Viasat Home Internet Review: Availability From Coast to Coast, but It Comes at a Price

Despite expensive plans and varying speeds (depending on your location), this satellite provider is a top rural internet option.

Article updated on April 5, 2024 at 9:54 AM PDT

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David Anders is a senior writer for CNET covering broadband providers, smart home devices and security products. Prior to joining CNET, David built his industry expertise writing for the broadband marketplace Allconnect. In his 5 plus years covering broadband, David's work has been referenced by a variety of sources including ArcGIS, DIRECTV and more. David is from and currently resides in the Charlotte area with his wife, son and two cats.
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Viasat Home Internet rating

How we calculated our rating

/ 10
Customer Care
  • Great availability in rural areas
  • Max speeds faster than most rural providers
  • No data overage fees
  • Viasat continues to improve top download speeds
  • High prices that increase after just three months
  • Speeds no better than 12Mbps in some areas
  • High latency and service disruptions are common with satellite internet

If you're checking out Viasat internet, chances are you're in or are moving to a rural area with limited broadband options. The good news is you can count on Viasat being available -- satellite internet reaches nearly every nook and cranny across all 50 states -- and you won't need a phone line, coaxial cable or anything of the sort for service.

Viasat's newest all-in-one plan offers customers faster speeds and higher data allowances for a satellite provider than you'll find from rival Hughesnet. Viasat Unleashed was introduced early in March 2024, and it features attractive new perks, such as no term contracts.

The provider is not free of flaws, however. First and foremost are the nosebleed-worthy monthly rates, which are higher than what you'll get from most other providers. Then there are the speeds. Admittedly, Viasat speeds are faster than Hughesnet and DSL service in many areas, but plenty of locations will see max speeds of only 12Mbps. Even if the fastest Viasat speeds are available, 150Mbps is still well short of what you'd get with cable or fiber..

Locating local internet providers

That said, Viasat still may be one of your best rural internet options, especially if DSL service is painfully slow and cable internet isn't available.

Satellite dish with the Viasat logo on it

Viasat plans and pricing 

Viasat's newest all-in-one plan is changing the way customers experience its services. Viasat Unleashed ditches the two-year term commitment and simplifies your plan options.

Locating local internet providers

Viasat's Newest internet plan

PlanMax speedsStarting price per monthPrice after 3 monthsContract termsEquipment costsData allowance
Viasat Unleashed
Read full review
Up to 150Mbps download, 3Mbps upload$100$100None$15 or $250 one-time purchaseUnlimited

Pricing is simple: no price increases after three months. However, expect a steep monthly bill with service at $100 a month. Expect an additional $15 to your monthly bill if you're planning to lease your modem and router. Another option would be to purchase your equipment upfront for $250.

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And while Viasat touts that this new plan features unlimited data, don't be fooled! Like all Viasat plans in the past, the Viasat Unleashed plan comes with a data boundary, if you will, and if you exceed it in a given month, you can expect Viasat to throttle your speeds. More on that in just a bit.

What you get depends on where you live

I've mentioned it a few times, but it's worth repeating: Viasat speeds and data allowances vary by location. Depending on where you live, download speeds of 12, 25, 30, 50 or up to 150Mbps may be available. The one constant is upload speed, which is up to 3Mbps in all service areas across all plans.

As mentioned before, on the data side, the Viasat Unleashed data plan features unlimited data. The caveat? Customers who exceed 850GB of data within a 30-day period may expect slower speeds. On the bright side, you won't be billed for going over your data. In addition, data that the average US household uses in a month still falls short of Viasat's data allowance.


Viasat's satellite internet plans are available across all lower 48 states as well as Hawaii and parts of Alaska.


Where are the fastest Viasat speeds available?

According to a Viasat spokesperson, Viasat offers speeds up to 100Mbps in 48 ZIP codes across 31 states. Top service areas include suburban and rural areas around Chattanooga, Tennessee; Frankfort, Kentucky; Indianapolis, Indiana; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Dallas, Texas.

The Viasat spokesperson also told CNET that faster speeds, in more locations, are on the way. To that end, Viasat plans to "deliver more data with higher data thresholds, faster speeds, higher-quality streaming, enhanced service reliability and service anywhere in the US."

Additional Viasat services

Viasat Liberty

Viasat Liberty plans come with up to 12Mbps and 12, 25 or 50GB data blocks. Once you've used your data for the month, Viasat will reduce your speeds to 1 to 5Mbps or lower, depending on network congestion. The main difference between Liberty plans and Viasat's Unleashed plan is cost (Liberty plans are a bit cheaper but come with less data). Liberty plans also have free, unlimited data from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. 

The free zone could be a big bonus if you know how to schedule your downloads, or if you're just a night owl. But keep in mind, with max speeds of only 12Mbps, you may not be able to download a whole lot during a single 3-hour window. Standard definition movies, which typically have a file size of 1 to 3GB, could take less than 30 minutes to download, but you might struggle to finish downloading larger files, such as video games and HD movies.

