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HughesNet vs. MaxxSouth Broadband vs. Viasat Internet plan comparison


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Researched by
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Reviewed by
Bri FieldAssigning Editor
Updated 6/24/24

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HughesNet brand
Staff rating
3.8
Customer rating
3.1
(13)

  • Plans starting at $49.99
  • Download speeds up to 25 Mbps
MaxxSouth Broadband
Staff rating
3.6
Customer rating
0.0
(0)

  • Plans starting at $14.99
  • 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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See what providers service your area.
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
MaxxSouth Broadband
Staff rating
3.6

Budget-friendly internet in Mississippi and Alabama

MaxxSouth Broadband delivers fast, reliable cable and fiber internet to much of Mississippi and some of Alabama. The internet service provider (ISP) packs a ton of value in its plans, especially for smaller households. But if you want top-notch customer service, this might not be the company for you.

What we like

  • Low prices
  • Fast, reliable plans
  • Inexpensive professional installation
What we dislike

  • Poor customer service
  • No self-setup option
  • Limited availability
Savings tip: MaxxSouth Broadband 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
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
MaxxSouth Broadband
Value
3.0
Low prices for the speed you can actually use

MaxxSouth offers plans ranging from 150 Mbps to an incredible 10 gigs. However, anything above 1 gig isn't yet widely available, and for good reason. Most households don't need near those speeds, and current devices can't use it anyway. So stick with MaxxSouth's 1 gig plans or lower. In fact, the slower your plan, the better the deal you get with MaxxSouth. A 150 Mbps plan costs just 28% of the national benchmark, while a 1 gig plan runs about 67% of the national benchmark (which is still a good deal). (1)

Plans come with unlimited data, decent upload speeds, and inexpensive equipment and installation—all with no contract. That’s a ton of value!

Pricing details vary by location. Visit
MaxxSouth Broadband's website
or call 1-844-719-0032 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
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.
MaxxSouth Broadband
Performance
5.0
High-performance cable and fiber internet plans

MaxxSouth Broadband offers cable and fiber internet plans, both of which are highly reliable. MaxxSouth’s cable plans range from 150 Mbps to 1 gig download speeds, with upload speeds from 5 Mbps to 15 Mbps, which is better than a lot of other providers.

Some MaxxSouth fiber plans boast a whopping 10 gigs (holy cannoli!) with symmetrical connections (meaning the upload speeds match the download speeds). However, it's more realistic to see actual speeds max out at around 1 gig, even if you buy a faster plan. With 10 gigs, you could host the mother of all LAN parties (can we join?) and still have mountains of leftover bandwidth.

Available speeds vary by location. Call 1-844-719-0032 to speak with a MaxxSouth Broadband 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.
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
MaxxSouth Broadband
Equipment and installation
4.0
Low-cost installation and quality gear

MaxxSouth has minimal equipment and installation costs. A router/modem combo is included in your plan’s pricing, which is a rare find indeed. If you have a large home or a big family, though, you probably want to spring for this provider’s eero TrueMesh Wi-Fi, which uses multiple signal extenders placed throughout your home for the best coverage. At a reasonable $15 per month, this Wi-Fi package also includes an app that helps you find and eliminate dead spots, set parental controls, and even gives you access to remote support.

MaxxSouth’s professional installation will cost you around $20 in most cases, though if your home isn’t quite internet ready, this cost could go up. Since professional installation usually costs $70–$100 even for plug-and-play homes, that’s a sweet deal. The downside is that there’s no free self-install option, which means you’ll have to schedule an appointment. But there are worse trade-offs.

Equipment and installation options can vary widely depending on
MaxxSouth Broadband 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
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
MaxxSouth Broadband
Customer Experience
2.5
Decent self-help options, but customer service needs improvement

We love that installation is just $20 in most cases and that you can call into MaxxSouth customer service 24/7/365. However, some of the customer reviews suggest that the low price and availability aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Multiple reviews cite technicians leaving holes in walls, unsightly cables, or non-functioning internet in their wake, while others say it’s hard to get a person on the phone when they call in.

MaxxSouth has some decent self-help content on its website to help you troubleshoot issues on your own, but not all issues can be solved this way. We’d love to see MaxxSouth’s customer service rise to the level of its value in other areas.

Visit MaxxSouth Broadband's website
or call 1-844-719-0032 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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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
MaxxSouth Broadband
0.0
(0)
5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
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
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
1. “2022 Urban Rate Survey – Fixed Broadband Service,” FCC. Accessed 1 February 2023.
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.