Hughes Communications is a provider of satellite-based Internet services. The company is known through its subsidiary Hughes Network Systems, LLC, or HughesNet. The company was bought out by Echo Star in 2011 for over $1 billion. The company has almost 2000 employees, primarily in Maryland, but also in Nevada, Germany, and India.  

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The Good

  • Flexible plans depending on your needs
  • Data allowance and faster download speeds
  • SmartTechnologies featuring SmartFetch, SmartCompression, SmartResources, and SmartBrowsing
  • Excellent FAQ section

The company provides several different packages, depending upon your area, and recently released their Gen4 line of service which is claimed to greatly improve the performance of this type of internet connection. We found that HughesNet offers one of the fastest satellite Internet speeds in the industry.

HughesNet offers several different plans and you will see different prices, speeds, and data allowances depending on where you live. However, you can expect the price to be $49.99 - $129.99 per month. HughesNet has some flexibility when it comes to paying for the equipment where you can either purchase it for $399.98 or lease it for $99 + $99 per month. Keep in mind that there is also a $99 installation fee.

Hughesnet fastest upload speed available is 2 Mbps and their fastest download speed is 15 Mbps. 15 Mbps is one of the fastest download speeds available in the industry. Their monthly data allowance ranges from 5 to 20 GB per month depending on what plan you choose. Each plan features a "bonus bytes" time of 50 GB from 2 am to 8 am. With your monthly data allowance and bonus bytes of 50 GB, you will be looking at a max data cap of 70 GB. With these bonus bytes, HughesNet offers plans that have higher data caps that some other competing companies they only allow a max of 30 GB for the month.

HughesNet is making an effort to upgrade its satellite internet service to residential consumers by creating SmartTechnologies. SmartTechnologies features four different features, SmartFetch, SmartCompression, SmartResources, and SmartBrowsing and they are available with almost every plan. SmartFetch helps Web pages load faster. SmartCompression condenses data that you see on the web allowing you to do more on the web before going over your data limit. SmartResources allows you to monitor that amount of data you've used as well as add Tokens to receive more data when needed. Even if you have gone over your data allowance, SmartBrowsing will let you continue to email and browse the internet. SmartBrowsing is only available for their Max plan.

The FAQ section of the website answered many of our questions. One of the concerns we had was whether or not our service would be installed quickly. We found that HughesNet quickly dispatches an installer to complete your installation the next day. This was one of the faster turnaround times in the industry.

The Bad

  • Data plans
  • Installation fee
  • Slower upload speeds
  • Cancellation fee
  • No "free unmeasured" period
  • No price for additional GBs

HughesNet plans and pricing page may be a little misleading saying that your total data allowance is 55 - 70 GB depending on what plan you choose. Pay attention that you are only given 5 - 20 GB of data that can be used during any time of the day depending on your plan and 50 GB between the hours of 2 am and 8 am regardless of what plan you choose. If you plan on being up very early in the morning to do everything you want with the internet then those bonus bytes will be great but be careful of using up all of your normal data quickly.

HughesNet charges a $99 installation fee. There are competing satellite internet providers that offer free installation when the customer qualifies which makes us wonder why they charge that and other companies don't. HughesNet charges $99 + $9.99 per month if you decide to lease the equipment which is very expensive compared to other companies that only require you to pay $9 per month.

While it might not seem like much of a difference, HugheNet's max upload speed is only 2 Mbps whereas some competing companies in the industry offer upload speeds up to 3 Mbps. If you know that you're going to be uploading a lot of data online then you will want to find a satellite internet provider that has a faster upload speed.

We did have some concerns with the early-cancellation fee. If you decide that your HughesNet connection is not a good fit, you are charged $400 within the first 90 days. If you return your leased equipment or have paid for your equipment, this fee is less. After 90 days, there is a $15 reduction on the cancellation fee, a type of prorated credit for canceling before your contract is up.

A lot of the satellite providers that we reviewed who had low monthly data allowance offered a free "bonus" period, often between 12 am and 6 am. Unfortunately, HughesNet does not offer this. During their bonus period, you get access to additional gigabytes of data per your service plan but the speed of your Internet will decrease significantly. We would like to see a totally unmetered bonus period, which seems to be pretty standard in the industry.

VPN (Virtual Private Network) functionality with HughesNet is not very good. We learned that time-sensitive applications, such as online e-trading, might not work very well with HughesNet. Overall, we would suggest a different carrier if you want VPN functionality.

We couldn't find any information regarding how much an additional GB of data would cost. Competing companies in the industry made it very clear by stating that an additional GB of data would only cost $10. It would be helpful to know how much additional data will cost in case you use too much or run out during the month.

