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Brightspeed vs. HughesNet vs. Xfinity Internet plan comparison


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Researched by
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Reviewed by
Updated 6/24/24

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BRIGHTSPEED
Staff rating
3.6

  • Plans starting at $50.00
  • Download speeds up to 940 Mbps
HughesNet brand
Staff rating
3.8
Customer rating
3.1
(13)

  • Plans starting at $49.99
  • Download speeds up to 25 Mbps
Xfinity brand
Staff rating
4.2
Customer rating
4.1
(479)

  • Plans starting at $19.99
  • Download speeds up to 6000 Mbps
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BRIGHTSPEED
Staff rating
3.6

We were extremely impressed with Brightspeed’s prices—you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal on gigabit fiber internet. While its fiber coverage area is growing, it currently remains very small. Plus, it's a brand-new provider so there are still a lot of unknowns.

What we like

  • No data caps or contracts
  • Reasonable pricing
  • Good availability on DSL
What we dislike

  • Mostly limited to DSL
  • New, unproven company
Savings tip: Brightspeed often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
HughesNet brand
Staff rating
3.8

Affordable, high-quality satellite internet in remote areas

HughesNet has the cheapest broadband satellite internet plans, with speeds up to 100 Mbps and unlimited data. HughesNet is powered by Jupiter 3, which it touts as the world's largest and most advanced communications satellite. HughesNet offers affordable, high-quality satellite internet, perfect for households and rural areas. HughesNet is available in small towns and places off the beaten path. You can usually sign up for HughesNet in areas where cable and fiber internet aren't available.

What we like

  • Affordable satellite internet
  • Wide availability
  • Unlimited data available
What we dislike

  • Price may increase
  • Two-year contract
Savings tip: HughesNet often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Xfinity brand
Staff rating
4.2

Lightning-fast, reliable internet at an excellent price

Xfinity is a fantastic provider overall. It offers fast speeds, reliable service, and reasonable prices. Some plans still require contracts, and others still have data limits. Watch out for Xfinity’s hidden fees and spotty customer service record, but it may not be as bad as it once was.

What we like

  • Consistently fast speeds
  • Wide availability
  • Excellent pricing
What we dislike

  • Data caps on some plans
  • Some billing complaints
Savings tip: Xfinity often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
BRIGHTSPEED
Value
4.0
Excellent fiber deals (and decent DSL)

Brightspeed is slowly building out a fiber network that offers a pretty great value at $65 per month for up to 940 Mbps. That’s just 7 cents per Mbps, which puts it right in line with top fiber providers like AT&T. Unfortunately, this fiber service is still not widely available.

Because Brightspeed’s fiber footprint is still fairly small, the vast majority of Brightspeed’s current service offerings are DSL. That means that you’re going to pay more money for less speed—it’s just the nature of the DSL beast.

The upshot is that Brightspeed’s DSL prices are actually pretty competitive, starting at $50 per month. With advertised speeds of up to 140 Mbps (but often lower, depending on where you live), that puts the provider at about 36 cents per Mbps. This, of course, falls far short of most cable and fiber providers.

Learn more about the differences between fiber and DSL internet.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Brightspeed's website
or call 1-833-438-0878 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
HughesNet brand
Value
3.5
Affordable satellite internet plans with speeds up to 100 Mbps

HughesNet offers fast speeds at an affordable price. In some areas, HughesNet offers up to 100 Mbps download speeds and unlimited standard data.

HughesNet offers three satellite internet plans, all with unlimited data: Select, Elite, and Fusion:

  • HughesNet Select is a great choice for small households. Get speeds up to 50 Mbps, depending on the area you're in. You'll receive 100 GB of Priority Data. This should be enough for a small household to browse the internet, listen to music, stream podcasts, and stream HD video.
  • HughesNet Elite is a good choice for households who get online a lot. You get speeds up to 100 Mbps, depending on availability in your area. You also get 200 GB of Priority Data. This is perfect for doing video conferencing or doing light, turn-based video games online.
  • HughesNet Fusion is the fastest and most responsive internet that HughesNet offers. You get speeds up to Mbps and 200 GB of Priority Data. You should be able to stream HD video and play multi-player online video games in real-time.

