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HughesNet internet review

HughesNet offers satellite internet with some of the highest speeds, making it the one to beat

HughesNet internet review
(Image: © HughesNet)

Our Verdict

Featuring packages that fit every budget and lifestyle, HughesNet is a great option for satellite internet in rural areas.

For

  • Clear pricing plans
  • Add data as needed
  • No price hikes

Against

  • Data limit capped
  • 25Mbps top speed

HughesNet sits high in our list of the best internet providers overall. This is because it has some of the highest speeds in the industry and is dependable enough that many companies, including EarthLink and DISH, bundle it with their other satellite services. If you live in a rural area and need satellite internet, it’s the best option.

You will get a single speed of 25Mbps across all the plans but the thing that varies is the amount of data you are allotted to use each month. More on the pricing and how that works below.

This is one of the biggest providers of satellite internet in the US so you can expect professional and courteous service with an installation that you don't have to worry about. Just don't expect it to be the cheapest.

HughesNet internet: Plans and pricing

All of HughesNet’s packages give you downstream speeds up to 25Mbps and upstream speeds up to 3Mbps. The latter is standard for satellite internet providers. However, the downstream speeds are pretty generous since many providers cap their plans at 10Mbps. Fast downstream speeds let you do things like browse your favorite websites, download files and even stream media with normal load times.

If you hit your bandwidth limit for the month, HughesNet still lets you connect to the internet but at slower, or throttled, downstream speeds of about 1-3Mbps. This isn’t fast enough to watch HD videos and files will download slowly.

The 10GB plan is $59.99 per month, but often at half price for the first six month. Go for 20GB and you'll pay $69.99 but is often $49.99 for the first six months. The 30GB pan is usually $99.99 but can be grabbed for $79.99 for the first six months. The high-end 50GB plan is usually $149.99 per month but can be $129.99 for the first six months.

HughesNet internet: Features

Like other satellite internet services, HughesNet imposes a monthly data allowance, and the amount depends on the package you select. The basic plan gives you a 10GB allotment of anytime bandwidth, which is a decent amount. HughesNet’s premium plan lets you use up to 50GB a month, which is one of the highest bandwidth limits in the industry. The company gives you an additional 50GB to use during off-peak hours, between 2am and 8am, that don’t count against your plan’s regular allotment.

HughesNet has a download manager that helps you control your bandwidth consumption. You can automatically schedule large downloads to take place during the middle of the night or any other time. Its usage meter also makes it easy to track your bandwidth so you don’t go over your allotted amount and experience throttling. If you are worried you might exceed your data allowance one month and don’t want to work with slower speeds until your next billing cycle, HughesNet allows you to purchase additional data in specified increments.

HughesNet internet: Speeds and performance

Most contracts are for two years of satellite internet service, and if you cancel before the term is up, you have to pay an early termination fee. HughesNet has the steepest fees of all the satellite internet providers we reviewed. If you cancel within the first 90 days, you are charged $400. For each month you use after the first 90 days, the company deducts $15 from that amount. This is a lot more that other services, which only charge between $15 and $17 per month remaining on your contract.

If you travel a lot or have two homes you split your time between, you may want to check out HughesNet’s vacation plan. On this plan, you pay a lower rate when you are away from home for two months or more – you keep the equipment and service but don’t pay the full rate or violate your contract.

HughesNet's four different plans are all available in the lower 48 states. You need to contact the company directly for information about service availability in your area if you live in Alaska or Hawaii. This puts it above the likes of Comcast Xfinity and AT&T Internet, which don't operate in as many states.

The company waves installation fees for new customers but charges a $99 activation fee. You are also required to either purchase or lease the equipment, and leasing costs around $15 per month.

HughesNet offers 24/7 technical support, a customer service website and convenient online account management. The customer portal has a customizable homepage with news, local weather and bookmarks for your favorite websites. You can directly contact representatives via email or telephone.

HughesNet is a great option if you live in an area without access to cable or DSL internet. This satellite internet provider has excellent performance, features and customer support. HughesNet has fast download speeds and high bandwidth, and its service is so good other satellite service providers contract with it to offer satellite internet to their customers.

HughesNet internet: Customer reviews

According to internet specialist broadbandnow customers who have had the service have given it two and a half stars out of five based on 4775 reviews. 

One positive review from Kevin Larue said: "Even the slowest upload/download speeds provided by HughesNet are more than double what we were able to get from Verizon."

A negative review, from Mac, said: "We work from home in the IT field and the service suffices for our needs. Honestly, they are okay as long as you DO NOT need their customer service. We are seriously just using them until someone else better comes along. Their customer service needs to be completely overhauled."

On ConsumerAffairs the customer rating is three stars out of five from 2,795 reviews in the last year. One positive, from Charla of Garfield, GA, said: "This company always gives a 100% when trying to resolve customer's problems. I always receive great customer service! I am always satisfied with the end results. HughesNet has hired the best people in town."

A negative review, from Deborah of Carrollton, GA, said: "We’ve attempted to reach a compromise with Hughes internet service several times. Unfortunately service is lousy and just gets worse after bill is paid then we find we were put on a two year contract but it doesn’t matter as there is no other internet service in our area."

Should you get HughesNet internet?

If you are outside the usual cable internet reach then a satellite option can be a great way to get high-speed internet. HughesNet is the best when it comes to this kind of connectivity; when it comes to delivering a stable connection at a relatively reasonable price.

It could be worth checking if your area has LTE or 5G connectivity as another option as prices there are dropping as speeds get continually better. Verizon Internet, for example, has some excellent 5G plans... and they're only getting better too.