The below provides a quick overview of the user submitted reviews for HughesNet Internet service.
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HughesNet is a satellite based Internet service supporting the North American market, and has over 40 years experience in this field. Its service typically appeals most to those in rural areas who do not have access to DSL and Cable Internet service.
The satellites themselves are in geosynchronous orbit, approximately 22,000 miles above sea level. HughesNet has invested over one billion dollars in its technology. The current technology used is referred to as HughesNet Gen4 which is the fourth generation version of its Internet service, promising higher speeds and better overall performance.
For additional background information on satellite service we recommend you read our article on VoIP over satellite service.
A recent study indicated that as few as 24% of Americans in rural areas have Internet access at home. The main reason for this is because DSL and Cable companies typically do not service areas outside the cities and suburbs. For those residents, satellite Internet may be the perfect choice and indeed the only choice for access to the Web. HughesNet is one of the top companies in this space.
Pricing is structured based on a fair access policy for data allowance, which creates multiple tiers of service. This means the customer can pick the plan most suited to its households needs for Internet data. The actual pricing tiers start as low as $49.99 per month, which is high compared to DSL and Cable, but actually fairly reasonable for this smaller market segment. For this lower end plan, speeds are actually reasonable, at 5 Mb/s downlink and 1 Mb/s uplink, certainly enough to stream movies. Just keep an eye on data allowance, which is 5GB for this plan per month. What is 5GB of data allowance? Well this is five GigaBytes of data which is equivalent to sending 1500 photos or downloading 1200 songs or streaming 7 hours of movies (standard definition) with Netflix or the likes, in a given month. One thing we like about this is that no charge is made when you hit your data allowance, instead your speeds drop significantly (to 150Kb/s) so at least there are no surprises at the end of a month with your bills.
It also provides bonus data for each plan. This is essentially bonus data you get each month for off-peak times. Off-peak times for residential customers are between 2am and 8am. The key element to note from the discussions on data allowances is to check your status meter so you know where you are at any given time, regarding your data usage.
HughesNet also offers some really good special deals on its website for new customers, ranging from $100 off to free installation and price cuts for the first 3 months of service.
Installation involves placing a satellite dish on your roof and two 100ft coaxial cables to the modem inside your home. The actual equipment must be purchased, or leased each month. You also must have a clear view of the Southern skies for the system to work properly.
There tends to be a minimum contract length for service, which at this time of writing is a 24 month term.
The data allowance is a major factor to consider for this service. This was discussed above and it is good that no additional charges occur should you go over your allowance, but it is unfortunate that any unused data does not rollover at the end of each month. At the end of each month the data allowance simply resets.
If you need to use VPN, for example to access files at your place of work, you may end up being frustrated. VPN is an encrypted connection and this could really scale back the speeds you see from your Internet service. In fact you may see up to a 70% reduction in effective speeds. Also, do not expect any support from HughesNet when troubleshooting VPN connections.
No static IPs are available for residential service. This is usually not a big concern but can be if you rely on remotely controlling home security systems, lights, thermostats and the likes. Often such systems require static IP addresses rather than dynamic.
Finally, a note regarding VoIP phone service. VoIP does not work very well over satellite Internet service. For a more complete discussion read the article highlighted at the top of this review. Essentially, the latency due to the distance to the satellite, causes problems with the quality of the VoIP calls. HughesNet has an optimized service for VoIP that apparently can work quite well but third party VoIP service will be problematic. The issue here is that the HughesNet voice service is very expensive compared to the VoIP companies you will find on this website.
The Bottom Line
HughesNet is a great option for those living in rural areas, where there are no DSL or Cable companies providing Internet service.
Pricing is reasonable for the lower level tiers but just be aware of the data allowances for each plan, and try to keep inside it or speeds will drop significantly.
A VoIP phone plan is available but read our article on VoIP over satellite referenced at the top of this review before jumping in.
Author: Andy Forgrieve
With almost 40 reviews submittted by users of the Hughesnet Satellite Internet service since 2007 there is a good selection and sample size to help potential customers. Overall, the average user rating is "Poor" with a lower than 10% recommended score. Many reviews cite high termination fees, slow or throttled speeds, and customer service as the main issues. Have your say and write a review today!
...I have no complaints about the productivity and connection of Hughesnet. My beef is with the customer service and billing....
HughesNet reviews are listed in chronological order.
#39 : NOV 4th, 2013 : Jim (TN)
I've read all the comments listed here and back in the time frame of these comments, yes hughesnet was not a good service. I've been a Hughes customer since 2005. First modem was HN7000S. Had one failure of the modem and they replaced it since I bought the entire system. Other than the ups & downs of satellite communications, I got was I paid for. My monthly cost was $69.99. I recently (as of April) upgraded to the new Gen4 system. This I rented even though the cost was only $150 to upgrade, I opted to lease. My cost now including the speed which is the Pro and lease rate is $91.77. The new Gen4 satellite is fast. Now something everyone may not know, Hughes was bought by Dish. Dishnet is really Hughesnet under another name. Excede put up a new satellite and Hughes went to the same manufacture and had an exact satellite built for them and named it Gen4. They are now offering VOIP also. I haven't tried it yet, still reading up on this. If I go to the Hughes offering I'll update the review. What most people don't understand is that the signal needs to go 22,000 miles up and then down again to the ops center, with a return back to your pc the same way. That takes time, you can't beat the laws of physics. The only thing I can say is if you want faster, move closer to town where DSL and Cable is offered. Now there tech support leaves a whole lot to deal with. Yes there just a bunch of script readers. Having been in the communications end for 30 plus years, I just tell them to close the book and listen to what I say and then connect me with level 3 support. Sometimes you will get a person who knows his/her stuff but rarely. IMHO all call centers should be brought back to the USA. Enough said.