The Bottom Line

Overall, we recommend HughesNet and their NextGen4 services if they are available in your area. You can take advantage of their SmartTechnologies which will overall increase the experience you have using the internet through satellites. They offer some of the fastest download speeds available and have one of the higher data caps throughout the industry. HughesNet gives you the choice to either rent or own the satellite equipment which may be appealing to you.

On the other hand, if you know that you will need a faster upload speed then you may want to look into other satellite internet providers. Beware of the additional fees that you may encounter such as an installation fee and cancellation fee if you decide to end your contract early. If you need VPN for personal or business use then HughesNet may not be the best option for you.

We do recommend HughesNet if satellite is your only broadband option. They offer a wide variety of service levels that are pretty reasonable in comparison to some of the other providers in the industry.

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User Reviews

Star Rating

1.5
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7 Reviews

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Christy Utterback

January 31st, 2020 Houston, MO DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I had Hughes Net installed 1 week ago. I have spent no less than 20 hours on the phone with support and had a tech out twice since then. Horrible customer service, horrible service, internet is slow,can't stream movies. When I called and asked, specifically, "Can I stream movies with Hughes Net", I was told...Yes!! NO I CAN'T! Now they are going to come and move my modem and see if that works. I am extremely sorry that I signed up for their service. Just say no, if you are considering it.

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Jeff

July 8th, 2019 Dallas, GA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Good satellite internet. Faster speeds are needed.

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James

February 11th, 2019 Whitesburg, GA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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What a rip off. had it last year will never have it gain. this company should be put out of business be smarter then I was and don't even go there. never was able to get the service I was I told I would get. it was so slow my pc would not run page would expire Waite 5 to 10 mints and yes I had there so called 5 G witch is a joke. then after 10 to15 calls with no luck in 3 month I canceled and was charged a 400.dollar fee for service I did not get. and I don't live out in the country either. I was told so many lies it ant funny aim with a company now in the same area same price with exhalant service and I don't have to Waite for hours to get a web page up. It is what is huge net is nothing but a joke and a big rip off..

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Bskinner

November 9th, 2017 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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When signing up for Hugesnet,I asked if I would owe anything for installation. Two times I asked this and was told no. I asked why they asked for my bank card no. They SD only to have It on file. They lied and immediately the next day took money out. This caused an overdraft because we budget and all bills had come out until the next deposit. I told them to return my funds ,instead they took my bill dwn to 5$. I'm still not satisfied. I told them I didn't want their service I looked online to see activity . It stated my next bill was due on the 18th. They tryd to get the payment on the 8th. I still Hv Service after telling them I didn't want it and they keep flashing a payment demand Everytime I go online. I hate I ever signed up. These people deceive and lie. It's was too slow from the beginning. I feel they should be upfront with customers about everything.

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Wendy

September 13th, 2017

I am extremely disappointed in Hughes Net. I live in North Port, FL and had lost power from Saturday Sept 9th, 2017 at 6:00pm until late Monday night from Hurricane Irma. When I went to go pay bills on line that were already due I noticed my usage was at 7%. My usage had reset on Sept 9th, 2017 and I could not understand how I was down to 7% when I had no power. I called customer service that did not help me at all and began to tell me how I need to look on line to monitor my usage. I repeated myself again and again explaining I am in North Port, FL and lost all power because of Hurricane Irma so I could not have used the usage. Again, Hughes Net customer service was no help. Instead they told me to unplug my internet and leave it off for 4 more hours in order to see if something was wrong with their equipment. I was shocked since I haven’t had anything for days and they now want me to go without internet again. All said and done nothing was resolved. Customer Service said they would give me extra tokens, which is from 2am to 8am only and not replace my anytime allowance which is between 8am and 2am. You had many internet companies giving free hot spot service to non-customers and my internet company didn’t even replace my usage that I never used. I will tell you they did withdraw my money to pay the bill on Sept 9th, 2017 with no issues. Hughes Net is not about their customers, shame on you.

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Sarah Odegard

February 13th, 2017 Grand Forks, ND

Internet is terribly slow, if it works at all. Have called several times to complain and have even paid to upgrade, but they just tell me that my internet is working fine and I waste 45 minutes on the phone. They even wanted to charge me $135 when my satellite quit working....isn't that why I pay an equipment fee??? Would not recommend.

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Rocco Passomato

August 18th, 2016

Absolute worst service in the industry. If you happen to have one more person who is temporarily using some (minimal mind you) of the allotted service, EVERYTHING slows to a crawl on our computer, if it EVER comes on. Service is sketchy at best even when it's at "full"!! When I contacted customer service, I of course got someone who spoke limited English, and who tried to sell me an "upgrade" for more money of course. The service is so bad that it isn't even worth using the devices...I can't wait until another internet service, ANY other internet service becomes available. I will drop these incompetent idiots like a bag of s___!!!!

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