What to expect with Viasat internet plans

The good news is that Viasat's new plan does not include annual term agreements, so you don't have to worry about a price hike down the line. You can cancel your service anytime without being charged an early termination fee. However, Viasat does require a Wi-Fi equipment lease fee of $15 per month, which is average compared to other providers. You can't get rid of that fee by using your own equipment, but you can buy Viasat's equipment outright for a one-time fee of $250. While that chunk of change can be tough to part with upfront, purchasing the equipment will pay for itself after just over a year. 

When deciding whether to rent your Viasat Wi-Fi equipment or pay for it upfront, remember that installation can also add to your upfront costs. Professional installation is free and available to customers with qualifying credit in select areas.

Broadband in the boonies

If your backyard view looks something like this scenic display in rural New Mexico, then there's a good chance that your broadband options are pretty limited. In a case like that, Viasat might be the right choice to get your home connected.

Eric Mack/CNET

Comparing Viasat to Hughesnet and other rural internet options

Let's start with the other widely available satellite option, Hughesnet. Compared to Hughesnet, Viasat generally offers faster speeds (unless your address is only available for 12Mbps) and higher data allowances for around the same monthly price.

Hughesnet pricing ranges from $50 to $80 a month, and plans come with download speeds between 50 to 100Mbps and upload speeds up to 5Mbps. You'll also get less data with Hughesnet, as plans only come with 100 to 200GB per month. However, Hughesnet customers have the option to buy additional data throughout the month, while Viasat customers don't.

Viasat vs. everything else

Viasat and Hughesnet will rarely be your only internet options unless you're in a remote, rural location. However, they could be your only choice for broadband speeds (at least 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload). Fixed wireless, cellular and DSL internet are also popular choices for internet in rural areas. 

Viasat is faster than many fixed wireless providers, including some AT&T DSL plans, which have max download speeds of 10 to 50Mbps. Other fixed wireless providers, such as Rise Broadband, can offer faster speeds of up to 50Mbps at a lower price than comparable Viasat speed tiers. Fixed wireless has lower latency than satellite, but both service types are susceptible to disruptions during inclement weather.

Cellular internet, including 5G home internet service from providers such as Verizon and T-Mobile, could offer faster speeds, more data and lower latency than Viasat internet service. Verizon LTE offers speeds up to 50Mbps and unlimited data starting at $50 monthly. On the other hand, T-Mobile Home Internet offers speeds of up to 245Mbps and unlimited data for $60 a month. 

DSL internet is cheaper than Viasat, but available speeds are a mixed bag. In some locations, DSL providers like CenturyLink, Frontier and Windstream can only deliver speeds ranging from 1 to 10Mbps. DSL could offer speeds up to 100Mbps or higher in other locations for lower prices than Viasat's 100Mbps plan. Many DSL providers also include truly unlimited data, or at the very least, higher data allowances than you'll get with Viasat plans.

In short, Viasat offers faster speeds and more data than Hughesnet in many areas, but it's possible that providers of other internet types could net you lower costs, faster speeds and more data. It all depends on what's available at your address, so explore all your internet options before committing to a particular provider or plan.

Viasat customer satisfaction is hard to gauge

The American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power do not include Viasat in their yearly customer satisfaction reports, so it's difficult to tell what customers think of their service. 

As of this writing, Viasat has over 2,000 complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau in the last three years, most of which are what you'd expect to see for any internet service provider: service issues and unexpected fees. 

To Viasat's credit, it does appear the company makes an effort to respond to every complaint to further explain the situation or offer a resolution. Of the complaints, 633 were closed in the last 12 months. Viasat's timely responses have helped it earn an A rating from the BBB.

The bottom line on Viasat internet

With speeds up to 150Mbps and more monthly data than you're likely to get from rival satellite provider Hughesnet, Viasat is a decent broadband option in areas where cable or fiber service is unavailable. Other internet types may offer faster speeds or more data for a lower cost in some locations, but in many areas, Viasat will be the better value -- just be prepared for relatively high upfront costs and monthly equipment fees.

Viasat internet FAQs

If Viasat data is "unlimited," why should I care how much data I use?

While there are no fees for going over your data limit, Viasat will prioritize the speeds of users who have not reached their limit over those who have. So, going over your limit of 850GB within a 30-day period could (and likely will) result in drastically reduced speeds for your household. If you foresee using data for streaming or heavy internet usage and don't want to deal with throttled speeds, consider other providers that will truly offer unlimited data, such as AT&T Fiber, T-Mobile and Optimum, to name a few.

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Can you play games online with Viasat?

Standard Viasat service will not support real-time online gaming due to the high latency. 

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Are Exede and Viasat the same thing?

Yes. Exede was the original name of Viasat's internet service from 2012 to 2017. Viasat has since discontinued the Exede brand and operates all satellite internet services under the Viasat name.

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Why do we ask for your address?
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Prefer to speak with an expert live? Call (833) 891-6413 for availability in your area.