HughesNet Gen5 internet service is here and the plans make a lot more sense than they did with HughesNet Gen4. The ISP's price plans are finally the same all across the country so figuring out what the price is much easier than it used to be. In prior incarnations of HughesNet's service, there were different prices for different parts of the country. Sometimes these varied throughout different cities in the same state! Now they provide the same speeds, 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload, with all 4 plans that HughesNet has to offer. The only real difference between the plans is how much data comes with them. All internet service providers should make choosing a plan that simple.
The new generation of HughesNet is thanks to the launching of the HughesNet Satellite EchoStar XIX. HughesNet has stated that they had launched the "world's highest capacity satellite." While this is noteworthy scientifically, it means higher speeds for the customer. One thing the satellite did not do is get rid of HughesNet's standard 2-year service contract.
While it may be a huge step in the right direction that HughesNet made its plans much simpler across the country, the pricing still isn't great. Due to the fact that most satellite internet customers lack access to any other types of ISPs, HughesNet is able to set their prices much higher than other providers. As with most businesses, a lack of competition comes with higher prices. Unless more companies launch their own satellites and offer internet service, customers in rural areas and locations where other internet service providers are not available don't really many choices. It's an expensive technology so it's doubtful that this is going to happen any time soon.
Customers have been complaining about the pricing and speed of satellite internet since the days when it first became available. Unfortunately, it's just the nature of satellite internet. If there is a demand for a service in an area where there are no other options, customers are almost always going to be willing to pay more so businesses are logically going to charge more. This doesn't give HughesNet an excuse for their much higher pricing, but it's just how the world works.
If there are other options for internet like cable or DSL, customers shouldn't even consider getting satellite internet. This option just isn't for them and HughesNet's pricing doesn't compare to theirs at all, but they are completely normal for satellite internet.
There really isn't much of a difference in pricing among satellite internet providers. The prices for Exede are around $40 to $149 a month while HughesNet goes up to $129.
The equipment needed to use HughesNet Gen5 internet is a modem and a small satellite antenna. The antenna is about the size of a typical satellite TV dish and isn't too obtrusive. HughesNet customers are given the option of either leasing or purchasing their equipment. If a customer purchases the equipment outright instead of leasing it, they are going to save a little over $10 by the end of their two-year contract.
A lot of customers would prefer to pay the extra money to not have to pay the $450 in equipment fees at once. If a customer is planning on keeping the service for longer than 2 years, buying the equipment starts to make a lot more sense.
There was a price increase for the equipment from Gen4 to Gen5, but now the modem that is included has built-in Wi-Fi which is an important convenience to a lot of people. That $5 is a pretty acceptable charge to lessen the clutter from electronics. While the charge may be worth it to most, it's something that most other internet service provider include without charging extra. In the rare case that a customer doesn't need Wi-Fi, Excede only charges $9.99 a month for their modem that doesn't include it, but it's pretty rare that someone wouldn't need it in 2018.
Early termination fees are pretty standard practice if someone cancels any internet service provider before the contract is over. HughesNet is not an exception to this tradition. Their cancellation fee is pretty steep if the contract is canceled within the first 90 days that someone has the service, they will charge the customer $400. The fee goes down $15 for each month that they have the service after 90 days though.
With HughesNet, it's very important that the leased equipment is returned after the contract is canceled. If the satellite antenna and the modem are not returned within 45 days, HughesNet can charge up to $400 in addition to the early termination fee. Reading over the paperwork concerning fees and charges is a good idea if there are any questions.
The download and upload speeds of HughesNet Gen5 are the same across the board for all of their plans, 30 Mbps download speeds and 3 Mbps upload speeds. The speeds for last year's Gen4 were much lower at 5 to 15 Mbps downloads and 1 to 3 Mbps uploads. In the fine print there is a disclaimer that the speeds that the customer actually gets may vary depending on what time of the day it is and other factors.
Internet Service Providers never actually guarantee that the speeds they advertise will be consistent. It's pretty much expected that the speeds are going to vary with any provider. What's interesting is that when the FCC tested what HughesNet's actual speeds were, they measured in at 152% of the speeds that were advertised. It's pretty hard to believe that an ISP would give their customers a better speed than they paid for, but HughesNet actually does. This is almost unheard of in the industry. It's not known yet if HughesNet will deliver the same higher speeds as they did during the testing in 2016, but the FCC will be releasing their results later.
Data Caps and Allowances
It can be pretty confusing trying to figure out how much data a customer will need per month. If a customer decided to go with the 10 GB per month plan, their data would be eaten up after only 13 hours of Netflix or 10 days of Spotify. Even the 4,450 web pages would go by pretty quickly after a few days of browsing sites like Reddit.
Basically, if someone is planning on streaming anything over satellite internet, they might come across some serious problems with data. Streaming just uses a lot of resources and there aren't any satellite providers that can handle it during peak hours. Some satellite internet customers have come up with some pretty interesting solutions to the problem though that can be found on the internet, especially on forums about satellite service.
Luckily, HughesNet does offer a Bonus Zone with their internet service from the hours of 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. Customers get an extra 50 GB each month of data during this time of the day. While the time may inconvenient for a lot of users, this is where those workarounds come in. With a little bit of tech knowledge or help from a friend, this data can be utilized rather well. By setting system updates and downloads to start when the Bonus Zone is happening, the normal plan data can be saved. Netflix offers an option to download movies and shows and this could be a great option for satellite internet users who still want to stream their shows. If someone is unfortunate enough to be a gamer and a satellite ISP subscriber, this may be the only practical time to play.
When a customer hits their data cap, there aren't any overage fees and their internet doesn't just stop working completely. While it may not stop, it isn't going to be great. In fact, a lot of people probably won't even bothering to use the internet unless they have to with speeds around 1 Mbps or even lower. Once the data cap has been hit, it's probably going to be pretty frustrating to do anything but surf basic websites and check emails. Even image-heavy social media might not be too easy to use.
If the dragging internet speeds are too slow to deal with, "data tokens" can be purchased. These come in increments from 3 to 25 GB and cost from $9 to $75 each. This may not be a great bargain, but it's still better than paying the ridiculous overage fees that some providers charge.
It seems that every internet service provider gets a lot of complaints about customer satisfaction and service. It's pretty much par for the course, unfortunately. HughesNet could use some improvement when it comes to customer service. Their installation services are through third-party companies, this can lead to inconsistent service and nobody can ever know what they are going to get. While many don't experience any problems with customer service, that doesn't necessarily mean nobody will experience any. While there are certain limitations to any satellite service, customers should still expect to get what they are paying for.
Overall, HughesNet Gen5 made a lot of improvements from the previous year. The standardized pricing and speeds is a great thing and the bonus features the new plans offer are a nice touch. In general, HughesNet is rater higher than Exede and really there aren't many options for satellite internet if you're in a rural area. It's not going to be a great choice for gaming, but satellite internet never really is.
For most satellite internet customers, HughesNet Gen5's 20 GB plan is going to be their best option, especially if they can work with the 50 GB monthly Bonus Zone during the early morning hours. If more high-speed data is needed, the prices for "data tokens" aren't cheap but they're reasonable for what they are. HughesNet provides solid satellite internet service at prices that are competitive with other satellite providers. There aren't any surprise overage fees to worry about so if satellite internet is the only option, HughesNet is a decent choice.
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