HughesNet Satellite Internet Review 2022

HughesNet offers good value for its lower-GB plans, but if you want download speeds faster than 25 Mbps, look to Viasat.

HughesNet Plans
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
10 GB$59.99*25 Mbps10 GBView Plan
20 GB$69.99*25 Mbps20 GBView Plan
30 GB$99.99*25 Mbps30 GBView Plan
50 GB$149.99*25 Mbps50 GBView Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Service plans require a 24-month commitment.
Catherine McNally
Editorial Lead, Internet & Gaming
Read More
Published on December 13, 2021
8 min read

If you need satellite internet, HughesNet is a great pick for a budget-friendly plan that doesn’t come with a lot of data or speeds faster than 25 Mbps. But as soon as you need more data, HughesNet’s prices quickly rocket past Earth’s orbit.

We dug into HughesNet’s four internet plans to figure out which one is the best deal—and whether this satellite internet provider is worth the price at all. Let’s dig in.

See all the rural internet options available in your area.
Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet No price hikes for two years
Pro Bullet Clear and transparent plans and pricing
Pro Bullet Option to add more data plus free Bonus Zone data
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Only one 25 Mbps download speed option
Con Bullet Low data caps
Con Bullet High prices for 30 GB and 50 GB plans

HughesNet prices and plans

HughesNet packs value into its lower-data plans, but watch out for extreme costs if you need more data

HughesNet internet plans range from $59.99 a month for 10 GB of data to $149.99 a month for 50 GB of data. You can also find two plans between those: a 20 GB plan for $69.99 a month and a 30 GB plan for $99.99 a month. All HughesNet plans come with 25 Mbps download speeds.

Satellite internet almost always costs more than other kinds of connections, like DSL or fiber. What can we say? Satellites are expensive machines. Still, you might feel some sticker shock.

If you just moved to the country from a city, don’t be surprised to see a higher monthly bill, even if you feel like you’re getting slower service now than you did at your old place.

HughesNet satellite internet promotional prices
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
10 GB$59.99*25 Mbps10 GB
20 GB$69.99*25 Mbps20 GB
30 GB$99.99*25 Mbps30 GB
50 GB$149.99*25 Mbps50 GB
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Service plans require a 24-month commitment.

We mentioned that HughesNet’s internet plans are transparent and easy to understand. Each plan is named for the data cap it comes with. How simple is that?

Maybe too simple for some. Those data caps are all that changes from plan to plan—you won’t see a boost in speed if you pay more.

Where is HughesNet available?

You can get HughesNet satellite internet anywhere in the US. All you need is a clear view of the Southern sky.

That does make it more difficult for homes in the mountains or those surrounded by trees or tall buildings to get a signal. This is another reason getting your HughesNet dish professionally installed is a good idea. Your installer should be able to find a spot with the clearest view of the sky.

How does HughesNet compare to Viasat?

We found HughesNet’s price for 20 GB of data most reasonable. The HughesNet 20 GB plan comes with 25 Mbps download speeds and 20 GB of data for $69.99 a month. The closest comparable Viasat plan, Liberty 25, comes with 12 Mbps download speeds and 25 GB of data for $50.00 a month.

That sounds like we flubbed when we said the HughesNet 20 GB plan was the better deal, at least until you factor in Viasat’s price bump after three months.

So after three months of paying $50.00 a month for Liberty 25, your price jumps to $75.00 a month for the rest of your two-year contract. So the HughesNet 20 GB plan would save you $5.00 a month for the remaining 21 months of your contract.

That’s a total of $105.00 saved if you go with HughesNet over Viasat.

HughesNet 20 GB plan vs. Viasat Liberty 25 plan
Service
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data Cap
Details
HughesNetHughesNet
20 GB$69.99*25 Mbps20 GB
ViasatViasat
Liberty 25$50/mo.12 Mbps25 GB
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Service plans require a 24-month commitment.
Promotional price is for the first 3 months. Regular internet rate applies after 3 months.

That said, even with the price hike, Viasat’s plans are a better deal if you want more data and faster download speeds.

HughesNet’s speeds top out at 25 Mbps, so we compared Viasat’s Unlimited Silver 25 plan with 25 Mbps download speeds and 120 GB of data. The Viasat Unlimited Silver 25 plan costs $70.00 a month (and jumps to $100.00 a month after three months), and HughesNet’s 50 GB plan costs $149.99 a month for 25 Mbps download speeds and, you guessed it, 50 GB of data.