#38 : FEB 24th, 2013 : Connie (IL)
We had to move and hughesnet couldnot provide service at our new address so charged us for a early turmanation fee of over $300. WE DID NOT TERMANATE THEY DID BECAUSE THEY COULD NOT GET SIGNAL. UNFAIR
#37 : NOV 16th, 2012 : Melissa (MS)
I have no complaints about the productivity and connection of Hughesnet. My beef is with the customer service and billing. Problems started before we even got hooked up. The contractor who was supposed to hook us up, changed our appt. day. They said they called us and left a message, but that was a lie. So re-scheduled, another day off work. Got it hooked up, no problems. Tried to set up the online account so we could get email, we are in month two, and that STILL does not work. Hughesnet keeps saying its a problem on their end with the set up, and they will call us back...they never do. This week my bill was due again. I finally figured out how to go to the site to do that, but then I discovered that instead of $65 a month as I was TOLD when I signed up, my bill is now $77. Everytime I call, and press 1 for "billing" i get a recording that says "experiencing high calling volume please call back later"....for two days I get this recording. finally, i just started hitting the zero until it finally connected me to a live body, they shoot me to billing. you guessed it, i got the recording. I called back, hitting the zero till i get a live person, they shoot me to billing, I got disconnected. After this happened 3 times I gave up for the day. Today, I tried again. Started hitting the zero until I got connected to a live person, and asked them why my bill is $12 more than what I was told. I was informed that the $12 is for equipment insurance, because if the equipment breaks down it could cost hundreds of dollars to fix. with the insurance it's $29.00. I said, "so let me get this straight...I'm paying Hughesnet $12 for insurance in case YOUR equipment breaks down, and YOU have to come to my house and work on YOUR equipment that I am renting by the way" and he said "thats pretty much it". *blank stare crickets chirping* So i told him that when i signed up for it, i was never told about that, it was never even eluded to. We are on a tight budget, $12 is 5 days worth of gas in my car. Had I known i would not have signed up. I told him that Hughesnet needs to let customers know that, and disclose all information, anything less is covert and under-handed. he agreed. but yet, i'm still locked in for a year, and really have no choice but to pay the $12 even though its not required. Even though we are very happy with the connection and speed and the overall performance, when my year agreement is up, I'm switching to something else.
#36 : SEP 27th, 2012 : Jim (PA)
This service is the worst internet service I have ever used. I strongly recommend that all new customers consider other services. There is no support with the service if something goes wrong. After one year I still do not have email service. I have contacted hughes net about the problem and they do not care to answer my concerns. If I operated by business in this fashion I would be out of business.
#35 : SEP 20th, 2012 : Kathy (OR)
HughesNet has added so many users to their one satellite that the service has over the term of our 24 month contract become slower and slower and at this point it is very slow and also intermitent. For the last 3 months we have had to phone tech support because we caould not access the web. When contacting customer support you end up on many frustrating calls with the level 1 Indian representatives until eventually they provide a US number for tech support (higher level). Several more phone calls to level 4 with promises to return phone calls and solve problems but no return calls. Now we have come to understand that Hughes has launched a new 2nd satellite and will offer an upgrade for $149. to their customers to transfer service to the new satellite. Unhappy customers like us, who have wasted many hours trying to understand why we cannot consistently access the internet and have been frustrated for months, now can either pay more money for the upgrade (good money after bad???) or wait until people are moved and supposedly our service will get better - we might actually be able to access the web again??
#34 : SEP 20th, 2012 : Ed (TX)
Was quoted $39 over phone. Ended up being $64 on first bill. "VERY" slow. I could eat lunch waiting for my home page to come up. "VERY" slow gaming. I finally gave up on that one. Called tech support,,,,not much help. When I cancelled afetr 25 days, they offered to up my speed to 10mbps at same price. NO!!! I did not bite at that one. Now have Time Warner, GREAT!!!! Wouls "NEVER" recommebd this provider (HughsNet)to anyone. BEWARE!!!!!
#33 : SEP 17th, 2012 : Alexandra (AL)
Unfortunately, we don't have any other ISP options (other than dial-up) available to us other than HughesNet. They're the worst. The Internet connection is unreliable - we loose it every time it rains and sometimes for no reason at all. In the evening it slows down so much it's like a dial-up. It take me 30 minutes to write a couple of ads for Craig's list and upload a couple of pictures. Talking to HughesNet tech support is painful. There are just a bunch of Indians with manuals that will tell you to unplug your modem for a minute. That's pretty much all they ever recommend for any kind of problem. When we get cable I think I'm going to cry.
#32 : SEP 13th, 2012 : Donna (PA)
I was told this would be faster than dsl and literally its as slow as dialup!
#31 : SEP 11th, 2012 : Gail (NY)
When their equipment fails like my modem, they charged me for shipping and handling. I'm renting their equipment and when it faiks I feel they should pay the shipping and handling not me. This is such a terrible internet service. Whenyou order it , you arenot given full details od fair access policy or termination fees until you want to terminate or go over your fair access policy. For the price it should be unlimted internet access and downloads like cheaper monthly internet services.
#30 : SEP 10th, 2012 : Tom (CA)
Do not under any circumstances use HughesNet. Indian support services are terrible. Over an hour on one call and 5 different supervisors. Service was never what we signed for. $250.00 cancellation fee. We will also contact the better business.
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