Satellite Internet Service Providers
If you live in a remote area where dsl or cable is unavailable, and can get a clear line to the southern sky from your home, then satellite internet is the answer for you. There are 4 major satellite internet service providers that can supply you with a high-speed internet connection.
The average dial-up speed is 56 Kbps (that’s kilobytes per second, kilo is a thousand), and with satellite internet you can get up to 5.0 Mbps (that’s megabytes per second, mega is a million), although most residential users get the plans which feature speeds up to 1.0 Mbps, which is similar to the speed of a typical dsl or cable connection.
The four major satellite internet service providers in the U.S. are Hughesnet.com, WildBue, Starband and Skyway. The plans they offer have their similarities, but there are definite differences between them as llustrated below – keep in mind that although we do our best to closely monitor changes, these prices and plans are always subject to change – refer to the company websites for confirmation of rates and details as well as specials and rebates.
Hughesnet.com – Is the largest and oldest of all satellite internet service providers by far, having been in business for over 30 years, and here is their basic offering: Their plans start at $59.99 per month for speeds up to 1.0 Mbps, plus a fee for the equipment. With Hughes, you will have the option of purchasing or leasing the equipment (dish, etc.). The monthly fee for the equipment lease is currently $9.99, and to purchase the equipment is currently $299.00 after a $100.00 rebate. The installation is free, but for the lease plan it will cost $99.00 up front to get started, and all of their plans require a 24-month commitment. Hughesnet often runs specials where there is no upfront cost to get started, or they sometimes offer a month free. One big plus point about Hughesnet is their 30-day satisfaction guarantee. None of the other companies offer this.
WildBlue – The number 2 satellite internet service provider offers plans starting at 512 Kbps for $39.95/month for the first year and $49.95 for the second – like Hughesnet they require a 2-year commitment. The setup fee is currently $99.95, and they also have a $29.95 shipping fee, but installation is free. Their 1.0 Mbps plan is $54.95/month for 12 months and then $69.95 for the next 12 months. Unlike Hughesnet, they do not offer an equipment purchase option, nor do they have a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, but WildBlue does offer a more affordable alternative if 512 Kbps will do the job for you.
Starband – Starband has 3 different satellite internet plans; the first is for speeds up to 512 Kbps and is $49.99/month for a 2-year contract or $59.99/month for a 1-year commitment. You have to purchase the equipment, which is $299.99. Also, you cannot self-install, you’ll have to contact one of their designated installers to get a quote. They have a plan for speeds up to 1 Mbps for $69.99/month (2-year contract) or $79.99/month (1-year contract) and a plan for up to 1.5 Mbps for $99.99/month (2 years) or $109.99 (1 year).
Skyway – Skyway boasts a one-way satellite system as opposed to the other three providers’ 2-way system which makes it less susceptible to rain-fade and equipment malfunction. They use a system which utilizes your phone line – because of this they uniquely offer nationwide dial-up service in their plans. You can find out more about how this works at their site or by calling them. Skyway is strictly residential, not business, and their plans start at $29.95 per month for download speeds up to 256 Kbps, and the plans work their way up to $79/month for up to 1.5 Mbps. They advertise themselves as the most affordable rural internet, and do-it-yourselfers can install the equipment themselves and save on that as well. The equipment costs $149 plus shipping, and there’s a $35.00 activation fee. There is no 30-day satisfaction guarantee like Hughesnet offers; however Skyway only requires a one-year contract.
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