There are five top satellite internet providers. Each of them have their own strengths and weaknesses. We’ve attempted to provide you with a brief overview of their programs while highlighting some of the differences between them.
- HughesNet – This company provides the fastest satellite internet plans available, from 1Mbps to 5Mbps. Their plans can also be purchased easily through Walmart. Their fair access policy is one of the more restrictive, however, since it is a rolling 24 hour plan with fairly low limits and knocks a user down to 56k of speed during their recovery period. HughesNet does provide a 3 hour free download period daily from 3 to 6am, to help offset their limitations. Equipment can be purchased or leased, depending on your preference.
- Wildblue – If you are receiving your satellite internet service through the Dish Network or DirectTV, then Wildblue is your actual internet provider. TV Satellite services are actually resellers for the Wildblue satellite internet service. They provide three different internet plans with download speeds ranging from 512 kbps to 1.5 mbps. Their fair access policy is a rolling 30 day plan, rather than the 24 plan the Hughesnet uses and has a 128k recovery speed. Wildblue also does not provide any free download periods. They provide 5 to 10 email accounts, depending on which plan you choose, and they do provide free installation of their equipment which is provided on a leased basis only.
- Skyway Internet – This satellite ISP provides the lowest rates of the five providers and provides plans from 256 kbps to 1.5 mbps. Part of the reason that Skyway can offer the lower rates is that it provides one-way satellite connection, instead of the two-way connection provided by the other companies. This means that you use a dialup connection to connect to your ISP, which then provides the download via satellite. Skyway provides the rolling 30 day fair access policy, similar to Wildblue, except that it has a much lower cap on usage. Skyway also is meant to be installed by the user, saving them installation fees.
- Starband Internet – There are three service plans offered with Starband, ranging from 512 kbps to 1.5 mbps. In Starband’s Reasonable Use Policy, it let’s consumers know that it does not support the use of VOIP services such as Vonage and Skype and has a thorough listing of its expectations for ‘reasonable use’. This policy leads into their fair access policy which is a rolling 7 day plan which has fairly low limits, however, it does have free download hours from midnight to 6 a.m. each day.
- Skycasters – This provider advertises itself as a satellite internet provider for businesses only and its plans reflect this with their speeds and limits. They match or exceed HughesNet’s download speeds, ranging from 1Mbps to 6 Mbps but provide high limits on their rolling 30 day fair access policies. Their policies also provide the option of an ‘unlimited’ threshold, which would eliminate any speed decreasing with overages and provide a surcharge for the overages instead. This provider boasts its versatility in meeting the needs of business without the normal limitations found in a satellite internet provider.