If you regularly get online and use the internet for work or gaming, we highly recommend the HughesNet Fusion. With this plan, you get more reliable, constant internet because it taps into wireless networks for some online activities.

We love that when you sign up for a HughesNet plan, you get mesh Wi-Fi nodes to help eliminate internet dead zones in your home and ensure your household can get online at the same time. You can get these professionally installed with your HughesNet system, so they're placed in the best possible places to maximize their effectiveness.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
HughesNet's website
or call 1-833-804-4974 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
Xfinity brand
Value
4.0
Fast internet speeds at a great price

Xfinity is generally a very good value, especially at the middle and lower tiers. In fact, it offers some of the best budget plans of any of the major internet service providers. Eligible households may qualify for high-speed internet as low as $9.95 a month with unlimited data and equipment.

Depending on your area, you can get a 50 Mbps Internet Essentials plan for less than $20 per month and a 400 Mbps plan for $50 per month. Those plans have a data cap of 1.2 terabytes which is a high data cap. Data caps are common among cable internet service providers (ISPs). Removing it costs an extra $30. But overall, this pricing is an excellent deal for the speeds you're getting.

The 400 Mbps plan, which is about right for an average family that's online a lot, is also a great price. It rings in at about 36% of the national benchmark in its range. (1) That means you're paying just $0.18 per megabit, with plenty of megabits to go around.

Faster internet plans are available from Xfinity. Some areas can get speeds up to 2 Gbps, and others can get plans as fast as 6 Gbps. For reference, 6 Mbps is ridiculously fast, and it also comes at a higher price. Most households don’t need 6 Gbps internet speeds unless they’re streaming a ton of 4K content or have several people gaming online at the same time. These fast internet plans do come with unlimited data, though, so it might still be worth it for some households.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Xfinity's website
or call 1-844-716-2783 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
BRIGHTSPEED
Performance
4.0
Impressive fiber speeds

Impressive is definitely the right word to describe Brightspeed’s performance. The fiber service is excellent, with symmetrical speeds up to 940 Mbps. Symmetrical speed means the upload and download speeds are equal, which makes for much better overall performance compared to typical services where upload is significantly slower.

The DSL service is competitive with most other DSL providers, and seems to be fairly reliable—although we have heard some complaints of outages and interruptions. That said, it is DSL, so you’re only going to get limited speeds.

Our main concern with Brightspeed’s performance is simply how new the company is. It hasn’t had a chance to prove itself yet, and there may be growing pains as it builds out its fiber network. That said, we don’t expect many issues with DSL, since Brightspeed basically inherited the infrastructure directly from CenturyLink.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-833-438-0878 to speak with a Brightspeed rep or
go to its website.
HughesNet brand
Performance
4.0
100 Mbps speed is great, but performance depends on many factors

With any satellite internet provider, performance will depend on individual factors, including your location and how well your dish is positioned. There are also factors beyond your control, such as bad weather and occasional outages. Cable or fiber connections tend to be faster and more dependable, while satellite connections have slower speeds and higher latency due to the long distance between your home and the satellite overhead.

According to data from Ookla, HughesNet’s median download speed in Q4 of 2021 was almost exactly accurate with speeds advertised.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-833-804-4974 to speak with a HughesNet rep or
go to its website.
Xfinity brand
Performance
5.0
Some of the best internet reliability

Xfinity internet performance is excellent. Its speeds are fast and reliable. In fact, in many markets, it has one of the fastest internet speeds around. Xfinity's internet service is reliable and consistent. If outages occur, Xfinity is responsive and generally restores service within hours. Xfinity internet is also highly rated for speed (2), and research from the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) scored it among the top for reliability (3).

