SpaceX Starlink Vs. Viasat – A Detailed Comparison

About SpaceX Starlink Vs. Viasat, Although conventional internet services have been beneficial, they have some limitations, especially in rural regions.

Regarding providing high-speed connectivity to these remote areas, satellite internet comes into play.

With the entry of satellite internet providers like Viasat and Starlink, individuals can now enjoy a variety of choices.

However, determining which provider is the most appropriate for you can be daunting since they offer different features and pricing.

This article compares SpaceX Starlink vs. Viasat, their speed, pricing options, and reliability to help you make an informed choice.

Table of Contents

What is Viasat

Viasat is a prominent satellite-based communication vendor of high-speed internet for residential, business, and government sectors.

It came onto the scene in 1986 with its headquarters in Carlsbad, California.

Since then, it is now a significant participant in the satellite internet industry with US, Canadian, Mexican, and Brazilian users.

Viasat manages a fleet of innovative satellites that orbit the Earth and offer connectivity where conventional terrestrial networks are insufficient.

With this technology, Viasat can provide speeds of 100 Mbps, rendering it an appealing alternative to traditional internet providers.

Viasat provides phone and video streaming services in addition to its internet services.

It utilizes Voice over Internet Protocol for its voice services to enable users to place and receive calls online.

With its video streaming service, individuals can watch numerous movies, TV programs, and over 150 live Tv channels.

All these services are accessible to users who subscribe to its internet service plans.

Viasat headquarters

ProsCons
StarlinkHigh speed suitable for  remote areas low latency data capNo termination chargesEasy, costless installationExpensive equipment Affected by weather
ViasatHigh speed suitable for  remote areasLow latencyNo data capNo termination chargesEasy, costless installationWith data capsRequire installation feeHigh latencyAn early termination fee may apply

Despite the two services being satellite internet providers, they differ in several ways.

Internet Plans

Starlink offers a residential plan for $110 per month with speeds of between 50 and 200Mbps.

It also provides an RV plan for $135, where customers get almost the same speed as residential but optimized.

Its most expensive plan is the business one, which costs $500 monthly for 100 to 350Mbps. 

On the other hand, Viasat offers several plans as follows: 

  • Bronze 12 for about $70 per month, where you get 12Mbps
  • Silver 25 for $100 per month users get 25Mbps
  • Gold 50 for $150 per month users get 50Mbps
  • Platinum 100 for $200 per month  users get 100Mbps
  • Diamond 100 for $300 per month users get 100mbs

Speed

Faster file transfers and smooth streaming are both possible with high speed because users can download and upload data quickly. Starlink provides more speed than Viasat service.

While Viasat’s fastest plans offer speeds of up to 100Mbps, Starlink guarantees speeds between 150 Mbpa to 500Mbps.

It’s crucial to remember that speeds can differ based on various factors, including location, weather, and network congestion.

Additionally, both networks might use data throttling or deprioritization during intense network congestion.

Internet speed

Internet speed

Latency

Low latency is preferable because data from one machine can get to the other quickly, resulting in a more responsive internet.

One factor determining a satellite’s internet latency is the satellite’s proximity to the Earth. In this regard,

Starlink Internet offers low latency, between 20 and 40ms, because its satellites are in low earth orbit.

In contrast, Viasat offers high latency of about 600 to 1200 ms because its satellites are in standard geostationary orbit far from the Earth.

Data Caps/Limits

Data caps refer to how much data you can use monthly on a particular service provider at a given cost.

Starlink has no data cap since it offers unlimited data usage for the monthly price.

In contrast, Viasat has data limitations on its plans. These limitations allow individuals to use a certain amount of data before prioritization.

For example, on bronze, you can use 40GB, Silver 60GB, Gold 100GB, Platinum 150GB, and Diamond 300 GB.

Once you exceed your plan’s limit, you may experience deprioritization that causes slow internet, especially in peak hours.

Reliability

Reliability has always been an issue regarding satellite internet because this type of connection relies on weather conditions.

For example, heavy rains, storms, and snowy weather can hinder their performance. Since both Starlink and Viasat are satellite internet services, these extreme weather conditions can affect them.

Additionally, they need a clear view of the sky; tall structures can affect their reliability.

However, Starlink may be more reliable because it has several satellites.

Its connection automatically reroutes to the nearest satellite in case of a hindrance.

Also, Starlink is available in several countries globally compared to Viasat, which is available in only four countries.

Required Equipment

As you may already know, satellite internet does not rely on existing network infrastructure, meaning it comes with its equipment.

Starlink and Viasat, being satellites service, require a dish installed outside with an unobstructed view of the sky.

SpaceX provides a small Starlink dish, router, power supply, base, and cables in the Starlink package.

The Viasat kit has a dish(bigger than Starlink’s), modem with built-in wifi, and power supply.

Starlink equipment

Additional Charges

While there are typically no enormous fees in satellite internet providers compared to cable internet,

Starlink and Viasat have varying fees:

Installation Charges

Starlink does not charge any installation fee since it optimizes its self-installation services.

However, you may incur some costs if you hire a local technician for professional installation.

In contrast, Viasat charges its users a one-time fee of $100 to set up their dishes and other devices.

However, it offers free installation services to qualifying customers in selected regions.

Equipment Fee

Starlink sells its equipment for $600 for residential and RV plans and $2500 for the business plan.

This price includes a dish, router, cables, and a mounting base.

Contrarily, Viasat charges a one-time fee of $299 to purchase equipment permanently.

Alternatively, users can opt to lease equipment at $13 per month. 

Contracts

Currently, Starlink does not offer or enforce any contract.

On the other hand, Viasat requires all customers to sign and abide by a 2-years contract.

If the users terminate their connection before the contract expires, they may have to pay extra charges.

Early Termination Fee

Just like in contracts, Starlink does not charge any service termination fee. Viasat charges $15 monthly as an early termination fee for the remaining period when you terminate their service.

Additionally, the company requires you to return the leased devices to avoid further penalties.

Bundles deals

For a specified monthly fee, Viasat offers various combinations of services to entice its customers.

These services include voice calls, DVR storage, digital security service, and movies and TV shows.

For example, for 89.98, clients get unlimited calls, wifi, and multiple calling features.

However, Starlink does not have any bundles currently. 

Customer Care Services

Starlink offers online customer service, including FAQs, forums, and troubleshooting guides.

They also provide a phone number and option to contact customer care via the online portal.

However, they may take time to respond. On the contrary, users can contact Viasat customer care 24/7 via phone, email, and live chat on their website.

They also offer various troubleshooting resources and other guides.

Coverage Area

As of April 2023, Starlink had comprehensive coverage of countries in America, Europe, and Africa, with plans to expand globally.

During the same period, Viasat coverage was in the US, Canada, and some parts of Brazil and Mexico.

Depending on your need and location, Starlink can be cheaper than Viasat.

Firstly, Starlink has higher speed and low latency than Viast, which can be helpful when dealing with online gaming.

Also, Starlink does not charge any installation fee and has no option to rent equipment like in Viastar.

Additionally, no contract termination fees or bundles in Starlink after you buy your equipment.

Furthermore, Starlink does not have a data cap, and you can use as much data as you want.

All the above factors make Starlink a cheaper and more worthwhile investment than Viasat in the long run.

Starlink dish

Conclusion

Starlink and Viasat provide satellite internet services, each with a unique collection of advantages and disadvantages.

Ultimately, your choices depend on particular situations and requirements such as usage and budget.

Before choosing, conduct extensive research and compare the package the two companies offer.