HughesNet broadband internet review
While it boasts lightning-fast speeds at a low price, watch out for billing and connectivity complaints
Depending on where you live, satellite service could be the only way to get Internet into where you live or work. Major carriers just haven’t (yet) infiltrated every square inch of space in the nation. HughesNet broadband satellite markets itself as a top contender for Internet connectivity in comparison to other satellite providers, offering bundles that appear to be affordable. But you’ll want to weigh this against the warnings from many users about billing discrepancies, stiff cancellation fees and penalties and slower speeds than promised.
What is HughesNet broadband satellite service?
HughesNet is a brand that offers broadband satellite services through high-speed Gen4 and Gen5. Introduced in March 2017, Gen5 claims download speeds of 25Mbps and upload speeds of 3Mbps, with 50 gigs of “bonus zone” data for all customers between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. It also offers services specifically for businesses.
What plans are available on HughesNet?
HughesNet broadband satellite service doesn’t offer the typical “bundles” you may be used to seeing — which means no discounts if you bundle in DirecTV, Dish Network or other services. While broadband satellite options depend on your location, here’s what we found for a metropolitan area:
- 10GB — $49.99 a month. Ideal for one to two users, offering 25/3Mbps speeds, free 50GB “bonus zone” data from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.
- 20GB — $59.99 a month. 25/3Mbps speeds, free 50GB “bonus zone” data from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m., capable of uploading larger files.
- 30GB — $89.99 a month. 25/3Mbps speeds, free 50GB “bonus zone” data from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m., capable of uploading larger files.
- 50GB — $129.99 a month. Better for multiple users and online gaming, offering 25/3Mbps speeds, 3Mbps upload speeds, free 50GB “bonus zone” data from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.
Pros and Cons
- Install anywhere. As long as you have a view of the southern sky, you can get HughesNet Internet installed.
- Fast downloads. Speedy downloads of 25Mbps and uploads of 3Mbps.
- Two-year obligation. HughesNet doesn’t say anything about a contract specifically, but you’re required to keep your services for a minimum of two years to get advertised pricing.
- Unreliable service. The company guarantees nothing — including your download speed, your upload speed, Wi-Fi use or Internet availability when you need it.
- Many user complaints. Out of 65,269 ratings on Trustpilot, HughesNet is rated an abysmal 2.9 out of 5 as of October 2020.
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How do I sign up for HughesNet?
To sign up for HughesNet, go to its site to determine service availability and pricing in your ZIP code .
Are there any other features I should know about?
HughesNet can be installed in nearly every state (sorry, Hawaii) and comes with a few other benefits to consider.
- Dedicated landline not necessary. Installation requires no wires or cables, so users don’t need a dedicated phone line to get service.
- Express repair available. For a fee, you can sign up for express 24/7 technical support that includes a repair technician to your house, if needed.
What’s hidden in the fine print?
There’s always a bit of fine print with any offer, pricing advertisement or package deal. HughesNet is no exception.
- Contract required. To get advertised pricing, you’re locked in to services for 24 months.
- Varying speeds. While it’s designed to deliver top download and upload speeds, individual customers may experience different speeds — evident in many online user reviews.
- Services not guaranteed. The company protects itself by noting that speeds and uninterrupted service can vary depending computer configurations, the number of users, network or Internet congestion, web content, network management practices and more.
- Spotty Wi-Fi. When connected via Wi-Fi, your experience will vary depending on your proximity to the Wi-Fi source and strength of your signal.
HughesNet is not a dream Internet service provider — it’s left behind many users who are unhappy with its services. But if it’s difficult to get high-speed Internet where you live, see if HughesNet might be a viable option.