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HughesNet Review 2020

HughesNet isn’t the fastest satellite internet, but it is the cheapest. For light internet users, that might be enough.

Inexpensive satellite internet

Price: $59.99–$149.99/mo.
Internet speed: 25 Mbps
Data cap: 10–50 GB

Recommended plans
Best budget option
20 GB
Best performance option
50 GB
Price* Download speeds up to Data cap Details
$69.99/mo. 25 Mbps 20 GB View plans
$149.99/mo. 25 Mbps 50 GB View plans

* Requires 2-yr. contract. Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Is HughesNet good?

Satellite internet service is sometimes the only option for rural customers living on the edge of the grid, and the choices are slim: Viasat and HughesNet. If you’re used to the speed and performance (not to mention the pricing) of fiber, cable, or DSL internet, they’re both not so much “good” as a “good enough” option where nothing else is available.

But what are your ‘net needs? If your internet usage is minimal, HughesNet is the cheaper way to go for emailing, Instagramming, and the occasional YouTube dive. But you’d best keep it at that, as HughesNet’s data caps aren’t much more forgiving than your phone’s wireless data plan.

HughesNet pros and cons

Pros

  • Lower cost than Viasat
  • Simple contracts and pricing

Cons

  • Low data caps
  • One download speed (25 Mbps)

HughesNet internet plans and prices

Plan
10 GB
20 GB
30 GB
50 GB
Price* Download speeds up to Data cap Details
$59.99/mo. 25 Mbps 10 GB View plans
$69.99/mo. 25 Mbps 20 GB View plans
$99.99/mo. 25 Mbps 30 GB View plans
$149.99/mo. 25 Mbps 50 GB View plans

* Requires 2-yr. contract. Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

HughesNet’s download speed remains the same as the prices and data allowances rise—one more exponentially than the other, unfortunately. Why the high price? Well, with satellite internet, data is king. You’ll either pay for more of it or be slowed down in speed (from 25 Mbps to 1–3 Mbps) for going over the limit on a cheaper plan.

You won’t be cut off or charged an overage fee, however—it’s a “soft data limit.” Sounds nicer than “throttled internet,” doesn’t it?

To get around that limit on any HughesNet plan, you can take advantage of HughesNet’s Bonus Zone, which is essentially 50 extra GB of data free between the hours of 2–5 a.m. A good time to get your graveyard shift gaming in.

Of the four plans, we think the 20 GB plan is a better budget option than HughesNet’s cheapest 10 GB one because it’s only $10 more a month and the double amount of data is worth it. For reference, 20 GB of data amounts to around 240 hours of web surfing, or 40 hours of (non-HD) video streaming. Cut that in half for the 10 GB plan and you can see what we mean.

If you feel like splurging, HughesNet’s 50 GB plan will give you a little more headroom on data—but still less than half as much as Viasat’s fattest option, which allows up to 150 GB (and 100 Mbps of download speed). For larger, more internet-hungry households, we’d recommend looking into Viasat.

HughesNet internet plus phone plans and prices

Package
10 GB + HughesNet Voice
20 GB + HughesNet Voice
30 GB + HughesNet Voice
50 GB + HughesNet Voice
Price* Download speeds up to Data cap Phone type Details
$79.94/mo. 25 Mbps 10 GB Digital VoIP View plans
$89.94/mo. 25 Mbps 20 GB Digital VoIP View plans
$119.94/mo. 25 Mbps 30 GB Digital VoIP View plans
$169.94/mo. 25 Mbps 50 GB Digital VoIP View plans

* Requires 2-yr. contract. Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

HughesNet Voice offers unlimited local and long-distance calling in the US and Canada, as well as the usual digital landline phone features like caller ID and voicemail. It’s not exactly a bargain at $19.95 a month—and even less so if you add international calling, which runs an extra $9.95 for a total of $22.95 a month. But, phone calls don’t count against your data allowance, so there’s that.

HughesNet internet equipment

HughesNet internet service comes with a satellite dish and a gateway (a fancy term for a basic combo modem and Wi-Fi router) which require pro installation. Sorry, DIYers.

You have the option to lease the gear at $14.99 a month for the duration of your two-year contract, or buy it outright for $449.99. There’s a $99 activation fee if you go the lease route; if you purchase the equipment, the activation fee is waived.

Neither option saves you much money, but if you’re planning on sticking with HughesNet for longer than the two-year contract, you might as well buy the equipment.

HughesNet deals and promotions

HughesNet isn’t offering any deals or perks at this time, but it does occasionally discount plans for new customers within limited time windows. When in doubt, just ask—most sales reps are willing to throw in something for a new signup.

Final take: Is HughesNet worth it?

Truth bomb: satellite internet isn’t great. Fiber, cable, and DSL are far better options where you can get them; in performance, satellite bests only dial-up (which still exists, BTW).

That said, casual internet users could easily get by with HughesNet’s low download speeds and data caps. Three of its four plans can handle basic internet tasks and light streaming and gaming without much satellite strain.

If you’re anticipating heavier satellite internet usage, however, check out the more expensive Viasat.

Get HughesNet

HughesNet FAQ

Does HughesNet offer unlimited data plans?

HughesNet doesn’t have any plans with unlimited data; the highest data allowance it offers is 50 GB a month.

You can stay on top of what you do get with the HughesNet app (iOS and Android), which tracks your data usage, as well as buy extra data tokens (in 3, 5, 10, or 25 MB increments). Night owls can also enjoy the free 50 GB Bonus Zone between 2–5 a.m.

Is HughesNet good for streaming TV?

Any of HughesNet’s plans will support streaming TV, but only so much of it. One standard-definition movie stream is equal to about 1 GB of data, so you’ll be able to watch more on the 50 GB plan than the 10 GB plan. Make your viewing choices wisely.

Is HughesNet good for gaming?

Due to latency—the time it takes the data to travel into space to a satellite and back—competitive online games over satellite internet with multiple players are usually a laggy nightmare. One-on-one gaming, whether with a person or an algorithm, tends to run more smoothly over satellite internet (but not by much).

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