HughesNet is one of the two popular satellite internet providers in the USA and people are wondering if they are still good in 2021.
In fact, with the new speed increase in 2021 they may have surpassed Viasat with more than 1.4 million active subscribers, it is larger than most residential internet provider’s in the country thanks to satellite internet accessibility in even the remotest of areas across the country.
Of course, satellite internet also has its own downsides and upsides but the HughesNet experience varies for each subscriber, as is in the case of satellite internet. How does HughesNet fare as a satellite subscriber and as an ISP in the USA?
Read on to know more.
HughesNet offers coast-to-coast satellite services in the USA across all 50 states with better coverage in California, Texas, and New York. You’d be living on a desolate island or a dense forest but as long as you have a clear view of the southern sky, HughesNet will deliver satellite internet to you.
This includes even the most contiguous areas in the United States, including rural and semi-urban areas where fiber or DSL cannot reach.
If you wish to see it for yourself, you can go to their website and check what internet packages does HughesNet offer in your area.
HughesNet has recently rolled out its HughesNet Gen5 satellite internet that promises faster speeds, better experience, and comes with built-in Wi-Fi modem Wi-Fi standards and technology (dual-band 802.11ac).
Prices, Plans, and Internet Speeds
HughesNet has adapted to the good-old one-size-fits-all approach for data caps. Since the average download and upload speeds remain the same across different packages, packages differ in terms of the data caps they offer i.e. higher the pricing, more the data cap.
Briefly, HughesNet’s residential plans fall into one of the following categories:
- The 10 GB internet plan for $59.99/month suitable for a single user or a couple
- The 20 GB internet plan for $69.99/month suitable for 3-4 people or a small family
- The 30 GB internet plan for $99.99/month suitable for a connected household with multiple devices and heavy data consumption needs
- The 50 GB internet plan for $149.99/month for a large family needing copious amounts of data all the time
The following is applicable for each of the above plans:
- 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speed on the above-mentioned data caps.
- If you exceed your plan’s data cap, HughesNet doesn’t pause your services till the plan replenishes nor does it charge you extra. Instead, it simply reduces the data speeds to 1-3 Mbps.
- Bonus Zone: The golden hours from 2 am to 8 pm is HughesNet’s “Bonus Zone” when traffic congestion is less. In these off-peak hours, you can enjoy 50 GB of additional data per month.
- HughesNet’s video data saver saves data in the background as you’re streaming videos to deliver a standard definition video quality. This lets you stream 3 times more videos in standard definition than in HD. You can choose to opt-out of the video data saver option temporarily or permanently by contacting the HughesNet customer service.
- HughesNet uses the Fair Access Policy to distribute data to its subscribers, much like how cell phone data distribution works, to allow each user to access equal internet bandwidth without compromising on quality for anyone.
Additionally, HughesNet also offers bundle plans that let you bundle internet and voice services.
HughesNet has a separate category of services to cater to its commercial clients.
Service Fees, Equipment Fees, Other Fees and Contracts
HughesNet requires a satellite transmitter and a modem to set up its internet. You can either lease this equipment which you would need to return or choose to purchase them. For leasing, you pay $99 + $ 14.99/month. HughesNet has also provided free standard installation for a limited period if you chose to lease out their equipment.
However, if you’re planning to stay on board for a longer period, you can purchase the equipment for $499.98. This is a one-time cost that includes equipment and standard installation charges.
HughesNet also comes with a 24-month service commitment. If you cancel the subscription within 90 days after the installation, you’re liable to pay $400. Thereafter, the amount gets reduced by $15 for each month left on your subscription. If you’re lucky enough to cancel before installation, the full amount you’ve paid at the time of the order will be returned to you.
If you’ve leased their equipment, you’re also liable to return them in good condition within 45 days of cancellation or pay a $300 unreturned equipment fee, which roughly translates to $100 for the modem and power supply and $200 for the transmitter.
Along with satellite internet, HughesNet also delivers HughesNet Voice, a home phone service over your satellite internet. HughesNet Voice uses VoIP to deliver seamless calling services along with features such as caller ID, call waiting, and call forwarding.
HughesNet enables HughesNet Voice by installing an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA) during installation.
- Coast-to-Coast Availability – HughesNet services almost all areas in the United States as long as you have a clear view of the southern sky. Hence, if you’re living somewhere where neither fiber nor DSL can help you, HughesNet’s satellite internet comes to your rescue.
- No Extra Charges After Surpassing Data Caps – HughesNet’s internet plans are priced based on data caps. Once your usage surpassed the data caps, HughesNet simply reduces your data speeds instead of charging you extra or cutting off your data supply. Hence, you’re never cut-off from the internet except in case of internet outages.
- Built-in Wi-Fi with HughesNet Gen5 Internet – The HughesNet Gen5 modem comes with a built-in Wi-Fi so that you’re seamlessly connected to super-fast internet all over your premises.
- 24-month Service Contract – There is a whopping 24-month service contract with a large early termination charge associated with it in HughesNet plans.
- Comparatively Low and Fixed Internet Speeds – The internet speed for HughesNet remains fixed across all its plans: 25 Mbps. Even if you’re paying more, you’ll get a higher data cap and not increased data speeds as is with other ISPs.
- High-End Internet Usage Not Supported – Since satellite internet relies on latency, gaming, 4K HDTV viewing, video conferences, and other real-time experiences lag with HughesNet.
- Limited Customer-Service Options – There are limited ways in which you can contact the HughesNet customer service reps. If they don’t answer their calls, you’re left stranded with broken internet till they reply to your query either on social media or let you call them again.
Does HughesNet service my region?
HughesNet services almost all regions in the United States. For a complete list of plans applicable to your area, you can do an address-based search on their website.
How do I track my HughesNet data usage?
You can download the HughesNet App on your iOS or Android device to track your data usage. Since HughesNet plans come with limited data caps, it is essential you do this.
How do I contact HughesNet customer support?
There is only one way to reach out to HughesNet customer support: to call on 844-737-2700. However, you get a satisfactory reply on this number most of the time so it’s not an issue.
As grime as the prospects of satellite-internet may seem, HughesNet is both a boon and a bane to its subscribers. If you’re living in a rural area, even HughesNet’s decent prospects will fill you up with sheer delight. If you’re living somewhere where you can get better services, you might want to.
All in all, with its competitive pricing and ubiquitous serviceability, HughesNet is a pretty decent catch for anyone struggling to find a decent ISP in their area.