A high-speed and affordable internet connection is essential to obtain economic and social opportunities. But to this day, internet infrastructure in the US is unequally distributed. This leads to an uncountable number of people, especially in remote and rural areas, with inadequate or sometimes no internet options.

Satellite internet plays a pivotal role in providing internet access to rural America, and HughesNet is a strong contender for its consistent internet service. In this HughesNet review, we’ll dig into every single detail, like internet plans, speed, pricing, bundles, and more, to accentuate why this provider is America’s number 1 choice for satellite internet.  

HughesNet Satellite Internet Review

HughesNet is a reliable satellite internet provider due to consistent speeds and transparency. Unlike other satellite internet providers, whose download speeds vary from location to location, HughesNet offers the same internet speed at every location. With nationwide coverage, HughesNet serves approximately 1.5 million customers in areas where cable and DSL services are unreachable.

Additionally, experts have also praised its service on different occasions. A report by Federal Communications Commission in 2018 commended HughesNet for faring the best among all providers for delivering the promised download speed at every location. Furthermore, US News has also ranked HughesNet as the number 1 provider in their rankings of best satellite internet service providers and the best internet providers in rural areas in 2022.

HughesNet might not deliver comparable service to wired internet providers, but it offers connectivity solutions to many people with consistent speed, built-in Wi-Fi, and soft data limits. HughesNet’s simple internet plans allow you to perform basic online activities like chat, and email, use various social media sites, and more.

Pros and Cons of HughesNet Internet

Pros:

  • Nationwide availability
  • Transparent plans and pricing
  • Consistent internet speed
  • Bous Zone

Cons:

  • Requires 2-year contract
  • Expensive equipment
  • Pricier plans
  • Slower speed

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HughesNet Internet Plans Review

Choosing a suitable internet plan can be tricky if internet providers bombard you with an array of options. HughesNet, however, keeps things simple by offering multiple HughesNet internet plans with the same speed but different data limits.

Since this year, the company has increased the monthly data limits and has raised the plans’ prices. The increase in data allowances is not much, but they are a relief for homes struggling to stay under the set limits every month.

Additionally, these internet plans come with varying introductory rates depending on your location. As of now, HughesNet allows new customers to save up to $20 on its first three plans and $50 on its 100 GB plan for the first half year. When it comes to providing better value, HughesNet is slightly more affordable than the other satellite internet provider, Viasat. However, its monthly data limits and speed are lower. You get up to 100 GB of data with HughesNet compared to 300 GB with Viasat internet plans.

The best thing about HughesNet is its honesty about its pricing. Likewise, the steady balance in download speed and performance also sets it apart from others. HughesNet’s current internet plans are as follows:

PlansPriceDiscounted Price(Ending on 9/28/22)Internet SpeedData CapsContact HughesNet
HughesNet Gen5$64.99/month$44.99/month25 Mbps15 GBCall Now
HughesNet Gen5$74.99/month$54.99/month25 Mbps30 GBCall Now
HughesNet Gen5$89.99/month$69.99/month25 Mbps50 GBCall Now
HughesNet Gen5$149.99/month$99.99/month25 Mbps100 GBCall Now

HughesNet Gen 5 Review

HughesNet offers various plans with the same name and a consistent speed of 25 Mbps. The only difference is the monthly data limit, and the prices vary according to them. The more data you choose, the higher the prices you pay. HughesNet is currently offering its plans at a discounted rate, allowing you to save $20 to $50 depending on the chosen plan for the first six months.

Here is a breakdown of all the plans based on these data caps.

HughesNet Gen 5 with 15 GB of Data

This Gen 5 plan, which usually starts at $64.99 a month, includes 15 GB of data, which is not a lot. Therefore, it is only suitable for a single user or customers with basic internet needs like email, chatting, and web browsing. You can currently get this plan for $44.99. With this plan you can do one of the following activities:

  • Listen to 208 hours of audio
  • Watch 21 hours of videos
  • Watch 6 hours’ worth of HD videos
  • Browse a social media website for 96 hours
  • Attend 9 hours of Zoom meetings

HughesNet Gen 5 with 30 GB of Data

The next plan on the list costs $74.99 a month and comes with 30 GB of monthly data. HughesNet is currently offering this plan for $54.99. This Gen 5 plan is excellent for a small family with moderate internet activities like online shopping, streaming music, and using social media. This plan has sufficient data to support one of these activities each month:

  • Listen to 416 hours of audio
  • Watch 43 hours of videos
  • Watch 12 hours of HD videos
  • Browse a social media website for 192 hours
  • Take part in 19 hours of Zoom meetings

HughesNet Gen 5 with 50 GB of Data

This plan with 50 GB of monthly data usually starts at $89.99 a month, but currently, you can obtain it for $69.99. This Gen 5 plan is ideal for customers living in average households with slightly heavy data requirements like sharing large files, watching videos, and connecting various devices. This plan can support one of these activities.

