Satellite Internet Providers – Top Ten

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Developing a list of the top ten satellite Internet providers is not something that can be done, because there are currently only four such companies with this service. That may be changing, since a New York City-based company, The Media Development Investment Fund, is working on providing what they have dubbed “Outernet” which will provide a wireless connection to the Web available to everyone in the world – for free! Whether this will actually happen and whether it will be useful in terms of speed. Some naysayers are saying this will only be a one-way transmission and will therefore be useless, but time will tell and it isn’t that far in the future. They are hoping to have their miniature satellites, known as “cubesats” into orbit and functional as soon as June 2015. In the meantime, check out the following four options for satellite Internet. Any plan information and pricing given is as of the date of this review and may have changed. They are listed in order of their Alexa traffic count rating.


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1. dishNET:

Global Alexa Rating: 6,267

dishNET Satellite was specifically designed for under-served locations without access to high-speed Internet. If you live in rural areas or even recently constructed home developments, dishNET Satellite provides Internet access that is up to 150 times faster than dial-up access. It is not a good solution if you have other high-speed options available, because as a satellite-based service, dishNET Satellite has monthly data allowance limits which are much lower than cable and fiber-based Internet providers. Additionally, with satellite-based systems signal latency (delay) occurs, which may negatively affect some activities such as real-time gaming and VoIP. There is no charge for exceeding your monthly data allowance. However, when you reach your cap your speed will drop to approximately 128 Kbps. At the start of the next billing cycle, you will be returned to full speed. You can purchase additional data or upgrade your package at any time if you find your data allowance to be insufficient. It requires an additional dish from the one used for video service because the services come from different satellites. They offer three different Satellite Internet Packages: 5GB, 5mbps download speed for $39.99/month if bundled with DISH TV, 10GB, 10 mbps download speed for $49.99/month bundled and 15GB, 10 mbps download speed for $69.99/month bundled. Non-bundled prices are $10/month higher. There is a handy package selector tool to check your usage to find the package suitable for your needs. Most users will find they need the largest plan, especially if they spend more than 12 hours a week on social media, more than 8 hours a day web browsing or watch more than 5 HD full length streamed movies per month.


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2. HughesNet Gen4:

Global Alexa Rating: 63,082

HughesNet is rural broadband that’s available to you no matter where you live in the United States, even where cable and DSL don’t reach. With HughesNet Gen4 satellite Internet, you’ll be able to watch video clips, download music, shop, chat, and learn – all faster than ever. Use it with both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. After you select the right high-speed satellite Internet plan for you, a certified HughesNet installer will contact you to schedule your installation. With more than 2.5 million systems installed in more than 100 countries, Hughes has a proven track record of performance. As the pioneers in satellite Internet, they have more than 40 years of proven experience and innovation in satellite communications. Headquartered outside Washington, D.C., in Germantown, Maryland, USA, Hughes operates sales and support offices worldwide, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation (NASDAQ: SATS), a premier global provider of satellite operations and digital TV solutions. They offer 10, 20, 30 and 40GB/month allowance plans (allowance includes anytime downloads as well as bonus bytes) at download speeds ranging from 5Mbps to 15Mbmps as well as business plans with monthly data allowances up to 45GB. All plans require a 24-month commitment and come with free standard installation at the current time on lease orders.

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3. Exede:

Global Alexa Rating: 183,399

Exede is a super-fast Internet service delivered via satellite, Exede delivers great speeds and is available virtually anywhere. Get 12 Mbps download speed on all their Exede12 plans (even on their entry-level plan)! Enjoy 3 Mbps upload speed on all Exede12 plans. Quickly send files, share photos, video-chat with Skype!™ Exede12 is available in most areas. In other areas, our Exede5 service delivers 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds). They are currently offering 12 free months of anti-virus software ($2.99/month after the first year), up to 20% off TurboTax, free setup including standard installation and a 3-year price lock guarantee.  To find out the plans and pricing in your area, simply enter your ZIP code. Besides having 3 classic plans ranging from 10GB to 25GB all with late night free zone unmetered access to everything from midnight to 5 a.m., they also have an Evolution plan that offers unlimited email and web page access and 5GB for everything else with a 3 am to 8 am early bird free zone. All plans require a 24-month commitments and a lease fee of either $9.99/month or $199.99 prepaid for the 24-months. In October, 2011, they launched ViaSat-1, the most powerful communications satellite in the world. “During peak periods, 90 percent of (Exede) consumers received 140 percent or better of the advertised speed of 12 Mbps.” -FCC 2013 Measuring Broadband America report.


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4. StarBand:

Global Alexa Rating: 1,032,238

StarBand was the first to market with a two–way satellite broadband service for home users in 2000, and its expanded product line today serves a broad customer base. In 2005, StarBand was merged into the operations of Spacenet Inc., a leading provider of high-performance networking solutions for business, government and small business customers. Spacenet provides StarBand two-way, always-on, high-speed satellite Internet service to customers throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and several Caribbean and Central American countries. StarBand is a two–way, always–on, high–speed satellite Internet service that is available nationwide, and it is great for customers seeking dramatically faster download speeds than dial-up. StarBand offers several satellite broadband plans – Nova 500, Nova 1000 and Nova 1500 – with ISP services and value-added features including email accounts, web storage space, spam and virus filtering, access to the StarBand Member Portal, and 24×7 online support. Whether you need a basic Internet service for emailing friends and family, or a more robust Internet service to support everyday business activities, StarBand satellite Internet has you covered. There is a complete table showing the three plans along with pricing and features.

You may also have heard of WildBlue dealers but these are independent distributors of Exede. As you can see satellite Internet is now a viable option for millions of customers and is far more affordable than it used to be. They are intended and designed for those who cannot get other types of Internet service offering another option over dial-up. Since there is a long commitment with these plans, be sure to thoroughly evaluate them to be sure the terms and conditions are acceptable to you. Your other option is to wait a bit and see if the global Wi-Fi option pans out.


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