Learn how to choose from the variety of internet satellite providers.
Satellite Internet service provides a broadband connection that is transmitted from orbiting satellites. This type of Internet connection mainly appeals to those living in remote, rural locations where lack of infrastructure prohibits access to cable or digital subscriber line (DSL) connections. Although satellite Internet service is generally slower than cable or DSL service, it is still faster than most dial-up Internet connections. Satellite Internet service typically offers download speeds of around 1 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 200 kbps. Satellite service requires an unobstructed view to the southern sky for a clear signal, and can be affected by extreme weather conditions.
It's important to compare features and prices when choosing a satellite Internet provider. First, determine the user's upload and download speed requirements, and then look for a plan that is priced appropriately. Online activities like streaming video, online gaming or downloading pictures will determine which speed is necessary; the higher the speed the more expensive the service.
Unlike other forms of broadband Internet service, satellite Internet service comes with upfront costs for installation and hardware. A two-to-three-foot satellite dish or base station and a satellite Internet modem are required. Additional features like warranties and rebates vary among providers and can help lower costs and ensure equipment longevity.
Each provider offers varying packages with differing Internet speeds. A comparison by satellite dealer Nationwide Satellite of two popular satellite Internet providers, WildBlue and HughesNet, shows speeds can range from 512 kps to 3 Mbps. According to the comparison, monthly service costs range from $50 to $190, and upfront fees for equipment and installation cost approximately $300 after rebates.
The best way to choose the right satellite Internet provider is to research all companies that offer the service and look for deals or packages that fit your needs and budget. HughesNet and WildBlue are two of the most popular services. The Federal Communications Commission offers helpful information for learning about all forms of Internet service. Also worth noting are Web sites that provide independent analysis such as Satellite Internet Services and the High Speed Internet Access Guide.