Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (2024)

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Home » Internet by satellite providers: Viasat, HughesNet, Starlink, etc. » Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared

  • Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (6)

    Overall rating: 3.3/5

  • Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (7)

    Speed and latency – 3.4/5

  • Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (8)

    Reliability – 3.0/5

  • Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (9)

    Data – 2.6/5

  • Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (10)

    Value – 4.0/5

View Plans

By Andreas Rivera

May 07, 2024

Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (12)11 min read

With the launch of a brand new satellite in 2023, Hughesnet introduced “the new Hughesnet,” an assortment of new internet packages with better download speeds and more data. Despite these upgrades, Hughesnet’s internet service still leaves most current and former customers I’ve communicated with unhappy. Many customers call out a mandatory two-year commitment, subpar customer service, and restrictive data caps—which makes us question whether or not Hughesnet does enough to offset these flaws.

“They have gotten better in the six years I've had them. I was never able to stream and now I can. It used to lag a lot and now it doesn't.” —Hughesnet Customer.

Where Hughesnet wins is in the price tag. With a one-year discount for new customers, Hughesnet’s Select plan is more than half the cost of its competitors, Starlink and Viasat. Whether or not Hughesnet is right for you depends on your internet needs and your budget concerns.

Jump to:

  • Hughesnet plans and pricing
  • Is Hughesnet right for you?
    • Speed and latency
    • Reliability
    • Data
    • Value
  • Hughesnet vs. the competition
  • Hughesnet news
  • Hughesnet customer service

Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (13)

How I wrote this Hughesnet review

Hi, I’m Andreas Rivera, a technology writer with a nearly decade-long career reviewing products and services. For this Hughesnet review, I communicated with Hughesnet customers to find out how Hughesnet meets their needs. I also draw from anonymous customer surveys, proprietary data on speeds and pricing, and research into the satellite internet industry and the technology that drives it. Finally I leverage my experience to break down what all of this research means for you.

Hughesnet plans and pricing

Hughesnet offers its internet service in two different flavors: satellite-only and Fusion. The satellite-only plans are the most affordable satellite internet options available in 99 percent of the U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

After that initial year, the plan reverts to the regular price of $74.99.

Hughesnet’s plans come with a 12-month discount of $25, making Hughesnet’s Select plan the cheapest satellite internet package at $49.99 per month for the first year. After that initial year, the plan reverts to the regular price of $74.99.

The main differences between the two satellite-only plans are download speed and priority data. The Select plan offers speeds up to 50Mbps and 100GB of monthly priority data, while the Elite plan doubles both.

Hughesnet satellite-only plans

Plan

Price

Speed

Data

See more

Select$49.99/mo for 12 mo.*Up to 50 Mbps20–100MbpsView Plans
Elite$64.99/mo for 12 mo.*Up to 100 Mbps20–100MbpsView Plans

* Offer for 12 months. Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Equipment Lease or Purchase fees extra. Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Equipment Lease or Purchase fees extra.

Next is the Fusion plan, which is entirely different. Unlike the satellite-only plans, Fusion isn’t available everywhere. However, it adds a fixed-wireless connection to supplement the satellite connection for better latency.

The Fusion plan’s price aligns with Viasat’s primary offering; however, the promise of better latency gives it an edge. Starlink’s steep start-up cost makes it more expensive than both but it wins out in speed and latency.

Hughesnet Fusion plans

Plan

Price

Speed

Data

Details

Fusion$94.99/mo for 12 mo.*Up to 100 Mbps20–100MbpsView Plans

* Offer for 12 months. Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Equipment Lease or Purchase fees extra. Service plans require a 24-month commitment. Equipment Lease or Purchase fees extra.

Fusion isn’t available for everyone, unlike the satellite-only plans. You need to be in the range of a 5G cellular tower that Hughesnet has licensed to broadcast its fixed-wireless service. The receiver needs a clear line of view of the tower for fixed wireless to work, so it’s unlikely to work in mountainous or heavily forested areas.

If you can’t get Fusion in your area, the Select plan is available nearly anywhere in the U.S., is nearly half the cost, and is perfect for people with minimal internet needs. However, if you need faster speeds and don’t mind paying a little extra, I suggest looking at Viasat, Starlink, or a satellite internet alternative.

