Looking for a satellite Internet service provider? Want to know which one will give you the best service at the best price? Read on …
Why Satellite Internet?
With high-speed satellite Internet service you can download files in a matter of seconds instead of minutes or hours as with dialup service. And you get an always-on connection, so you don’t have to spend time logging on and waiting to get online.
Another advantage of satellite service is that access is separate from your phone line so you can surf the Internet and talk on the phone at the same time.
There are four major satellite Internet providers in the U.S. – HulghesNet, WildBlue, Skyway, and Starband.
Here’s an overview of their services and features. In order to compare apples to apples, prices are based on plans with 1 Mbps speed.
HughesNet is the largest provider with more than 400,000 subscribers, and they’re the oldest having been in business for more than 30 years. They offer plans with speeds up to 5Mbps. That’s 50 times faster than dialup service. With HughesNet you can either buy or lease their equipment. Their prices start at $59.99 a month for 1.0 Mbps service. Installation is free and they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.
WildBlue is the second largest provider and has been in business for more than 6 years . They provide Internet access with speeds up to 1.5 Mbps – 30 times faster than dialup service. WildBlue uses a spot signal beam so that many areas in the U.S may not be able to receive their service. WildBlue prices start at $69.95 for their 1 Mbps service, and they require a 24-month service commitment. Installation is free and there’s a $99.95 activation fee.
Skyway uses a simple one-way satellite transmission rather than two-way transmission like the other three providers. This makes their service less prone to rain fade. They provide Internet speeds up to 1.5 Mbps, but upload speeds are slow – 256 Kbps – because they use a dialup connection for uploads. Their prices start at $59.95 for a 1 Mbps plan, plus a $25 activation fee. Their equipment package is $49 (after a mail-in rebate), and you can either install the equipment yourself or pay $100 for professional installation.
Founded in 2000, Starband provides service to United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and several Caribbean and Central American countries. Starband’s service starts at $69.99 for their 24-month 1 Mbps service, or $79.99 for their 12-month service, and there’s no activation fee. Upload speeds are up to 128 Kbps. Professional installation is required and costs extra.