HughesNet 50 GB plan vs. Viasat Unlimited Silver 25 plan
Service
Plan
Price
Download speed
Data cap
Details
HughesNetHughesNet
50 GB$149.99*25 Mbps50 GB
ViasatViasat
Unlimited Silver 25$84.99/mo.25 Mbps120 GB
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Service plans require a 24-month commitment.
Promotional price is for the first 3 months. Regular internet rate applies after 3 months. one-time installation fee may apply. Equipment lease fee is $12.99/mo. Taxes apply. Minimum 24 month service term required.

Here’s how the total cost of those plans compares after 24 months:

  • HughesNet 50 GB plan: $3,599.76 total
  • Viasat Unlimited Silver 25 plan: $2,310.00 total

So not only does the Viasat Unlimited Silver 25 plan get you more data, it also saves you almost $1,300.00 over the course of two years.

This is why we recommend HughesNet for low-speed, low-data plans, and recommend Viasat for faster speeds and more data.

Bullhorn
Want more HughesNet versus Viasat comparisons?

We compare price, data, and download speeds in our Viasat vs. HughesNet review and give you the full view of what Viasat costs after three months in our Viasat review.

HughesNet internet speed

HughesNet’s 25 Mbps download speeds can’t compete with Viasat’s max speed of 100 Mbps

Satellite internet providers often change their offerings based on your location. For example, Viasat changes its prices and speeds depending on where you live. But you don’t have to deal with that with HughesNet. HughesNet gives you the same 25 Mbps speed regardless of your address.

Viasat and HughesNet download speeds comparison
Download speeds
Learn more
HughesNet25 Mbps
Viasat12100 Mbps

For some, that may not be a good thing. But 25 Mbps is more than enough to comfortably check your email and scroll through Facebook without waiting forever for pages to load.

Of course, you might still face some slowness with certain types of activities, like streaming videos or playing online games. Sadly, that’s just the nature of the satellite internet beast.

You see, satellite internet has higher latency than other internet connection types. That means it takes longer for your computer to send information to that satellite orbiting the Earth about 22,000 miles away, then to the website you’re visiting, and back.

How fast is HughesNet really?

According to our latest look at the fastest ISPs in the US, HughesNet internet is much, much slower than DSL, cable, and fiber alternatives—but it’s slightly faster than its satellite internet competitor, Viasat.

HughesNet ranked 36th out of 38 ISPs for speed, putting it one rank above Viasat at 37th.

HughesNet internet speed score
Provider
Reviews.org weighted score

HughesNet

6.6 out of 100

To put this in context, satellite internet is at a natural disadvantage when it comes to speed because of its comparatively slower download and upload speeds, plus its high latency.

Even so, it’s best to sort of expect the worst when it comes to satellite internet speeds, especially if you’re used to city internet that uses DSL, cable, or fiber connections. Satellite will be slower, but it’s still better than no internet connection at all, in our opinion.

How do HughesNet data guidelines work?

Even though HughesNet internet plans list data caps, those aren’t set in stone. You don’t have to worry about your data being cut off or paying overages if you use more than your set amount.

That said, your speeds will slow down if you go over the data amount on your plan. We call these soft caps, or “data guidelines.” They’re not hard-and-fast limits, but you’ll feel like they are if you use more than what’s on your plan.

If your kids go on a Disney+ spree and gobble up your data allowance, HughesNet will slow down your speeds to a rate that makes molasses look fast. (1 to 3 Mbps, to be exact.)

There are some ways to make sure you don’t use up all your high-speed data and crawl through your social media feed at a snail’s pace. We cover these in-depth in our HughesNet data guide, but here’s a quick look:

  • Track your data usage on the HughesNet app. (iOS | Android)
  • Take advantage of the Bonus Zone, which gives you 50 GB of extra data each month between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m.
  • Stream your videos in standard definition (SD).
  • Buy a HughesNet data token.

Contracts, equipment, and fees

HughesNet’s still stuck on that two-year contract, and its equipment fees can be pricey

Just like Viasat, HughesNet locks you into a two-year service contract. Your price does stay the same for all 24 months, with no surprise price hikes—which is nice.

But we still dislike contracts and wish HughesNet (and Viasat) would either stop using them or limit them to just one year.