Hughesnet fees for equipment and installation

Fee

Price

Hughesnet modem/router$14.99-$19.99/mo. to lease; $199.99–$349.99 to purchase
Hughesnet installation fee$99.00 activation fee if you lease equipment, OR an installation payment of $199.99 if you want to outright purchase the equipment
Hughesnet early termination feeUp to $400.00 before 90 days, reduced by $15 every month after
Hughesnet unreturned equipment feeUp to $300.00 for Satellite-only plans ($100.00 for the modem and power supply, $200.00 for radio transmitter) and $500 for Fusion plan
Hughesnet moving feeLeased equipment: $99.00 activation fee at new location
Purchased: $249.00 hardware fee and $199.00 installation fee at new location

Hughesnet fees are broken down primarily into equipment fees and early termination fees. Hughesnet moving fees are their own beast, but you don’t have a fee specifically for moving your service, just for activating your service in a new area. Check out our Transfer Hughesnet internet service guide for more details.

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Hughesnet typically offers new customers a $100 prepaid Mastercard via a rebate, which offsets some startup costs. Just remember to follow through on the rebate process.

Hughesnet is the only satellite internet provider requiring a two-year contract and will charge an early termination fee if you want to cancel the service before then. The cost depends on how long you have left on your contract. While Hughesnet is the most affordable satellite internet provider, the commitment required is alarming. Next, we explore whether the money saved is worth it.

Enter your zip code to see all the best Hughesnet plans available in your area.

How we rate and compare satellite internet providers

We break down our reviews of satellite internet providers into four categories.

Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (15)

Speed

Takes into account the provider’s download/upload speeds and average latency.

Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (16)

Reliability

Rates the consistency of service and access to customer support.

Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (17)

Data

Rates the allotment of high-speed data in a provider’s plans, taking into account priority data and options for purchasing more data.

Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (18)

Value

Looks at the pricing (including fees, discounts and special offers) of services for what you’re getting and compared to competitors.

To keep a fair comparison, we rate satellite internet providers only against other satellite internet competitors.

Our Hughesnet provider rating by category

Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (19)

Speed and latency

3.4 out of 5

Hughesnet’s plans offer download speeds of up to 100 Mbps. That puts it just a bit below Viasat Unleashed and Starlink’s standard plan, which offers up to 150 Mbps, at least in the advertised range. That’s enough speed to enjoy browsing, social media, emailing, and even a bit of streaming.

Still, I must emphasize the “up to” in “up to 100 Mbps.” Like all internet providers, Hughesnet promises up to a particular speed measurement. Still, it’s possible that your speed will drop below that level depending on your Hughesnet data usage, the effect of weather on your satellite dish, and network congestion.

While the download speeds technically qualify as broadband, latency is still a huge issue for any satellite internet provider. The major difference between Hughesnet (plus its rival Viasat) and Starlink is that it utilizes geostationary satellites in the earth’s orbit, which allows for broader coverage for residential customers in the U.S. Still, the distance data has to travel creates high latency that makes using the internet frustrating. Hughesnet claims latency for the satellite-only plans is up to 650 ms. For comparison, the average cable latency is 15–35 ms.

While pages and files can be downloaded in decent time, using this speed of internet can seem unresponsive and laggy. So while Hughesnet is available to use nearly everywhere in the U.S., it requires a degree of patience.

Hughesnet Fusion, on the other hand, uses a hybrid of satellite and fixed-wireless. According to Hughesnet, fixed-wireless provides much lower latency, about 100 ms. This allows for better-quality streaming, video conferencing, and, supposedly, online gaming.

Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (20)

Can you game online with Hughesnet?

Gaming over satellite internet can be frustrating and many times impossible because of the high latency. Action games like first-person shooters or anything else that requires quick reaction times are going to be tough. Some games’ servers won’t even let you join if your latency isn’t good enough.

Hughesnet’s solution is the Fusion plan, which combines your satellite internet with a fixed-wireless signal for better latency. However, customers I talked with on the Fusion plan told me that latency was far from perfect. Turn-based games would work better, granted you and your opponents don’t mind a little lag.

Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (21)

Reliability

3.0 out of 5

Hughesnet is far from speedy internet, so having a reliable signal should be a priority. However, customers' experienced have been mixed. You’re probably not going to be streaming or online gaming a lot, but you’ll be able to connect to the web to browse, email, and even make phone calls. Hughesnet customers I surveyed say reliability is hit or miss.

“We thought we would get decent service with Hughesnet, but being in a rural area, the service is pretty bad and we pay quite a bit for it not to work.”—Hughesnet customer on quality of service.

Current and former customers have also widely criticized customer service. While customers have remarked that installation and setup were good, most frustration came from the unsatisfying support they received afterward, with slow responses, frequent attempts at retention or upselling, and insufficient answers to questions about the service.

“I wish there was less buffering,” said a Hughesnet customer. “Also wish they could be a little more helpful over the phone instead of always trying to sell new promotions.”

Expedited support, including onsite repairs, is an extra charge on top of your monthly bill.

Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (22)

Data

2.6 out of 5

Data is another aspect that holds back Hughesnet, offering a monthly allotment of priority data. Satellite providers only have so much bandwidth to split among their customers, so how do they maintain usage by restricting the amount of data used in a month?

Customers, even on plans that allow for the most data, have remarked that it’s still not enough and that they’ll often run into their monthly limit in a matter of weeks. They said the service was immediately throttled, and the only way to get back to full speed was to purchase data tokens that are too expensive for most customers.

Hughesnet customers, as well as customers of other services with data caps, remarked that they had to be conservative with their data, planning which online activities they could or could not do at different times. Things like video streaming and excessive downloading would quickly eat up their data. They even had to turn off automatic updates for most applications and devices.

Hughesnet does offer “Bonus Zone” data during the middle of the night from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. The provider suggests saving your downloads and device updates during this time.

Viasat and Starlink provide customers with unlimited high-speed data, although limited. If it appears customers are going over normal usage (which Viasat defines as 850GB per month), they will also slow down. Starlink will also slow down customers who use an unusual amount of data, but does not state what that amount is.

Hughesnet Internet Reviews: Plans, Prices, and Speeds Compared | SatelliteInternet.com (23)

Is Hughesnet good enough for streaming?

Hughesnet’s advertised top speed of 100Mbps should be enough for decent-quality streaming. However, whether or not you actually get that speed, the high latency will make streaming anything but standard-definition videos challenging.

Because of the priority data cap, many people supplement their satellite internet with satellite television, which can be another pricey bill. Customers who switched to a service with unlimited data were allowed to cancel their television package and save money because they could stream more. Use our How Much Internet Data Do I Need? guide to help you pick a plan.

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Value

4.0 out of 5

So, is Hughesnet worth it? All in all, it’s the most affordable service, even when its discounted price reverts to normal after a year. You’ll spend less money going with Hughesnet’s base plan than both Starlink and Viasat, but the mandatory commitment of 24 months makes it harder to recommend.

“I like the price that we pay, but wish the speeds would be better.” - Hughesnet customer

An early termination fee is charged to your payment method if you decide to cancel before the span of your contract. The maximum fee is $400, which is reduced as time passes, so you’ll still spend less money than continuing the contract. However, it’s still a charge that many former customers say they feel blindsided by. Furthermore, you must ensure the leased equipment is returned on time or face another expensive charge for unreturned or damaged equipment.

“I like the price that we pay, but wish the speeds would be better,” said one customer. “We live in an area where we can't get other service besides satellite.”

Doing away with the contract, like what Viasat recently did, would put it on even footing with rivals since potential customers could try it out and see if it fits their needs without being locked into a two-year commitment. Until a change like that is made, I’d err on the side of going with a satellite provider that’s a bit more expensive but at least doesn’t tie you down.

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Overall

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3.3

Hughesnet’s provider rating overall

Compared to its two main competitors, Hughesnet provides an internet connection that’s typically better than nothing.

Regarding speed and quality, it doesn’t offer as much horsepower as Starlink or even Viasat at times, so the ideal customers would be people in rural areas who need the most straightforward signal to keep connected with the wide world, but not much else. You’ll save money overall, but need to be prepared for the mandatory two-year agreement.

How do Hughesnet’s ratings compare to satellite internet competitors?

Category

Viasat

Hughesnet

Starlink

Speed/Latency

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3

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3.4

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4.9

Reliability

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2.7

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3

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3

Data

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4.8

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2.6

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4.5

Value

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4.4

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4

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2.6

Overall

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3.7

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3.3

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3.8

Enter your zip code to see all the best Hughesnet plans available in your area.

How do Hughesnet’s prices, speeds, and data amounts stack up against satellite competitors?

Provider

Price

Speed

High-speed data

See more

Viasat$99.99–$119.99/mo.12–150MbpsUnlimitedView Plans
Hughesnet$74.99–$119.99/mo.50–100Mbps100—200GBView Plans
Starlink$120.00–$500.00/mo.20–220Mbps40GB—2TB+Read Review

Hughesnet, while cheaper than its main two rivals, is still behind in performance and support. In 2023, the service got a boost in speeds and data, but with high latency and restrictive data caps, it’s still hard to say if it’s enough to keep up with rivals.

The rise of low-earth orbit satellite technology from Starlink and other up-and-coming providers means Hughesnet can’t really compete with the technology’s lower latency and faster download speeds.

Viasat is in the middle of the pack price-wise. Its Unleashed plan is more affordable than Starlink’s standard plan but slightly more expensive than Hughesnet’s Elite plan ($89.99 per month plus a one-year discount of $25 per month). The fact that there’s no contract and virtually unlimited data allows you to be more flexible. For a deeper dive into these internet services, check out our full Hughesnet vs. Viasat breakdown.

