HughesNet claims it’s America’s No. 1 choice for satellite internet, and for the past two years, the FCC has ranked HughesNet’s Gen4 internet service as “first among all major internet providers” in delivering advertised speeds.
With the launch of a new satellite, HughesNet has upgraded to Gen5 — an internet service that promises broadband speeds and no hard data caps. Though it’s still relatively new, Gen5 plans to improve and build upon Gen4’s already solid foundation.
Is It True?
Yes. Available nationwide to over 308.7 million people, HughesNet is the largest provider of satellite broadband in the U.S. by coverage area. Viasat (formerly Exede), HughesNet’s closest competitor, falls just a hair short of this with 308.4 million people covered.
According to the 2016 FCC Fixed Broadband Report (issued Dec. 1, 2016), HughesNet surpasses competitors in providing speeds matching or exceeding those advertised on its website. The report states that it ranks among Optimum, Charter, Time Warner Cable and Verizon Fios as the best performing providers when measuring consumers whose median download speed met or exceeded what was advertised.
What’s more, all of this was accomplished with HughesNet’s Gen4 internet speeds, which maxed out at 15Mbps. HughesNet launched its latest satellite in 2017, offering Gen5 internet with speeds up to 25Mbps across all plans. This boost in speed catapults HughesNet into broadband territory and, according to PC Mag, makes HughesNet’s satellite internet experience more comparable with other internet types. Plus, the addition of no hard data caps means you won’t lose internet if you exceed your monthly data allowance.
As the only other nationwide satellite internet provider in the U.S., Viasat is HughesNet’s closest competition. Its newest satellite launched in 2017, making it possible for the company to offer speeds up to 100 Mbps in some areas and data allowances of 150 GB. 100 Mbps is incredibly fast for satellite internet. However, these speeds aren’t available everywhere and are pretty expensive. While HughesNet’s plans and pricing stay constant no matter where you live, Viasat’s vary widely by location — we’d recommend plugging in your ZIP code for a more detailed comparison. HughesNet’s more realistic for customers wanting broadband speeds that won’t break the bank. It also has Viasat beat in reliability, winning out over the company in the 2016 FCC broadband consumer report in delivering advertised speeds. That being said, we were unable to confirm if Viasat’s new satellite has made it possible for them to deliver on advertised speeds at this time. Even though Viasat advertises higher speeds in certain areas, availability isn’t guaranteed at your address and these fast speeds cost a lot more money.
The Bottom Line
HughesNet surpasses competing rural internet service providers, thanks to expansive satellite coverage, consistent broadband speeds and wallet-friendly prices. And even with fierce competition from Viasat, HughesNet’s future as the go-to for satellite internet remains bright. Its new satellite scheduled for launch in 2021 offering blazing speeds of up to 100 Mbps promises an even zippier satellite internet connection nationwide.