That said, satellite internet is a pain to set up and a pain to return, so you probably won’t want to switch it out too often anyway. And if you don’t plan on moving anytime soon, then two years isn’t a terribly long time to keep your internet service.

Equipment

HughesNet’s broadband internet service requires a satellite antenna and a modem. You can buy this equipment from HughesNet, or you can just lease it. Either way, it’s going to be pricey.

How much does HughesNet equipment cost?
Leased or purchased
Cost
Setup fee
Cost over 2 yrs
Leased antenna and modem$14.99/mo. (for 24 mos) $99.00$458.76
Purchased antenna and modem$449.98 (equipment and installation)None$449.98

Data effective 12/13/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

At the end of two years, your $14.99 monthly equipment fee adds up to $359.76, which is delightful compared to the $449.99 purchase fee.

But that total doesn’t take into account the $99 setup fee, which is waived if you purchase your equipment. If you lease, you’ll end up paying that activation fee, bringing your two-year rental fee total to $458.76. So at that point . . . maybe just purchase it outright.

Heads Up
Return your rental equipment on time!

If you cancel your contract early, make sure you return your equipment by mail within 45 days. If you delay or don’t return your equipment, HughesNet will charge you $300. Yikes!

Once you’ve decided between renting and leasing your equipment, you should get the option to schedule installation. And this is definitely a job you want the pros to take care of, no matter how handy you are.

HughesNet uses third-party contractors to install your satellite antenna and modem. That means the contractors don’t work directly for HughesNet, so the quality of your customer service is a bit of an unknown. But your installer will be able to find the right spot, angle, and height for your dish to catch the best signal.

Remember: Installation can take around four hours, so block out at least half your day.

Service fees

HughesNet charges a $99 activation fee if you lease your equipment. Depending on how long you plan to keep your service, that could be another reason to buy your equipment outright.

  • Installation fee: If you lease your equipment, there’s a $99 activation fee. If you buy your equipment, installation is included and the activation fee is waived.

As for early termination fees, if you cut your HughesNet contract short, expect to pay out the wazoo for it.

  • Early termination fee: You’ll pay $85 minimum if you cancel your service early, and depending on when you cancel, you could pay up to $400.

The early termination fee decreases the longer you keep your service. But the lowest you’ll possibly pay to cancel is $85, which is still a decent chunk of change.

If you cancel before your equipment is installed, HughesNet says it’ll refund what you paid when you placed your order. But if your equipment is already installed and you decide to cancel your internet service only 90 days or less into your two-year contract, there’ll be a big honkin’ $400 cancellation fee heading your way.

This is one of the reasons we dislike contracts so much. Who can know for sure they won’t need to end their service early? Life happens.

And even if you cancel after those first 90 days, you’ll still owe a hefty amount: $400 minus $15 for each month you’ve kept your service. Ugh.

Customer service

HughesNet’s customer service is lackluster—just like every other internet provider

Read a HughesNet review or two and you’ll find some unhappy campers.

Sadly, the same is true for pretty much every internet service provider (ISP). In the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report, the industry average was 65 out of 100.2

That’s a D grade.

HughesNet itself didn’t receive a rating, but instead was rated in the category of “All Others” by the ACSI. Take that as you will—we think there’s a good chance HughesNet has work to do on the customer service front.

HughesNet customer service rating
Rating
HughesNet score
ACSI 2020–202162 out of 100 ("All Others")

If you need to contact HughesNet customer support, you’ve got a few options:

If you’re stuck with no other solution but to call HughesNet, our customer service tips will help keep you cool as a cucumber.

Money
Need to cut your internet expenses?

If your HughesNet bill is getting out of hand, check out these eight tips on how to lower your internet bill.

Recap: Is HughesNet high-speed satellite internet good?

HughesNet is a good pick if you don’t need lots of speed and want to avoid price hikes

Satellite internet is never mind-blowing, but HughesNet offers consistent speeds across the country. Plus, it won’t throw any mid-contract price gotchas your way.

If you live in an area where satellite internet is your only option and price is more important to you than download speed, HughesNet is a great choice. Otherwise, we think Viasat’s speeds make it the better pick.

