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EarthLink vs. Starry vs. Viasat Internet plan comparison


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Researched by
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Reviewed by
Updated 6/26/24

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EarthLink brand
Staff rating
4.0
Customer rating
4.2
(5)

  • Plans starting at $59.95
  • Download speeds up to 100 Mbps
Starry
Staff rating
3.6
Customer rating
4.0
(1)

  • Plans starting at $15.00
  • Download speeds up to 1000 Mbps
Viasat
Staff rating
2.2
Customer rating
3.7
(4)

  • Plans starting at $30.00
  • Download speeds up to 100 Mbps
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EarthLink brand
Staff rating
4.0

Earthlink offers amazing customer experience at slightly more cost

If you're willing to pay a little bit more for an exceptional customer experience, EarthLink may be the right choice for your Internet service. EarthLink is an interesting Internet provider. Instead of serving internet through its own infrastructure, it partners with other internet providers to repackage their service, acting as a go-between. This means slightly higher prices, but EarthLink's superior customer experience delivers true value and peace of mind.

What we like

  • Wide availability
  • Amazing customer service
  • No price hikes
What we dislike

  • Premium prices
  • Plans vary greatly by area
Savings tip: EarthLink often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Starry
Staff rating
3.6

Fast fixed wireless internet for city dwellers who want to save

Starry provides no-contract fixed wireless internet in just a handful of cities. Its cheap plans, free equipment, and high speeds make it a solid alternative to cable and fiber. Unfortunately, the company's financial instability makes it a poor choice for anyone with other options.

What we like

  • Simple pricing and good value
  • No contracts or data caps
  • Free equipment and installation
What we dislike

  • Slower upload speeds than fiber
  • Weather impact on reliability
  • Unstable company finances
Savings tip: Starry often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
Viasat
Staff rating
2.2

Widely available satellite internet with speeds faster than HughesNet

Viasat (formerly also Exede internet) can’t keep up with cable or fiber, but it’s a relatively fast and widely available choice for satellite internet. Viasat offers more speed and data than HughesNet, but can't match Starlink for upload speed and latency.

What we like

  • Fast speeds for satellite
  • Variety of plans
  • Wide availability
What we dislike

  • High prices
  • Caps on high-speed data
Savings tip: Viasat often has sign-up promotions for first-time customers. Call to ask a rep about current deals and discounts.
Check deals
EarthLink brand
Value
5.0
High value and superior customer experience

You often get what you pay for, and that's the case with EarthLink. Although EarthLink offers slightly higher pricing, you get value for your dollar, and you may even end up paying less than you would with competitors in the long-run.

There’s no getting around it: EarthLink's face-value prices are almost always higher than the competition. Although, depending on the area you're in, the difference can be as little as a few dollars per month. EarthLink's slightly elevated price tag equates to some of the best customer service from an internet provider.

EarthLink doesn’t actually have its own internet infrastructure. Instead, it partners with other local DSL and fiber internet providers, like AT&T and Frontier, and EarthLink uses their infrastructure. This costs EarthLink money, and some of this naturally gets passed down to customers. In return, you’re promised a superior customer experience.

The other reason that EarthLink may offer slightly higher prices: it skips the introductory promotional pricing most internet service providers advertise. For example, when AT&T or Spectrum quote you a price, it’s often for an introductory period of 12 or 24 months. After that introductory period, the price may increase (sometimes dramatically). EarthLink doesn’t do this, which is a plus in our book. It means that EarthLink pricing is straightforward, without any hidden fees, complicated pricing structures, or gimmicks. This also means EarthLink may end up being slightly less expensive in the long-run if you intend to keep it for a couple of years.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
EarthLink's website
or call 1-833-804-4930 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
Starry
Value
4.0
Starry's plans can compete with cable and fiber

Starry’s fixed wireless plans are straightforward and attractive. There are no contracts or data caps. Equipment and installation are provided for free. Prices are subject to change, but there are no price hikes built in since the company doesn’t offer large short-term discounts to new customers like other internet service providers (ISPs) do. It is worth checking for ongoing promotions before you sign up. Starry sometimes offers deals on its plans, like 200 Mbps for $30 per month, which is an even better value than usual.

