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Starlink vs. Viasat: Which Internet Provider Is Best for You?

Do you prefer living on the cutting edge or relying on proven solutions?

  • Lowest latency
    • Price: $120.00–$200.00/mo.
    • Customer rating: N/A
    • Speed: 5–100Mbps
    • Internet type: LEO Satellite
    • Data cap: Unlimited
  • Most options
    • Price: $69.99–$299.99/mo.
    • Customer rating: 3.1/5
    • Speed: 12–150Mbps
    • Internet type: GSO Satellite
    • Data cap: 60GB–Unlimited

Compare Starlink and Viasat head to head

Satellite internet is experiencing a boom in new technological innovations, spearheaded by low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations like Starlink. While new LEO satellites promised internet connections with faster speeds, lower latency, and more affordable prices, Starlink really only delivered on the latency issue. Meanwhile, traditional geostationary (GSO) satellite providers like Viasat might be lagging behind in innovation, but are continuing to offer consistent, reliable service, as you’d expect after 40 years of experience.

Pros and cons: Starlink vs. Viasat


  • Low latency
  • Portable options
  • Unlimited data


  • High equipment costs
  • Long delivery times
  • Unreliable speeds


  • Faster speeds
  • More plan options


  • High latency
  • Data caps


Want to know what all the options are in your area? Take a look by typing in your zip code below.

Plans and pricing: Starlink vs. Viasat

Viasat has a wide range of plans and prices, catering to everyone from the budget minded to heavier internet users. Starlink plans are comparable in price and speed to the high-end Viasat plans, though they do come with a much larger up-front equipment cost.

Starlink plans and pricing

PackagePrice*SpeedOrder online
Starlink Standard $120.00/mo.20Mbps–100MbpsView Plan
Priority 2TB $500.00/mo.150Mbps–500MbpsView Plan
Starlink for RVs $200.00/mo.5Mbps–50MbpsView Plan

Starlink offers just one standard option for residential internet, but also offers portable and in-motion internet access through its Starlink Roam plans. While this can be an incredible option for those who want internet access that goes wherever they go, it comes with both higher prices and lower speeds, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons before you make the switch.

Viasat plans and pricing

PackagePriceSpeedData capOrder online
Choice 12Mbps/60GB$69.99/mo.*Up to 12Mbps60GB
Choice 25 Mbps/60GB$69.99/mo.*Up to 25Mbps60GB
Choice 25Mbps /100GB$99.99/mo.*Up to 25Mbps100GB
Choice 30Mbps/150GB$149.99/mo.*Up to 30Mbps150GB
Choice 30Mbps/300GB$199.99/mo.*Up to 30Mbps300GB
Choice 30Mbps/500GB$299.99/mo.*Up to 30Mbps500GB
Choice 75Mbps/150GB$149.99/mo.*Up to 75Mbps150GB
Choice 100Mbps/300GB$199.99/mo.*Up to 100Mbps300GB
Choice 100Mbps/500GB$299.99/mo.*Up to 100Mbps500GB
Unlimited Bronze 12$99.99/mo.**Up to 12MbpsUnlimited
Unlimited Silver 12$14.99/mo.**Up to 12MbpsUnlimited
Unlimited Gold 12$199.99/mo.**Up to 12MbpsUnlimited

When signing up for Viasat, you need to consider both the speed you need and the amount of data you think you’ll use in a month.The more expensive plans give you plenty of both, but you don’t want to pay for speed and data that you’re not actually going to use by the end of the month.

Not sure how much speed you need?

Take our quiz to find out.


Extra fees: Starlink vs. Viasat

Equipment FeeInstallation FeeOther Fees
($2,500.00 for Flat High Performance equipment)
Self-installationAdditional mounts from $37.00–$59.00
Additional cables from $26.00–$93.00
($299.99 Lifetime Lease)
Free professional installationExtra data starting at $10.00/GB

Equipment and installation are significant concerns when switching to any new wireless plan. Viasat makes switching relatively painless with free professional installation and a very low monthly equipment rental fee. Installation involves mounting a satellite dish on or nearby your house and running a cable inside to the router. The dish requires careful alignment, which must be done by a professional.

