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Originally Posted On: https://www.highspeedoptions.com/resources/insights/viasat-vs-starlink
Are you in a rural area and struggling to pick the best satellite internet provider for your home? While options are limited, there are a few providers worth checking out. You’ve probably heard of Viasat, an established ISP with availability virtually anywhere in the US. However, Starlink, a new satellite company currently in beta testing, is also making waves in the internet arena.
In this comparison, we look at Viasat and Starlink internet plans and perks to help you decide which one is right for you. Before jumping in, be sure to check that both providers are available in your area by using our zip code search tool below.
What’s In This Comparison
- Internet Plans
- Internet Features
- Cheapest Internet Plan
- Comparing Availability
- Viasat & Starlink Recap
We’ve done the research on everything Viasat and Starlink have to offer, so you can quickly see which provider checks off the boxes for you. To start, here are all the internet plans currently offered by both. Since Starlink only recently rolled out its beta testing, users are limited to just a single plan.
|Viasat Internet Plans||Download Speed Up To*||Staring Price*|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||12 Mbps||$49.99/mo.|
|Unlimited Silver 25||25 Mbps||$69.99/mo.|
|Unlimited Silver 50||50 Mbps||$99.99/mo.|
|Unlimited Silver 100||100 Mbps||$149.99/mo.|
|Starlink Internet Plan||Download Speed Up To*||Staring Price*|
|Starlink Beta||150 Mbps||$99.00/mo.|
Viasat offers lower introductory prices that are ideal for budget shoppers, while Starlink offers higher speeds on its single plan. Check out how else these two satellite providers stack up on other internet features below.
Installation & Equipment Fees
Viasat charges a one-time fee of $99 for a professional home installation and equipment rentals cost $10.00 per month. Less attractive is Starlink’s setup. While subscribers don’t have to pay for their self-installation, it’s the only option you get. There are no technicians available to help you in person. The upfront cost of their Starlink Kit is also extremely steep compared to Viasat and others in the market, priced at $499.
Since Starlink is only offering its Beta service to select households in select regions of the US, options are limited. So, we couldn’t find any information on its website hinting at future pricing structures. Right now, they offer one flat rate for satellite internet. Alternatively, Viasat increases the introductory monthly price of its internet plans once by $50.00 after the first three months of service. After that, the price remains fixed for the duration of your service agreement.
Unfortunately, Starlink doesn’t offer any add-ons like internet security or WiFi hotspots. However, Viasat offers two internet security tools: Viasat Shield and Viasat Shield Premium. Viasat Shield is included for free with all internet plans, and Viasat Shield Premium, made in partnership with Bitdefender, is cybersecurity and antivirus protection for home networks and devices. Viasat charges $8.99 per month for Viasat Shield Premium.
Both providers offer unlimited data on their service. However, it looks different in practice for both providers. Starlink is currently in beta testing and claims to have no data caps, yet as it adds more customers, who’s to say what they’ll do when Starlink’s network begins to grow. Viasat states in their plan details that after a certain amount of data usage (which varies per plan), they “may prioritize your data behind other customers during network congestion which will result in slower speed.”
Contracts & Termination Fees
Viasat requires a 24-month service agreement for all internet plans. If you wish to cancel your service before your contract is up, you’ll automatically be charged $15 for each remaining month of your term. In contrast, Starlink does not require contracts, so you can cancel your service at any time. Better yet, they offer a full refund of your hardware payment if you return your Starlink Kit within 30 days of receiving it.
Cheapest Internet Plans
Of the two providers, Viasat offers the cheapest introductory plan. However, Starlink offers faster speeds, which could matter more to you.
|Cheapest Plan||Download Speed Up To*||Start Price*||Data Cap*||Price Hike*|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||12 Mbps||$49.99/mo.||No||Yes|
|Starlink Beta||150 Mbps||$99.00/mo.||No||No|
Usually, you assume satellite internet exists virtually everywhere. But as we mentioned before, Starlink is still a fairly new provider. Currently, they only offer service to select areas in Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Oregon, Montana, Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin, and Vermont. In addition, Starlink needs a wide look angle for its dish to track the satellite as it goes across the sky. This requires a large open space to work, which many households do not have. Customers also have to install their Starlink kit themselves, though, this may change down the line as Starlink becomes more available.
In comparison, Viasat is available virtually anywhere in the contiguous United States. Of course, satellite internet is best for households in rural and underserved areas where grounded internet is harder to develop. Viasat customers do not need as big of an angle look for its dish and offer professional installations, unlike Starlink.
The best way to secure service is first to check availability at your specific address.
Viasat vs Starlink Recap
All in all, it’s pretty clear who the winner is in this lineup. While Starlink offers faster speeds, its service is very limited and inconsistent. Viasat, on the other hand, is a well-established satellite internet provider that offers better plan variety, pricing, and availability. Still, let’s recap on a few aspects that might sway you one way or the other.
Of the two providers, budget shoppers can appreciate the low cost of Viasat internet. Yet, Starlink offers one flat rate with no price hikes, but its steep equipment fee of $499 is a pretty big hurdle for most users.
Starlink internet speed takes the lead in this category simply for its higher bandwidth. Users have raved about its surprisingly low latency and unlimited data that can support streaming and gaming. However, because of its limited availability, Starlink is also known to be pretty inconsistent compared to Viasat. Its rival also offers unlimited data, which does put them on a more even playing field.
This was a dead give-away. Available virtually anywhere in the US, Viasat is the better option. Granted Starlink shows a lot of promise, but it’s far from making a dent in the satellite market, as it’s only available in 11 states.
To find out if you can sign up for Starlink or Viasat, enter your zip code below and get connected today!