  • Listen to 624 hours of audio
  • Watch 62 hours of videos
  • Watch 18 hours of HD videos
  • Browse a social media website for 288 hours
  • Take part in 28 hours of Zoom meetings

HughesNet Gen 5 with 100 GB of Data

This Gen 5 plan from HughesNet offers 100 GB of monthly data for $149.99 a month. HughesNet is presently offering a $50 discount on this plan. It is appropriate for customers who enjoy data-heavy activities like watching videos frequently and uploading large files. You can perform one of these activities each month with this plan. 

  • Listen to 1,042 hours of audio
  • Watch 107 hours of videos
  • Watch 30 hours of HD videos
  • Browse a social media website for 481 hours
  • Take part in 47 hours of Zoom meetings

HughesNet Bundles

Besides delivering a reliable home internet service to rural America, HughesNet also offers an excellent home phone service, HughesNet Voice. This VoIP service provides unlimited local and long-distance calling throughout the US and Canada. HughesNet Voice starts at $19.99 a month and comes with numerous home phone features like enhanced voicemail, Caller ID, call forwarding, and waiting.

Unfortunately, HughesNet does not offer a satellite TV service and you’ll have to go for a separate TV provider. However, you can enjoy internet access while staying in touch with your loved ones through HughesNet home internet and Voice bundles. The provider facilitates its customers by giving them a choice to combine any internet plan with their home phone service.

BundlesPriceData CapsHughesNet VoiceContact HughesNet
HughesNet Gen5 + HughesNet Voice$84.98/month15 GBUnlimited local & long-distance callingCall Now
HughesNet Gen5 + HughesNet Voice$94.98/month30 GBUnlimited local & long-distance callingCall Now
HughesNet Gen5 + HughesNet Voice$109.98/month50 GBUnlimited local & long-distance callingCall Now
HughesNet Gen5 + HughesNet Voice$169.98/month100 GBUnlimited local &long-distance callingCall Now

Data Caps

Data caps are an unavoidable part of satellite internet. Hence, it is usually not recommended for data-consuming activities and applications like VPNs. HughesNet, on the other hand, enforces softer data limits ranging from 15 GB to 100 GB, which means it does not cut down your service once you exceed the set data threshold.

Nonetheless, you’ll still face throttled speeds to 1 to 3 Mbps for the remainder of the month. Therefore, it is crucial to carefully consider your data usage before choosing an internet plan instead of going for the cheapest option. In case, you still exceed your data limit and don’t want to wait for the new billing cycle to get the actual speed back, you can purchase these data tokens.

Data TokenPrice
3 GB$9
5 GB$15
10 GB$30
25 GB$75

Additional Costs

HughesNet is very straightforward about its service, but there are a few elements in its monthly bill that you should understand before choosing this provider.

Equipment Fee

HughesNet does not allow you to use your own modem with its Gen 5 plans. Instead, it charges a monthly equipment rental fee of $15. While this option may seem feasible at first, you can avoid this monthly fee altogether by purchasing the equipment for an upfront $450. This one-time fee is a hefty cost to produce at once, even though it includes the standard installation charges. 

Therefore, consider your options carefully before making your decision. A monthly equipment rental fee of $15 will amount to $360 in 2 years, $90 less than the one-time purchase fee. However, keep in mind that this purchase price includes your installation fee of $99. Hence, it is a less expensive option in the long run.

Equipment rentalEquipment purchase
$15/month$450 (includes the one-time standard installation cost)

Installation Fee

Just like its rival Viasat, HughesNet does not offer a self-installation option. Instead, it permits installation by a professional for a one-time fee of $99. This standard installation includes a technician visiting your house to mount HughesNet’s satellite dish on your roof and set up its modem.

Although HughesNet uses third-party contractors to install your equipment. The technicians are skilled, and they can mount your dish at the best angle and height to catch powerful signals.

Professional InstallationSelf-InstallationFree Installation
$99UnavailableTo new lease subscribers only

Early Termination Fee

All HughesNet plans come with a 2-year contract. If you cancel that contract within 90 days of service, you’ll have to pay a hefty early termination fee of $400. After the first three months, the fee decreases by $15 each month, which means you would still incur an early termination fee of $115 if you breach your contract in the second last month.

HughesNet Bonus Zone

Data caps are a pain area for many customers. In addition to softer data limits, HughesNet provides a Bonus Zone to all customers irrespective of the chosen plan. HughesNet Bonus Zone is a time between 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. when users can access additional 50 GB of data, allowing them to extend their monthly data allowance.

