Viasat (short for ‘via satellite’ and is formerly known as Excede) is one of just two satellite internet providers in the US.
Instead of providing internet connections by fiber-optic cables, coaxial cables, or telephone wires, Viasat uses satellites to beam internet to the remote areas traditional earthbound connections don’t quite reach (yet).
Because of this, Viasat is available in all 50 US states.
However, the connection speed may vary based on the strength of the connection in each area. Currently, the average advertised download speed is 15 mbps. That’s slightly slower than the US average of 18.7 mbps.
Viasat Business: Best for small towns and rural areas
Viasat internet may not be as fast as some other internet service providers’ (ISPs) plans, but in many rural areas their satellite internet will comfortably surpass the existing network, assuming there is one.
The extensive coverage of satellite-based providers like Viasat is a big advantage for businesses outside big cities, as many ISPs skip over large parts of the country entirely.
Rural businesses are sometimes burdened with creakingly slow legacy internet, with some paying $30+ per month for download speeds below 5 mbps and uploads of less than 1 mbps.
Most small businesses need faster internet than that for common tasks, which may include:
- Sending and receiving emails
- Uploading and downloading documents
- Streaming video
- Video conferencing
- Using cloud-based applications
- Backing up important records
As business internet from Viasat makes most of these tasks possible, it’s a practical solution for small businesses located in areas under-served by traditional ISPs.
Even businesses in areas where DSL (direct subscriber line) connections provided by telephone lines are available may want to consider Viasat, as satellite internet can be up to ten times faster.
However, satellite connections still can’t match the speed of fiber-optic internet. Businesses who need the extra speed (150+ mbps) should consider a fiber connection from another provider.
Is Viasat Business internet expensive?
Viasat’s plans range from affordable to expensive.
This reflects the fact that Viasats’s cheaper plans provide relatively slow internet access, while their faster plans are often the only option for high-speed internet in many areas.
Viasat’s business internet plans come in two types: metered and unlimited:
Viasat metered business internet plans
Metered internet plans provide access to a pre-arranged amount of data usage for each billing cycle.
After that’s reached, customers have the option to purchase more.
Metered plans also tend to be slower than Viasat’s unlimited plans.
- Metered Broadband 1GB – $50/mo – 35 mbps downloads/4 mbps uploads, 1GB usage limit, $10 for each additional GB of data.
- Metered Broadband 10GB – $80/mo – 35 mbps/4 mbps, 10GB usage limit, $10/additional GB
- Metered Broadband 20GB – $100/mo – 35 mbps/4 mbps, 20GB usage limit, $6/additional GB
- Metered Broadband 50GB – $150/mo – 35 mbps/4 mbps, 50GB usage limit, $3/additional GB
- Metered Broadband 200GB – $400/mo – 35 mbps/4 mbps, 200GB usage limit, $2/additional GB
While metered plans may be enough for small businesses with fairly limited internet requirements (like small stores, salons, and local diners), those with more demanding needs should consider an unlimited plan:
Viasat unlimited business internet plans
Despite their name, Viasat unlimited plans do restrict data usage.
Viasat unlimited plans use a ‘soft cap.’ This means that after hitting the data limit, the connection slows down (to 5 mbps for downloads and 1 mbps for uploads with Viasat).
That means customers don’t have to purchase more data to keep using the internet.
However, if they want to use it for more demanding tasks like transferring large files or streaming video, they may still need to pay for extra data.
- Unlimited 35 – $175 – download speed 35 mbps/upload speed 4 mbps, soft cap 75GB
- Unlimited 60 – $300 – 60 mbps/4 mbps, soft cap 150GB
- Unlimited 100 – $500 – 100 mbps/4mbps, soft cap 200GB
Unlimited plans are not available everywhere. Viasat’s website lets businesses enter their ZIP code to see the plans available in their area.
A downside of Viasat’s plans are the two-year contracts.
However, as most businesses outside major metropolitan areas don’t have many choices of provider anyway, this may not be a deal-breaker.
How good is Viasat Business’ customer service?
Viasat make support available via:
- FAQ pages
- Online chat
- Telephone support (in English and Spanish)
While some ISPs make it easy to get hold of a representative, Viasat first try to funnel customer inquiries through their FAQ pages, and it can take a little effort to get to talk to someone.
However, customer support representatives are generally polite and helpful.
Pros of using Viasat Business
- Metered plans available across the country
- Speeds up to 100 mbps in some areas
- Reliable satellite connection
- Unlimited plans allow (slow) access to the internet after reaching data cap
Cons of using Viasat Business
- Many plans have data caps
- Unlimited plans not available in some areas
- Price plans not listed on website
- 24-month contracts