mississippi Wyoming
Missouri

That’s right, Viasat satellite internet covers all 50 states and nearly 100 percent of the U.S. population.

Viasat Internet Coverage

Unlike with cable or fiber internet, you don’t need any existing internet infrastructure to be in place to start using Viasat Unlimited internet plans or, if available in your location, Viasat Liberty plan (check the Viasat internet coverage map for more information). This benefit of satellite internet alone is enough to make it the best option for many people living in rural areas.

Unfortunately, you can’t use Viasat internet with your own Wi-Fi router. The service uses a custom satellite dish and a modem, and a professional technician is required to install both.

The provided Viasat Wi-Fi modem doesn’t offer to much in terms of coverage, so we highly recommend you run a Viasat speed test to verify that you’re getting the download and upload speeds you’re paying for.

If not, then you can attempt to improve them by finding a better place for the modem using a Wi-Fi analyzer like NetSpot to quickly and easily create detailed maps of wireless signal distribution.

NetSpot — WiFi analyzer

NetSpot can also collect comprehensive information about other networks in your area, helping you determine the optimal Wi-Fi settings.

Viasat Internet Fees & Bonuses

To start using Viasat internet, you’re required to sign a two-year contract. The only alternative is paying a non-refundable fee of $500 for the no-contract option. If you plan on keeping your Viasat internet for a while, then it’s obviously better to just sign the contract.

As we’ve explained in the previous section, Viasat requires its customers to use its own satellite dish and a modem. You can rent both for $12.99 a month or pay a lifetime lease fee of $299.99.

Since it takes almost two years of monthly rental payments to cost as much as the one-time fee, paying for the necessary equipment upfront is worth only if you plan to keep your Viasat service for more than two years.

To install the satellite dish and the modem, a technician has to come to your location, and you will be charged a $99.99 installation fee. As a new customer, you should always ask for free installation, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll get it. It’s also worth noting that it costs $200.00 to relocate the satellite dish, so plan its placement carefully before a Viasat’s technician first visits you.

If you decide to leave Viasat before your contract expires, you will be required to pay $15.00 for each month remaining on your contract.

But it’s not just fees and extra payments for Viasat customers. There are also some nice bonuses to sweeten the deal. For example, you can bundle Viasat internet with the Viasat Voice service for unlimited nationwide VoIP calling.

Other noteworthy add-ons include DISH Satellite TV (from $64.99 per month), Viasat Shield Premium, which can protect you against online threats, and Viasat EasyCare, a low-cost support option that includes one free dish relocation for $8.99 a month.

Sure, these bonuses are certainly not a good reason to choose Viasat internet in the first place, but it’s still nice that they’re available — even though they cost extra money.

Viasat Customer Service & Satisfaction

You can get in touch with Viasat’s customer service by:

Viasat is rated 64 out of 100 in the All Others category by American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). To put the number into perspective, the best internet service providers are rated 73 out of 100, while the worst ones are rated 55 out of 100.

Here are some examples of what Viasat customers have to say about the service on BroadBandNow:


We are in our first month and I am not happy. We hardly get even a quarter of the max speed advertised, half the month it hasn’t worked, and right at 100GB, they throttle us to a speed of .25Mbps which isn’t even enough to browse the internet. All of this for $150 a month. Not worth the money at all. I’m about to pay the $15 termination fee.




We installed Viasat one month ago at our cabin in northern AZ. We are using about 6GB per 24 hour period, which gives us 10 days a month or 120 days a year, for about $1200 per year, which equates to $10 per 24 hour period of usage. Since cable is not an option, I am pleased. Obviously, if we lived there full-time, we would run out of good speeds after the 10th day of the month and would have to look at a more expensive plan (and still come up a little short).

Service seems to be getting worse with the internet going in and out and speeds slow and nowhere near the advertised 30Mbps! Technology’s getting better yet our service is still flakey even in good weather! Promised better service soon with/when new satellite are added but never happened.




Summary

Viasat home satellite internet can be recommended to people living in rural areas where other types of internet access are not available. When used to enable basic online tasks, such as emailing and web browsing, its fairly tight data caps and lower download/upload speeds are fairly easy to live with. The same downsides of Viasat internet can quickly become unacceptable if you use the internet to work from home, make frequent video calls, or play online games.

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