Therefore, during the HughesNet bonus zone, you can conduct heavy activities like scheduling system updates or downloading large files or your favorite movies without worrying about using your monthly data allowance. These off-peak hours are also a great solution to slow internet as they help free up bandwidth during rush hours. This allows all customers to enjoy high-speed internet throughout the day.

HughesNet Availability

Availability is often a prominent issue with many wired internet providers due to unequal distribution of infrastructure and the expensive cost of laying down a new one. Satellite internet is free of these limitations since it relies on a powerful satellite in space to transmit data. Hence, you can even find it in areas where other broadband services are unreachable. But since the satellite in space is 22,000 miles from the earth’s surface, it requires a clear view of your dish at home for proper communication.

HughesNet is a popular choice for the rural population since it is available across all 50 states, including Hawaii and Alaska, and has a better record of outages. Besides America, you can also find this provider in Latin American countries like Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Mexico, and Brazil. The service mainly depends on an unobstructed view of the sky, which could be a problem if you live around all trees, buildings, or mountains.

HughesNet Customer Service Review

Customer service is critical in your relationship with your ISP. Your connection with an ISP goes beyond the installation process. You could face confusion about billing, require technical support, upgrades, and so on. Therefore, choosing the best internet provider with excellent and responsive customer service is crucial. Unfortunately, customer service is a grey area for many internet service providers.

Like any other ISP, HughesNet’s customer service leaves much room for improvement. Even though ACSI does not cover HughesNet individually, you can gauge its customer service by considering the “All others” score in their report. This category ranks one point above the industry average of 64 this year.

On the other hand, last year’s J.D. Power study reflected a below-average performance of HughesNet as this provider only scored 578 out of 1000 in the Southern region. This score was not only 42 points less than HughesNet’s previous score but also the lowest score of an ISP in that study. 

HughesNet Extras and Special Offers

Besides HughesNet Bonus Zone, they offer additional features and services to further tempt the customers. Here is an overview of some of them.

Data-saving Features

HughesNet optimizes your data usage by employing many data-saving features. For example, it uses built-in SmartTechnologies to reduce the load time of your web pages while browsing. Additionally, it also offers a video data saver so you can stream more videos with less data usage and aromatically adjusts the data rates for these videos.

Built-in Wi-Fi

Every HughesNet Gen 5 plan comes with a modem with built-in Wi-Fi, allowing you to connect your wireless devices efficiently. This modem is dual-band and features the latest technology and Wi-Fi standards; 802.11ac. It offers secure and fast connectivity.

Affordable Connectivity Program:

Affordability also plays a role in broadening the digital divide. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford expensive broadband services, especially in rural areas. HughesNet takes part in the Affordable Connectivity Program by FCC to support low-income families. The program offers a $30 discount to eligible households and is available to all HughesNet customers facing financial problems.

Is HughesNet Good For Gaming?

HughesNet is very honest about its service. The provider claims that its plans are not suitable for gaming. As most online games require fast actions and high internet speed, a laggy internet can render all your gaming skills useless.

Satellite internet is prone to interruptions and has very high latency rates due to the vast distance between your dish and the satellite in space. This is why many gamers avoid this connection and prefer wired internet connections. Among all the internet options, fiber optic is usually the best internet for gaming due to lighting fast speeds and extremely low latency.

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HughesNet vs Other Competitors

HughesNet is one of the few providers with nationwide coverage but it usually serves the rural population. Let’s explore HughesNet vs Viasat to see how these two satellite internet providers stack up against each other:

Viasat and HughesNet are longtime rivals with similar coverage areas and connection types. They both offer internet plans with data caps and compel their customers to sign a 2-year contract. Since they both use the same connection type, they often have the same problems, like high latency and vulnerability to bad weather. So, what sets them apart? Viasat gives you variety in internet speeds and has a much more extensive range of monthly data allowances. However, its internet speeds are inconsistent and fall as low as 12 Mbps in some areas. In contrast, experts laud HughesNet for its consistency and high-quality performance.

Pros of HughesNetPros of Viasat
Simple plans with no extreme price hikesVariety of speeds
Affordable compared to ViasatHigher monthly data allowances
Cons of HughesNetCons of Viasat
Only one speed with every planExtreme price hike after three months
Lower data limitsNo option to purchase more data for unlimited plans

Conclusion

HughesNet is considered the best internet provider for the rural areas, keeping them connected with simple plans and consistent speed. Additionally, its commitment to providing transparency and delivering the same service in every location makes it the most reliable internet option. Our HughesNet review has included every detail about this provider, and we hope this guide can help you pick the most suitable plan.

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