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-844-716-2783 to speak with a Xfinity rep or
go to its website.
BRIGHTSPEED
Equipment and installation
3.5
Decent equipment and self-install options

Brightspeed installation is relatively straightforward. The professional installation has a $99 fee attached, which is pretty standard, but self-installation is free. You’ll probably have to go for the pro install with a fiber plan, since you’ll need an optical network terminal (ONT) installed.

For DSL service, you have a choice of professional installation or self-installation, though you can only self-install DSL service if you already have a phone jack in your home. If you don’t, a technician will have to come out and add one.

The equipment is also straightforward. You get a basic wireless gateway (a combination modem and router) that’ll get you online and handle the speeds for your plan. There are none of the mesh systems and other fancy extras some providers offer, but it’ll do the job. Equipment rental will run you $15 per month, which is fairly standard.

That’s kind of the theme with Brightspeed’s equipment and installation process. There’s nothing bad or out of the ordinary, but there’s also nothing particularly interesting or exciting about it.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Brightspeed plans
available in your area.
View plans
HughesNet brand
Equipment and installation
4.0
Easy professional installation and good equipment prices

When you sign up for HughesNet, you can decide to either lease or purchase equipment from the company. Usually, the cost for leasing equipment is around $20 per month and purchasing is around $450. Purchasing equipment is a good deal if you think you’ll continue your service beyond the two-year contract term.

Depending on current promotions, you can sometimes get discounts for leasing or purchasing and have the $99 installation fee waived. You may also be able to score a $100 prepaid gift card, even if you're using your ACP benefit.

Ordering online can sometimes save you up to $50, but the address system on the site is clunky. If you enter yours and Hughesnet says it can't find your address, you may need to call in.

HughesNet’s equipment costs and installation process are about the same as Viasat. Starlink, on the other hand, requires you to purchase the equipment up front for a higher cost and install it yourself.

HughesNet will send a technician to professionally install your equipment, which includes a satellite dish, Wi-Fi modem, router, mesh nodes to boost your Wi-Fi signal in your home, and everything else you need. Installation typically happens within five days of signup, and service windows are about 3 hours long.

The technician will put the dish on your house, or on a pole mount in the ground for $25 extra, and ensure a clear line of sight to the satellite. A hole will be drilled into your home for the cable to connect to the modem inside. Once the system is active and tested, the technician will also connect up to two devices to the network for you.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
HughesNet plans
available in your area.
View plans
Xfinity brand
Equipment and installation
4.0
DIY or professional install and Wi-Fi equipment

Xfinity internet offers the choice of professional and self-installation. The professional option is often more affordable than competitors, at $100. It's required if you haven't had Xfinity service at the address for more than 12 months. The self-install kit is free, but you may pay for shipping and handling. If you have trouble installing yourself, you can contact customer service for help, but beware that you may face long hold times.

As for equipment, the Xfinity xFi gateway is fairly typical (and costs a fairly typical $14 per month). You can add a Wi-Fi extender (and unlimited data) if you bump up to xFi Complete for about $15 per month for the first two years (and $25 per month starting in year 3). This is a bit steep for just the extender—you can grab an excellent Wi-Fi extender for right around $50. However, using Xfinity's equipment gives you unlimited data, and you qualify for a free upgrade after three years.

Read more about how internet bills work.

If you use your own equipment, unlimited data costs an extra $30 per month for lower tier plans, but is included for plans of at least 1 Gbps.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Xfinity plans
available in your area.
View plans
BRIGHTSPEED
Customer experience
3.0
The great unknown

If one area will make or break Brightspeed, it’s customer experience. The provider got its start by acquiring a large number of DSL markets from CenturyLink, so a lot of customers had their internet service transition from one provider to another. A sudden shift in customer experience here could have been really bad.

Opinions of the service are quite mixed so far. Some customers seem to be having a fine experience, with no noticeable change from how things were with CenturyLink. Others have had a rockier transition, with major complaints about speed and customer service.

These types of reports may give you pause, but since the provider is new and the transition from CenturyLink is still happening, things may improve.

