HughesNet is one of the biggest satellite internet providers in the United States and offers coverage across all 50 states. HughesNet internet plans are a common internet option for rural customers, thanks to their wide availability outside the range of regular wired internet.
The speed range on HughesNet plans isn’t usually as fast as services like cable or fiber. However, HughesNet plans have steadily been getting faster after the launch of their upgraded “Gen 5” satellite.
HughesNet Internet Plans and Pricing Summary
|Plan name||Monthly start price||Download & Data Threshold|
|HughesNet 10 GB Plan||$60/mo||25 Mbps /10 GB|
|HughesNet 20 GB Plan||$70/mo||25 Mbps /20 GB|
|HughesNet 30 GB Plan||$100/mo||25 Mbps /30 GB|
|HughesNet 50 GB Plan||$150/mo||25 Mbps /50 GB|
HughesNet Internet: Which Plan Is Right for Me?
With traditional cable, DSL, and fiber providers, the primary consideration when shopping for plans is the connection speed. With satellite providers like HughesNet, however, you also have to consider the data caps.
Speaking frankly, HughesNet is not an ideal option for any household that regularly streams video (e.g., Netflix, Hulu, etc.) — especially for HD video. With the more expensive plans, it may be possible to moderately stream music or games online — some customers report their speed is fast enough to load videos within seconds, but you’ll always have to keep an eye on your data cap to avoid going over.
For those who just need a basic internet connection to browse the web and use social media, a low data cap is probably sufficient. General web browsing only consumes around 25 megabytes (MB) of data per hour, and with 1 gigabyte (GB) being equal to 1,000 MB, it’s easy to see that a 10 GB plan could go a long way.
As soon as you start watching videos or other forms of media, however, your needs are going to shoot way up. If you’re planning on gaming regularly or streaming music, going with the highest data cap you can afford is highly recommended. People that only stream a few hours a month or rarely game or download huge files might be able to get away with a lower package, but those data caps will quickly sneak up on you if you’re not careful.
HughesNet Prices and Fees
When shopping for new internet service, it’s important to keep in mind that the advertised price might not actually be the cost you’re paying each month. With miscellaneous fees, equipment rentals, and promotional periods thrown into the mix, it’s possible you may end up being surprised with extra fees when you get your first bill.
Since HughesNet plans use a satellite internet connection, you’ll need a satellite dish to receive service. HughesNet offers the option to lease the equipment or buy it outright, and the various fees associated are included below. Satellite dishes can generally be installed on a roof, or in the yard if tree coverage isn’t an issue.
|HughesNet Sign-up Costs||Buy||Lease|
|Satellite Antenna and Modem||$349.98||$9.99 per month for 24 months|
|Lease Setup Fee||n/a||$99 (some savings for new customers)|
If you’re confident that you’re going to use your HughesNet internet plan for a long time, it may make more sense to buy the equipment outright. It will take a good deal longer than two years for you to break even; however, if your satellite breaks when it’s out of warranty, you may be on the hook for repairs.
Long-term customers of HughesNet can save a significant amount of money if they own their own equipment. Considering that HughesNet is the only real option for some customers, you may as well buy the dish upfront if you’re going to use it for more than four years. At around $10 per month to lease the equipment, however, leasing might be the better option if you’re not committed to a long-term relationship with HughesNet.
HughesNet Early Termination Fees (ETFs)
When you purchase a HughesNet internet plan, you’ll often be required to sign a contract. Before you make the decision to buy, it’s important that you’re sure you can commit to the full length of the contract. If you cancel service prematurely, you will face termination fees in the hundreds of dollars.
For renters or those who aren’t sure if they will be in the same location for the length of their contract (usually around two years), try DSL before opting for HughesNet, since the contracts are more consumer-friendly with DSL.
HughesNet charges around $400 if you cancel your contract within the first 90 days, and the termination fee decreases by $15 per month for the duration of your contract. This means canceling close to the end of your contract may be significantly less expensive — but still not exactly free.
ETFs are often hidden in the fine print in HughesNet sign-up deals. It’s important to read the details of your contract to ensure that you know what you’re getting into before you buy.
HughesNet Data Caps
Because HughesNet is a satellite provider, your data usage will be capped each month. The amount of data available will depend on the plan you buy, and you will only receive advertised speeds up until that point.
If you exceed your data cap, you won’t be cut off from your connection completely. Instead, your connection speeds will be throttled (reduced), effectively rendering your connection unusable for anything but checking your email.
Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out how far a particular data allowance will get you, so we’ve included a table below of some common activities and how much data they consume. Take into account your regular internet usage, and purchase a plan that will meet your needs.
Listed below are approximations of how much time you could spend doing each activity with the specified data cap. Each metric assumes that that’s the only activity that you’ll be doing with your data. General web browsing should generally not eat too much into your data cap, but streaming can quickly get out of hand if you’re not careful.
|HughesNet Data Packages||HD Video||Streaming Music||Online Gaming|
|10 GB||4 hours per month||70 hours per month||50 hours per month|
|20 GB||8 hours per month||140 hours per month||100 hours per month|
|30 GB||12 hours per month||210 hours per month||150 hours per month|
|50 GB||20 hours per month||350 hours per month||250 hours per month|
HughesNet Data Token Pricing
HughesNet also offers the option to buy “data tokens,” which extend the amount of data you can use in a given month. The prices of these tokens vary based on the amount you’re purchasing, and are included below.
|HughesNet Data Token||Price|
It can quickly get expensive if you purchase data tokens frequently. For now, it’s an option if you find yourself exceeding your allowance one month.
HughesNet Bonus Zone
Data allowances are largely put into place because there is a limited capacity that the HughesNet satellite can handle at any one time. However, HughesNet offers a “Bonus Zone” from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. where data cap restrictions are lifted. During this time, you can stream and download to your heart’s content without using any of your data allowance.
Since the traffic for the network is lower in the late night and early morning, it’s the perfect time to queue up a movie or game download so that you don’t end up eating into your monthly data.
HughesNet TV Options
Many people in the market for new internet service are also looking for TV service, but HughesNet only offers internet. With that said, they may partner with satellite TV providers in certain areas.
Depending on your area, you’ll have access to service from either DISH or DIRECTV – the two largest satellite TV providers in the United States. It’s possible that there won’t be bundles available in certain locations, but there’s a high likelihood that some sort of satellite TV is offered in your area.
In the worst-case scenario, you may end up having to purchase HughesNet internet on its own and then purchase TV service from another company separately. Make sure, however, that you check HughesNet deals in your area and see if you can score a discount by bundling service.
HughesNet vs. DSL
HughesNet deals are primarily targeted towards rural customers. Homes that aren’t close to major suburban or metropolitan areas often have limited options for internet connections. The most widely available technologies for service in these areas are usually DSL and satellite.
Digital subscriber lines, or DSL, delivers internet service over telephone wires. This service is widely available and reliable, but often has lower speeds than satellite.
Satellite service, as the name suggests, delivers internet through a satellite orbiting above the Earth. The speeds are actually surprisingly fast, but the connections often come with data caps that can limit how much data you use. Satellite service doesn’t rely on wired cable or fiber infrastructure being available around your home, so it’s often even more accessible than DSL.
Long story short, DSL connections are reliable and usually don’t limit data, but they are often extremely slow in rural locations. Satellite connections, like those from HughesNet, are often faster — but with the caveat of data caps limiting your monthly usage.