The Starry Plus plan has 200 Mbps download speeds, which gives you more than enough speed for working from home, streaming, and browsing the web on multiple devices. Starry’s prices and upload speeds tend to beat cable plans with comparable download speeds. At gigabit download speed with Starry, you get half the upload speed of comparable fiber plans, but it’s still more than enough for most people and often cheaper.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Starry's website
or call 1-888-231-9403 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
Viasat
Value
1.5
Better value than HughesNet

In remote areas where cable and fiber aren’t available, satellite internet may be your only option. Viasat offers a wide range of satellite internet plans, but only some of them offer good performance and value for your money compared to other satellite internet providers.

The best plans are Viasat’s Unlimited plans. Those with at least 25 Mbps of speed and 100 GB of high-speed data will give you the ability to do basic web browsing. Viasat’s most expensive plan, with 150 Mbps of download speed and 500 GB of high-speed data, is the best plan for larger households. It also gives you the most data for your dollar.

We wouldn’t recommend Viasat’s Liberty plans because the internet speed and data limits are far too restrictive. If you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of speed or data usage to save money, HughesNet’s 25 Mbps plans are less costly than Viasat’s equivalent plans. For a similar price, Starlink can achieve lower latency than Viasat, though Starlink is available only in limited locations and has customer service issues.

It's also important to think about price hikes. With Viasat, all plan prices go up after three months, in the range of $20–$100 depending on your plan. You can't get out of these increases because you'll have to sign a contract. It's a bummer, but we like that prices are guaranteed for two years starting in month four.

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
Viasat's website
or call 1-833-754-1212 to speak with a rep.
See pricing
EarthLink brand
Performance
4.0
Solid performance and fast speeds, but depends on area

EarthLink's performance is tough to rate. Because it is essentially reselling other providers’ services, the speed and reliability are highly dependent on which partners it uses in a given area.

That said, performance is generally good, and there are a wide range of high-speed internet plans available in most areas, so you can get exactly how much you need—up to 5 gigs in some places. Much of the service is fiber, which means performance is reliably consistent. Best of all, every plan has unlimited data, so whatever speed you opt for, you can use it without worry.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-833-804-4930 to speak with a EarthLink rep or
go to its website.
Starry
Performance
4.0
Fast fixed wireless that lives up to its promises

Starry offers fixed wireless internet service with performance that rivals most other connection types available in the urban areas it serves. Fixed wireless is, of course, wireless. But unlike mobile internet, which allows you to access the internet wirelessly with your phone anywhere, it works by beaming the internet connection directly to equipment mounted on top of your building. Starry sets itself apart from other fixed wireless providers because it takes advantage of high-frequency spectrum, which allows it to achieve up to gigabit speeds.

Actual speeds vary based on several factors, like how many devices are being used on your network and which apps you’re using. In Q3 of 2022, Starry reported its customers had an average download speed of 196 Mbps, upload speed of 104 Mbps, and latency of 20.3 ms. (1) Speeds have slowed a little over time, but only by a matter of milliseconds.

While it’s not as good as fiber, this is more than adequate for streaming, gaming, video chats, and other intense use on multiple devices simultaneously. Since Starry’s internet service uses fixed wireless rather than a wired connection, weather can affect signal range and reliability. Some users have reported slowdowns and outages due to rain and snow. (2)

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-888-231-9403 to speak with a Starry rep or
go to its website.
Viasat
Performance
2.0
Handles everything from browsing to streaming, but data limits will hold you back

Of the two main satellite internet providers in the US, Viasat offers faster speeds (up to 150 Mbps). Viasat delivers good enough performance for basic web browsing and some light video streaming, but even its most expensive plans limit the amount of high-speed data you can use before speeds are throttled.