Starlink’s plans are expensive—particularly the high-speed or mobile options. You’ll need to pay Starlink’s high up-front costs of $599 or $2,500. You’re also on your own when installing Starlink, but you’ll at least own the equipment and can resell it to get some money back.

For a deeper breakdown of these data-heavy satellite providers, check out our Starlink vs. Hughesnet.

How does Hughesnet stack up against non-satellite alternatives?

Provider

Price

Data

Download speed

Learn more

T-Mobile 5G Home Internet$40.00–$50.00/mo.*Unlimited72–245Mbps averageView Plans
Verizon Home Internet$35.00–$80.00/mo.**UnlimitedUp to 1,000MbpsView Plans
$55.00/mo.Unlimited75—225MbpsView Plans
CenturyLink$55.00/mo.UnlimitedUp to 100MbpsView Plans
Rise Broadband$35.00–$80.00/mo.**UnlimitedUp to 50MbpsView Plans

*w/ Auto Pay and qualifying mobile plan. Regulatory fees included in monthly price for qualified accounts. See full terms.

**w/ Auto Pay. Available in select areas.

Satellite internet is available nearly everywhere in the U.S. However, its speeds and prices make it impossible to recommend to anyone with other internet options, such as cable or wireless 5G internet. T-Mobile and Verizon offer wireless home internet solutions with high speeds and lower latency than satellite for a much better price. The only caveat is that it’s not as widespread or available everywhere as satellite. You need to be in the range of a provider’s 5G cell tower and in a spot where you can receive a clear signal. Our comparison of Hughesnet vs. T-Mobile provides a comprehensive breakdown of the pros and cons between these two providers.

Another great alternative to satellite—and an economical one to boot—is fixed wireless internet. It’s not as widespread as satellite or even 5G mobile internet, but if you happen to be in a rural area with a provider like Rise Broadband, you can get decent internet speeds for a competitive price.

While I recommend Hughesnet or other satellite internet providers when there’s no alternative, I always recommend checking to see if there’s a viable provider other than satellite. Enter your zip code to see what providers are available in your area.

Enter your zip code to see all the best Hughesnet plans available in your area.

Hughesnet customers unhappy with service and business practices

Overall, finding customers with much praise to share about Hughesnet was challenging. Many who were lukewarm on the provider were at least thankful they had service in their remote corner of the world. Many customers sounded off their feelings in an anonymous survey by HighSpeedInternet.com.

“I like the fact that I do have internet when I need it,” one customer said. “I dislike the internet speeds I have to work with at times.”

Still, criticisms of Hughesnet weren’t universal—quite a few customers were happy with the service.

“I like that I have few outages,” wrote a satisfied customer. “When I have outages, it is fixed in a timely matter. Price is fair for what I get. Customer service is very friendly if I have to contact them.”

The criticism among many customers was that Hughesnet’s contract and surrounding fees were unfair.

“I don't like anything about them,” wrote one customer. “They're the only provider that services my area. I experience slow internet speeds, loss of internet connections, and not-so-great customer service.”

Despite the affordability of its plans, Hughesnet customers I spoke to online didn’t think it was worth it, especially since Starlink is now widely available.

Hughesnet hopes new satellite will help fend off fierce competition

Hughesnet’s Jupiter-3 satellite allowed the service to improve its packages without much price change but with speed and data improvements. However, this improvement may be too little—too late. In its latest financial earnings reports, parent company EchoStar revealed that it lost about 200,000 internet customers in 2023, continuing a trend from previous years.

EchoStar blamed this drop on capacity limitations and increased competition (without directly mentioning Starlink or Viasat). However, the report also hoped that the Jupiter-3 satellite's increased capabilities could prevent churn going into the next year.

Need more information about Hughesnet?

For more Hughesnet internet details, check out our full Hughesnet FAQ. If you want to move your Hughesnet internet service to a new address, check out the Hughesnet internet section of our Transferring Internet Service guide.

Hughesnet customer service can be reached by phone (+1-866-482-1777) or by logging into your Hughesnet account.

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Written by

Andreas Rivera

Andreas Rivera is a lifelong writer with a decade-spanning career in journalism and marketing. He comes to SatelliteInternet.com with several years of experience writing about business and technology. His passion for researching the latest advancements in tech, especially the now essential need for reliable internet access, fuels his goal of educating others about how these innovations affect and improve our everyday lives. When not researching and writing about SatelliteInternet.com, you’ll likely find him buried in a good book or enjoying the great outdoors with a fishing rod.

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