Viasat was formerly WildBlue and recently acquired Exede. Now it provides satellite internet service across all 48 contiguous states. Unlike our top pick for satellite internet providers, Viasat has a wide variety of packages with very different bandwidth and speed options, depending on where you live. This makes it a little tricky to figure out exactly what’s available and how much it costs without contacting Viasat’s sales team.
Viasat has several plans with a wide variety of downstream speeds. The lowest speed in some areas is only 5Mbps, which is fast enough to watch a YouTube video but may be too slow if more than one person is using the internet at the same time. Other areas have plans with speeds between 12Mbps and 30Mbps, which is as fast as, or faster than, traditional DSL and cable internet. These speeds are fast enough to support live streaming, online gaming and fast downloads.
There is a discovery tool on Viasat’s website that helps you find plans available in your area. However, the only way to really know what is offered is to call the company directly.
As with speed, Viasat has several bandwidth options, and most fall in the 12GB to 25GB range; there are a few places the company only offers 10GB plans and other areas where you can purchase premium packages with 50GB of data. Even better, in some places you can buy a plan with unlimited data. However, Viasat slows your downstream speeds during peak times after you reach 150GB each month on the unlimited plan.
As with speed, you need to contact Viasat or one of its local distributors to find out exactly which plans are offered in your area.
When we evaluated Viasat, we entered eight zip codes into the plan finder, including one in California, one in Virginia and one in Massachusetts. The packages and plans varied widely by location, with different download speeds and data caps. This is much different than HughesNet and other satellite internet providers we reviewed, which have the same packages no matter where you live.
If you decide to cancel your satellite internet before the end of your contract, Viasat charges $15 per remaining month. This is the only provider we reviewed that has a three-year, price-locked contract instead a two-year contract – this means you don’t pay more if the price goes up during those three years, but you may have to pay more to terminate your contract early.
Viasat has a hibernation plan for customers who travel or are not a home for several months at a time. You still pay for the service but at a reduced price until you return home. You can also bundle your satellite internet with other services, such as DirecTV, and possibly qualify for a discount.
You can contact Viasat directly by email or telephone 24/7 if you have questions or problems with your internet. There are some other online resources available, such as a FAQs section on the company’s websites. In addition, in some cases, Viasat offers on-site assistance and training.
Viasat is a good satellite internet option because it has decent coverage, comprehensive customer service and a good selection of plans, though plan offerings vary by location – as do prices. In some places, you can sign up for an unlimited data plan, though speed may be throttled once you hit 150GB in one billing cycle.