Visit Brightspeed's website
or call 1-833-438-0878 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
HughesNet brand
Customer experience
4.0
Plenty of support resources, and you can get actual human help

Customer experience with HughesNet is comparable to its primary satellite internet competitor, Viasat. For billing and tech support questions, the company gives you several ways to contact customer support: by phone, live chat, or email. HughesNet also has an online forum for customers to ask and answer each other’s questions, as well as FAQs and help articles. You can easily manage your account through the website or mobile app.

HughesNet also offers Home Voice, a VoIP phone service that uses your satellite internet connection, plus an internet security package. Both are free for the first month, but you'll be charged starting in your second month, so set yourself a reminder to call and cancel the extras if you're not sure you need them.

Visit HughesNet's website
or call 1-833-804-4974 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
Xfinity brand
Customer experience
4.0
Rapidly improving customer service scores

The Xfinity internet customer experience is a mixed bag. On the one hand, you have reliable service, with the option for unlimited data if you want it. This makes for a great day-to-day experience with Xfinity.

On the other hand, Xfinity internet has a spotty customer service track record. It ranks above average on customer surveys (4). While customer service seems to be above average, not everyone has a great experience, and we've seen some complaints about billing issues and miscommunication between the company and their technicians.

If you need to connect with the company, we recommend using its customer service portal and downloading the Xfinity app first before trying to reach reps by phone.

Visit Xfinity's website
or call 1-844-716-2783 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
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Brightspeed
0.0
(0)
5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
HughesNet
3.0
(13)
5 Star
7%
4 Star
31%
3 Star
31%
2 Star
23%
1 Star
8%
C
Carlos from Mojave, CA
HughesNet Customer for Less than a year
Reviewed on: 6-24-2022
It’s slow and sometimes nothing will even load when we supposedly have 30 gb a day
A
Amberly from Canisteo , NY
HughesNet Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 6-22-2022
I think this company provides very good service for the price I like that the price does not change it's a set set price every month their customer support team is great the response time is amazing and I like most everything about this company I do wish that their speeds would be a little faster but they aren't that bad.
M
Mauleenfrom Hemphill, TX
HughesNet Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
The internet service is not worth what’s being charged. If there were more options for internet in this area, I would definitely switch to a better service. No competition in this rural area.
D
Debfrom West Jefferson, OH
HughesNet Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
We live in a rural area and Hughes Net is the only option for us
Xfinity
4.1
(479)
5 Star
41%
4 Star
41%
3 Star
14%
2 Star
2%
1 Star
2%
R
Ronfrom Red Bank, NJ
Xfinity Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
The service offered and the connection and the costs all meet my desires
R
Rebeccafrom Olathe, KS
Xfinity Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
Xfinity has been a great service provider. Fast speeds and good customer service. I like the flexibility of different programs available. I also like the cost. It is pretty compareable and a manageable month payment.
D
Davidfrom Aurora, CO
Xfinity Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
I think I pay too much, especially when I hear the offers to potential new customers. No attention is given to reducing the cost for us loyal customers. Phoning Customer Service is a nightmare I will avoid sat all costs. Reliability is good, speeds questionable at times, Flex is a great product.
D
Darrylfrom Monroe, GA
Xfinity Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
It is very fast and reliable. It always has a good signal. They do not need to improve.
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Endnotes and sources
Endnotes and sources
1. “2022 Urban Rate Survey – Fixed Broadband Service,” FCC. Accessed 17 June 2022.2. “Starlink Hits 100+ Mbps Download Speed in 15 Countries During Q4 2021,” Ookla. Accessed 6 June 2022.3. “HughesNet outage or service down,” Downdetector. Accessed 6 June 2022.
Endnotes and sources
As an Amazon Associate, Switchful.com may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.
1. "2022 Urban Rate Survey," FCC. Retrieved Dec. 7, 2022.2. "Speed Test Global Index," SpeedTest.net. Accessed 19 October, 2022.3. "Measuring Broadband America," Federal Communications Commission. Accessed 19 October 2022 4. "Internet Service Providers," American Customer Satisfaction Index. Accessed 19 October 2022.