  • Prices and plans: HughesNet scores points in our books for transparent plans and pricing. You’ll pay a higher price for more data, and can always pay for extra data tokens too.
  • Speed: We wish HughesNet offered more than one download speed of 25 Mbps. Still, this is enough speed to take care of business online, and even stream a little too.
  • Contracts, equipment, and fees: HughesNet plans come with a two-year contract, which is pretty standard. And depending on how long you plan to keep your service, it may be worth forking over the money to buy your HughesNet equipment.
  • Customer service: No internet provider earns a gold medal for customer service. We’d love to see HughesNet and others improve.
3 out of 5 stars
3
Upload speeds
3 Mbps
Data cap
1050 GB
Starting from
$59.99
/mo
Data effective 11/10/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
See all rural internet options near you.

Sources

  1. HughesNet Community, “Token Prices . . . ?
  2. American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), “ACSI Telecommunications Report 2020–2021,” June 2021. Accessed December 13, 2021.
Catherine McNally
Written by
Catherine McNally
Catherine has a degree in journalism and an MBA, and has spent the last 10+ years writing everything from Okinawa travel guides to stories on Medium. She’s been online since AOL CDs were a thing and is an unapologetic PC gamer. She believes the internet is a necessity, not a luxury, and writes reviews and guides to help everyone stay connected. You can also find her on Twitter: @CMReviewsIt.

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  • robert wadman

    Just had an eye opener from HughesNet! Due to the covid shelter in place my work as an educator was from my home. My data usage blew out my HughesNet caps and we were forced to add gigabytes. Lo and behold, there ensued a $80 “upgrade” fee that was not found anywhere in their policy, terms of service or internet site. There was no changing their minds about this pirate fee!

    • Jeannifer English

      Same had my service on hold because I was going to be home. It reactivated when it was suppose to. Got my bill today 312.84 cents for a bill that was only suppose to be $175.00. I call them and oh that the reactivation fee. No one said anything about a reactivation fee. My card was suppose to be charged the $18 for the modem every month on my normal billing cycle. Yeah not impressed not to mention their service is crap.

    • Domenic Marotta

      I had the same problem. I got lucky though. Another company installed fiber optic in my area. I got hooked up. No more connectivity problems but Hughes charged me over $300 termination fee. They are the worst of the worst. These people deserve to be put out of business. Thieves and liars.

  • Caroline Noel

    Not sure where to begin in trying to create a picture of the stress and inconvenience this vendor caused. In hindsight, the red flags began when they had to continually place me on hold for new service, then due to technical difficulties had to call me back the next day. The installer was a contractor who texted us after 9 pm to confirm after we, both my husband and I, confirmed via text and telephone call. We received another text from the technician the next morning before 7 am asking for the address as he was only provided the street name. Then he began texting in Spanish? After installing the satellite, he was kept on hold for an hour to close out the installation so we could have service. The service worked for a little while, but a lot slower than we’re used to. Then that night we tried streaming our Netflix and that was not working. We called and spent another hour with a technician trying to troubleshoot the issue with no results. She placed a cancel the service request and told us we’d be receiving a box with which to return the equipment. The disconnect would be effective 8/15. In the meantime, it is on us to have the satellite removed and recycled. The email confirmation for the disconnect provided the wrong telephone number for their customer service?

  • Jessica Moreno

    Hughes net has been a major disappointment. We had to get viastat just because we don’t like the inconsistent quality and low speeds. We pay 150 a month for their 50gb plan and usually use it up in a week. Netflix seems to do ok with it. But AMC, Amazon, showtime and some of my other streaming apps don’t do well with their low speeds. Usually only 6-11mb comes through and it’s inconsistent. I have 4 devises from ATT that I use and tether their hotspot to my streaming devices and get better WiFi signal that way than I do from Hughes net. Imagine that! And I live in a rural area and my cell phone works better than horrible Hughes net. I will cancel once the two year contract is up. They suck!

  • STEVE PAJEK

    Buyer beware! Hughes Net is horrible to deal with. They will promise you one thing and you’ll get another. I am still disputing it on my credit card after six months. Keep all documentation and record your conversations. The people are pathological liars just to sell you a service.

  • chris ziomek

    I had HughesNet for two years and it was the worst experience of my life. Just google the yelp reviews. This reviewer does not know what she is talking about. HughesNet is a zero star company

  • Elise

    By far the WORST internet service I have ever experienced. I would not recommend this to anyone!! Do your research in full before committing to this company.