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Viasat Satellite Internet Review

Company Overview

Viasat has a long history starting from when it was founded in 1986, providing satellite solutions for both military and commercial use. Viasat introduced it's first commercial satellite networking system in 1995 and has its headquarters in Carlsbad, California.

Viasat acquired Wildblue Communications in 2009, a satellite Internet service provider, and then introduced its own satellite Internet service offering that they called Exede by Viasat in 2012, debuting with the fastest download speed at that time of 12Mbps. For completeness, all the Wildblue and Exede user reviews submitted through WhichVoIP have been included in this review page.

The Good

Viasat is a company with over 2 billion in annual revenue and over 5,000 employees. Providing satellite Internet service is just one segment of their business. In this review we focus mainly on their residential home satellite Internet service offering which is available across all 50 states of the USA.

There are multiple plans available which are based around download speeds (as all Internet plans typically are regardless of technology) and also data usage limits. All plans include "unlimited data" but after you exceed the monthly data usage limit for that plan then your data connection may get moved to a lower priority when compared to other customers during high usage times or during network congestion, meaning slower speeds. The plans available will depend on your exact location. The following tables provide a selection of plans that may be available to you, depending on your location.

Video streaming is by far the most data intensive Internet download activity being between 1-7GB per hour, dependant on video resolution (i.e. 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p). To help manage data usage each plan has limitations on what video streaming resolution is delivered. The idea is to help customers manage their monthly data usage so they do not reach their upper data limit in the first few days of the month by streaming high resolution 1080p video. So you need to consider how you want to use your Internet service and pick your plan accordingly. For example, web browsing has a much lower data usage, with Viasat quoting a typical usage to be 60MB per hour, and social media usage being quoted as 120MB per hour. The below table details some available plans and includes their adownload speeds, data limits and video resolution limits.

Plan Name DL Speed Data Cap Video Resolution
Bronze 12 12Mbps 40 GB Upto 360p
Silver 25 25Mbps 60 GB Upto 480p
Gold 30 30Mbps 100 GB Upto 720p
Platinum 30 30Mbps 150 GB Upto 1080p

Each plan is offered with a discounted first 3 months. The Bronze 12 plan starts at $69.99 per month, rising to $99.99 per month. The Silver 25 plan starts at $99.99 per month, rising to $149.99 per month. The Gold 30 plan starts at $149.99 per month and rises to $199.99 per month after the first 3 months. The Platinum 30 plan starts at $199.99 per month, switching to $299.99 per month after the first 3 months. The table below provides a plan pricing summary. There are plans available up to 100Mbps, but they are only available in certain locations.

Plan Name DL Speed Starting Price Price after 3 mos.
Bronze 12 12Mbps $69.99/mo $99.99/mo
Silver 25 25Mbps $99.99/mo $149.99/mo
Gold 30 30Mbps $149.99/mo $199.99/mo
Platinum 30 30Mbps $199.99/mo $299.99/mo

Additional costs associated with these plans include an equipment lease fee of $12.99 per month, plus all fees are subject to taxes and regulatory fees. A onetime standard installation fee may also be required (between $100 and $300) and there is no self installation option (it must be installed by a trained technician). Please also be aware that a minimum 24 month service term commitment is required for all plans noted above.

Add on services are available to bundle including home phone service for $29.99 per month (for the first 6 months) and you can also bundle DISH satellite TV (prices vary). Viasat Shield provides protection against online security threats and the Premium option costs $5.99 per month. EasyCare is another add-on option that provides additional protection, assistance, and support for $8.99 per month (first 3 months are free). With this coverage service calls are free (typically $95) and you get priority customer support with a dedicated support line.

An Internet service help center is available online accessible through their website. It includes sections for billing, plans and products, account admin, speeds and connectivity, technical troubleshooting, and new customers. You can call a customer care agent via a toll free number, sign up for text alerts or login to their secure online portal to access your account information. You can also download the "My Viasat" mobile App from the Apple or Google stores.

Viasat also offer small business Internet plans, as well as solutions for aviation and maritime segments. For small business they have 35 Mbps download speed plans with metered data caps, from 1GB up to 200GB. Pricing ranges from $50 per month to $400 per month, based on the amount of metered data per month.

The Bad

Like other satellite Internet service offerings it is expensive when compared with alternative Internet technology solutions such as Cable, DSL and Fiber.

The download speeds are reasonable but much lower than is possible with other services like Cable and Fiber options.

Data caps are another downside of most satellite Internet options. This means once you reach a certain data usage limit during the month you may well find your download speeds being limited during times of network congestion.

Plans require a 24 month commitment, with termination fees if you cancel early.

You will most likely have to pay an installation fee in the $100 to $300 range. Keep a look out for special deals with free installation which are sometimes available.

Extreme weather can impact your service the same as any satellite connection.

The Bottom Line

  • Various plans available depending on your exact location.
  • Plans vary by download speed, data caps and delivered video resolution when streaming.
  • Plans can range from starting prices of $69.99 through $199.99 per month and higher.
  • Most plans have a reduced rate for the first 3 months then increase to standard pricing.
  • Add-on services available, including home phone service, DISH TV, online cyber threat protection, and priority customer service.

Overall Thoughts

Viasat Internet service, formerly known as Exede and also Wildblue, is an alternative solution to those homes that do not have access to DSL, Cable or Fiber technologies. The download speeds can be reasonable and sufficient for most people's home Internet needs. The biggest disadvantage revolves around the cost of service and the data caps enforced on monthly usage.

Overall though it is a viable option for many people and in the 21st century it can be a case of having the option of Internet in your home is better than not having the option.

Please consider leaving a review based on your experience with Viasat, Exede, or Wildblue Internet services.

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