Additionally, both HughesNet and Viasat have very high latency. This latency, the delay that happens when data is traveling from the satellite to your home, makes even a 150 Mbps connection feel slow. Starlink, a new satellite internet provider, uses satellites closer to the earth, so it is able to offer even faster speeds (up to 100Mbps) and much lower latency than Viasat. For now, Starlink isn’t available in as many locations and performance isn’t as consistent, but it has similar pricing to Viasat and could be a strong alternative for some.

In terms of real-world performance, Viasat slightly outperforms HughesNet in terms of upload speed and latency, according to data from Ookla. (1) Nevertheless, Viasat won’t ever be a better choice than a cable or fiber connection due to the inherent limitations of satellite internet. Viasat also suffers from outages, which can sometimes last days even when the sky is clear, according to user reports from Downdetector. (2)

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-833-754-1212 to speak with a Viasat rep or
go to its website.
EarthLink brand
Equipment and Installation
2.5
Reasonably priced equipment, but varies by area

This is another category that’s tough to rate. Since EarthLink partners with other internet service providers (ISPs) to provide service, it doesn’t actually issue its own equipment. Instead, you’ll get equipment from whichever partner EarthLink uses in your area. The good news is that EarthLink does set the fees, and they’re reasonable: $9.95 per month.

It’s a similar story for installation—your service will be installed and set up by a rep from the partner company, not EarthLink itself. The installation fee is $79.95, which isn’t the highest we’ve seen. That said, we’d rather see installation included in the price, particularly since EarthLink’s overall prices tend to be on the high side. Self-install is available only in some service areas.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
EarthLink plans
available in your area.
View plans
Starry
Equipment and installation
4.0
Free router and professional installation

All Starry internet customers get free professional installation and are provided with equipment to use at no cost while their service is active. The included ZyXEL router is functional and easy to use, but the company doesn't publicize whether you can use your own instead. Either way, there's no extra equipment cost.

Installation appointments have 30-minute arrival windows, which is respectful of customers’ time. The installation process takes 1–2 hours. The installer will activate the service, make sure it works in every room, and set up your router and devices. There is no self-installation option.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Starry plans
available in your area.
View plans
Viasat
Equipment and installation
2.5
Lease equipment for a fair price and get started quickly with professional installation

Getting a satellite internet connection up and running is more involved than a traditional wired connection. Viasat requires you to lease its equipment for $14.99 per month and have it installed professionally. The leasing and installation fees are about the same as HughesNet, and Viasat sometimes waives the $99 cost of installation for qualifying new customers. This is in contrast to Starlink, which requires you to pay several hundred dollars for its equipment upfront and install it yourself.

When you sign up for Viasat, you’ll usually get an appointment for installation within three to five days, and the process itself takes two to three hours. A technician will mount the dish where it can get the clearest view of the southern sky, either on your house or on a pole mount for $75 extra. Since the equipment is leased, when you cancel your service, you’ll be responsible for removing and returning the dish, transceiver, modem, cables, and any other hardware to Viasat.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
Viasat plans
available in your area.
View plans
EarthLink brand
Customer Experience
4.5
EarthLink provides a surprisingly exceptional customer service.

Customer service is where EarthLink really shines. The company claims to prioritize customer service and experience, and users seem to agree. The company actually ranks first in some user-driven surveys of internet satisfaction, beating out providers like AT&T and Verizon, despite the slightly higher prices.

From a practical standpoint, it seems that EarthLink representatives are friendlier, more helpful, and more knowledgeable than those we’ve dealt with at other companies. However, we've seen reports that in some places, customer service is handled by the end provider instead, resulting in worse customer service.

Visit EarthLink's website
or call 1-833-804-4930 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
Starry
Customer experience
2.5
Impressive customer service, at least for now

Starry has a great reputation for customer service, but has recently been in the news for mass layoffs and even pulling out of one of its newest service areas—Columbus, Ohio. (3)

If you can still get Starry, you'll benefit from a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and no contracts. Starry will refund you for service interruptions that last longer than 24 hours if you request the credit within 30 days, unless the outage is because of scheduled maintenance, power outage, weather, or something else beyond the company’s control.