Starlink installation is simpler in many ways, but also much more expensive. There is no option to rent equipment, so you must purchase it all upfront. Although it’s much more forgiving as far as alignment, installing it on your roof usually gives you the strongest signal. Working on your roof is always potentially dangerous, so be sure to consider this before you sign up.

Internet types: Starlink vs. Viasat

Internet typeOrder online
StarlinkLEO SatelliteView Plans
ViasatGSO Satellite

Both Starlink and Viasat offer some important differences between. Starlink operates a constellation of tiny satellites in low orbit that cross back and forth across the sky. Viasat operates just a few large satellites in geosynchronous orbit, very far from the surface of the Earth. The time it takes for your data to travel to one of those satellites and back causes incredibly high latency or lag on your connection. In contrast, Starlink’s satellites are close enough to the Earth that your latency probably isn’t noticeably higher when compared with other internet types.

While latency is a big deal for certain kinds of activities like online games or livestreaming, most online activities depend more on download speeds. Although Starlink initially boasted much higher speeds than its competition, these speeds have continued to drop as more and more people sign up for the service. Currently, Starlink speeds have begun to drop below the speed of several Viasat plans as the company struggles to deal with network congestion. These speeds could improve as Starlink launches new satellites or they could continue to drop as new customers connect to the already overburdened network.

Data caps: Starlink vs. Viasat

Data CapOrder online
StarlinkUnlimitedView Plans
Viasat60 GB–Unlimited

Starlink has waffled back and forth on data caps. After trying and failing to manage congestion on its network with a data cap, Starlink plans once again have unlimited data. Most Viasat plans do have caps, and they’re relatively low. You can always purchase additional data for the month if you run out, but it’s a better deal in the long run if you sign up for a plan that provides enough data to keep your household running without needing extra.

Contracts: Starlink vs. Viasat

Contract lengthOrder online
StarlinkNo contractView Plans
Viasat2-year contracts

Starlink requires no long-term contracts and it’s currently the only satellite provider not to require one. Although buying your equipment upfront is a pretty big investment, it’s definitely better than paying huge termination fees down the line.

Viasat plans all come with a two-year contract. That’s a long contract when compared to wired internet connections, but is fairly standard for most satellite providers.

Installation: Starlink vs. Viasat

Installation optionsOrder online
StarlinkSelf-installationView Plans
ViasatFree professional installation

Starlink doesn’t offer professional installation, so you’ll have to set up your equipment yourself. Although it’s much simpler to install than the equipment for GSO satellite service, doing any work on your roof can be dangerous if you don’t have experience doing it. If you’re not confident installing your dish on your roof, we suggest that you contact a friend or hire a local handyman for assistance.

Viasat offers free professional installation when you sign up for their service, which definitely takes a lot of the headache out of switching providers.

Availability: Starlink vs. Viasat

Both Starlink and Viasat are available nationwide, even in remote locations. Starlink Roam plans give the added benefit of accessing the internet anywhere you go, whereas Viasat and Starlink Residential plans only function at your home address.

To see all the internet providers available in your area, enter your zip code below:

Final call: Starlink vs. Viasat

Although Starlink was once the clear winner among satellite internet providers, it now occupies more of a niche role. For people who need low latency, portability, or the flexibility to move without breaking a contract, Starlink is still the best option. For people who care more about price or speed, Viasat will probably have a plan that fits your needs better and they’ll have it installed on your house in days, not months.

View Starlink Plans


Our editorial team bases our analyses on customer input from our annual customer satisfaction survey, results from our speed test tool, and proprietary internet provider data on speeds and pricing. To strengthen our research, we look closely at provider contracts to get hard-to-find information on price hikes, data caps, and extra fees, and we keep tabs on the latest news reports and online reviews. When applicable, we also rely on our personal experiences testing these services.

Author -

Peter Christiansen writes about satellite internet, rural connectivity, livestreaming, and parental controls for Peter holds a PhD in communication from the University of Utah and has been working in tech for over 15 years as a computer programmer, game developer, filmmaker, and writer. His writing has been praised by outlets like Wired, Digital Humanities Now, and the New Statesman.