Pros / You get 50GB of bandwidth a month with its premium plan.
Cons / Early termination fees are very high.
Verdict / With packages that fit every budget and lifestyle, HughesNet is a great option for satellite internet in rural areas.
HughesNet’s Gen5 satellite internet service 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.
Speed & Performance
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 150Kbps. This isn’t fast enough to watch videos and files will download very slowly.
Like other satellite internet services we reviewed, 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 2 a.m. and 8 a.m., 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.
Account & Contract
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 Gen5 has four different plans, and all of them are 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.
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.
Support & Resources
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 Gen5 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.