Customer service is impressively responsive. Support is offered by phone, email, and social media. The website offers plenty of help articles, and the app has a chatbot that can inform you of outages at your address. Starry reports it has a Net Promoter Score of 69 (excellent) while other broadband providers have an average of 0 (neutral), meaning customer satisfaction with the brand is unusually high. (4)

Visit Starry's website
or call 1-888-231-9403 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
Viasat
Customer experience
3.0
Decent customer experience, even without paying extra for premium support

Viasat customer service has a dedicated phone number, responsive online chat, and troubleshooting FAQs on its website for all its customers. This is similar to HughesNet’s customer support, and it surpasses Starlink’s lackluster customer service.

Viasat’s best customer service is reserved for those who pay an additional $8.99 per month for EasyCare. EasyCare gives you access to a priority support phone number, free service calls to your address, and discounted annual dish location adjustment. Viasat has additional offerings, including Viasat Voice (VoIP phone service), Viasat Shield (security software), and DISH (satellite TV)–but you won’t save much by bundling.

Visit Viasat's website
or call 1-833-754-1212 for more information on contracts and money-back guarantees.
Go to provider
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Made up your mind?
Find out what providers are available near you.
EarthLink
4.2
(5)
5 Star
40%
4 Star
40%
3 Star
20%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
M
Marstonfrom Brooklyn , NY
EarthLink Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 4-4-2023
Earthlink is good internet, but not better than anyone else. I haven't had problems, but I don't expect to have problems.
J
Jerryfrom Elkin, NC
EarthLink Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 3-14-2023
Earthlink has been pretty good for what I use it for. It's a little expensive but not bad
J
J.J.from Dominguez, CA
EarthLink Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 8-29-2022
been an ok provider so far. nothing outstanding, nothing to complain about.
V
Veronica from Macon, GA
EarthLink Customer for Less than a year
Reviewed on: 8-29-2022
Fast internet service, cloud storage
Starry
4.0
(1)
5 Star
0%
4 Star
100%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
A
Annfrom Poteau, OK
Starry Customer for 8+ years
Reviewed on: 6-17-2022
They are Always quick to help With any problem. Customer service workers are polite and well educated. Service has never failed me when I needed it the most.
Viasat
3.7
(4)
5 Star
50%
4 Star
25%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
25%
E
Elisabethfrom Stockton , CA
Viasat Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 5-7-2023
We've used Via sat for a few years and it's been nice. We have signal issues every once and a while but there really aren't very many options in the area we live. We are outside of town.
T
Terrifrom Knapp Creek, NY
Viasat Customer for 1+ years
Reviewed on: 4-20-2023
Viasat is one of the only providers I can get because we live away from town. We like it and it does what we need. We added a heater to the dish to help melt snow in winter and that has been a good thing.
H
Heribertofrom Newburgh, NY
Viasat Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 3-7-2023
We live just outside of where we can high speed internet and we thought we were going to not be happy with satellite internet. It's been really good for what we do with it. We are older and don't use it as much as some people do I'm sure, but I would recommend it if you can't get one of the big cable brands
J
Jamesfrom Decatur, IN
Viasat Customer for 4+ years
Reviewed on: 8-29-2022
I live in a rural area, and find my internet satisfactory. It is expense when you compare it to urban areas nearby, when you compare it to speed and reliability.
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Endnotes and sources
Endnotes and sources
(1) “We Support Net Neutrality,” Starry Internet. Accessed 19 December 2022.(2) “Starry Internet,” Reddit. Accessed 19 July 2022.(3) "Starry internet shutting down Columbus operations," The Columbus Dispatch. Accessed 9 February 2023.(3) “Form 10-K,” United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Accessed 8 July 2022.As an Amazon Associate, Switchful.com may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.
Endnotes and sources
1. “Starlink Hits 100+ Mbps Download Speed in 15 Countries During Q4 2021,” Ookla. Accessed 6 June 2022.2. “Viasat current problems and outages,” Downdetector. Accessed 6 June 2022.