Exede (which recently changed their name to Viasat) is one of two major providers of satellite internet in the United States (the other being HughesNet).

While speeds may not be as fast as with traditional cable or fiber providers, Exede (Viasat) is unique in that it offers several unlimited data plans — a benefit not often seen with satellite internet.

The main draw of a satellite connection is that it allows people in rural areas to get online, even if they’re far away from an established network. With Viasat, almost everyone can get online and enjoy high-speed internet regardless of their location. All you need is a clear view of the southern sky (and willingness to sign a two-year contract).

Pros

  • No fees for overusing data
  • 98% nationwide US coverage
  • 25 Mbps plan upgrade options

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Data is throttled after 150 GB
  • Long contracts

Exede Plans Overview

In general, satellite connections are much more limited in their data allowances. Because data has to be sent to a satellite for transmission, there’s a maximum amount of capacity that the network can handle at any given time.

DealsPrice MonthlyInternet SpeedPhone
LIBERTY 12 $3000 12 Mbps Satellite(888) 604-7964
Liberty 25 $5000 12 Mbps Satellite(888) 604-7964
Liberty 50 $7500 12 Mbps Satellite(888) 604-7964

If you're looking to compare plans, make sure to check out our detailed guide on the latest Viasat Internet (formerly Exede) deals and promotions.

Exede offers several “unlimited data” plans with 12–25 Mbps download speeds, but these options also state that “other traffic may be prioritized” if you use over 100 GB a month. 100 GB isn’t very much, and while you can technically use as much data as you want, your speeds will be throttled at that cutoff which leads to a less capable connection. Use this handy data calculator to help you figure out your data usage needs.

While their top speeds are comparable to competitor HughesNet, we found that customers were often unable to access the 25 Mbps upgrade due to bandwidth constraints in subscription areas. The effective top speed is often the 12 Mbps plan.

The pricing of Viasat’s plans are generally competitive with other Satellite internet providers, but more expensive when compared to Cable or Fiber. We’ve found them to be more expensive than HughesNet for the speed delivered, but often better in terms of the data allowance. Bundles with DirecTV — one of the top television providers in the nation — are also available with discounts over standalone service.

Exede Speeds and Network Performance

Satellite connections are generally slower than traditional options like cable or fiber, but Exede still manages to offer downloads of up to 25 Mbps.

While data with some plans are usually unlimited, expect to see the speed of your connection decrease once you hit 150 GB of usage in each month.

Viasat Internet (formerly Exede) Download Speeds Over Time


CityViasat Internet (formerly Exede) Average SpeedViasat Internet (formerly Exede) Top 10% Speeds
Atlanta, Georgia18 Mbps24 Mbps
Austin, Texas5.0 Mbps13 Mbps
Bronx, New York4.9 Mbps12 Mbps
Brooklyn, New York1.9 Mbps4.4 Mbps
Chicago, Illinois6.3 Mbps13 Mbps
Dallas, Texas6.5 Mbps24 Mbps
Denver, Colorado5.9 Mbps14 Mbps
Houston, Texas4.9 Mbps11 Mbps
Los Angeles, California7.4 Mbps15 Mbps
Miami, Florida4.2 Mbps8.7 Mbps
Minneapolis, Minnesota6.5 Mbps14 Mbps
New York, New York9.4 Mbps12 Mbps
Orlando, Florida5.5 Mbps11 Mbps
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania7.5 Mbps16 Mbps
Phoenix, Arizona9.3 Mbps15 Mbps
Saint Louis, Missouri4.2 Mbps9.7 Mbps
San Antonio, Texas18 Mbps33 Mbps
San Diego, California6.2 Mbps15 Mbps
San Jose, California11 Mbps25 Mbps
Tucson, Arizona12 Mbps23 Mbps

Is Exede Good For Gaming?

While speeds of around 25 Mbps may be fine for online games due to the low amount of data transmitted, the issue you’ll run into with a satellite connection is some pretty major latency.

Every bit of data you use has to travel around 23,000 miles to a satellite in space and then bounce back, and this results in a minimum latency of 500 ms — a limitation that all satellite providers share.

Exede may serve just fine for Farmville, but will severely limit your effectiveness if you’re playing a game like Call of Duty or League of Legends. Streaming on Twitch becomes basically unworkable on any satellite connection, and quickly eats up data anyway.

Are There Any Benefits to a Satellite Connection?

Satellite image of the USA.
While Cable delivers Internet over cables, Exede beams it to a satellite and “bounces” it back down to subscribers throughout the US. Image Source: Unsplash

The main benefit of a satellite connection is the huge range that Exede covers. You can access their service pretty much anywhere in the U.S., but you’re going to pay more and get lower speeds than with a cable or fiber provider.

Generally, Satellite internet is intended to serve customers that don’t have access to traditional options, and it can’t compete in price or speed with regular Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that have an established ground network.

Where is Exede Available?

As a satellite Provider, Exede is available throughout 98% of the United States. The only real limitation within the contiguous United States is the need for an unobstructed view of the sky. Satellite connections are usually the best option available for rural customers, and Exede focuses on offering service to remote areas as well as customers on the fringe of urban areas who lack access to traditional options.

Viasat Internet (formerly Exede) Coverage & Availability Map

Loading
COVERAGE CENSUS TRACTS

Exede Installation Options and Installation Fees

Because Exede requires a satellite dish to operate, you won’t be able to install service on your own. Fortunately, installation is free when you sign a two year contract. Unfortunately, Exede doesn’t allow you to buy the equipment outright, so you’ll be stuck paying a rental fee in all cases.

Exede Internet Equipment & Fees
Installation FeeFree
Internet Equipment Rental Fee$9.99
DirecTV DVR rental fee$15+
Early Termination Fee (ETF) – Internet$15 for each month remaining on contract
Early Termination Fee (ETF) – DirecTV$25 for each month remaining on contract

Exede Equipment Options

As far as specifications go, Exede’s “Wi-Fi modem” gateway device is pretty standard in terms of power, but has some neat extra features. It comes with dual band frequencies supporting 2.4 and 5 Ghz connections, and 5 ethernet ports. Additionally, the modem has support for guest access networks and parental controls, so you can manage your children’s internet access and keep guests off your personal network if you have security concerns.

Exede comes with a modem/Wi-Fi “gateway” unit with advanced home networking features. Image Source:
Wikimedia Commons

If you’d prefer, you can use your own wireless equipment. You’ll still be stuck paying the monthly rental fee due to the inability to buy your own satellite, but it’s a viable option for those who would rather use equipment they’re already familiar with.

Exede’s Main Strengths and Weaknesses

The Bad: Streaming limitations

For heavy streamers and cord-cutters, satellite internet from Exede is not a viable option. While you can enjoy a decent picture quality using the provider’s higher tier plans, you’re going to quickly run into data cap issues. Exede’s “unlimited” plan isn’t truly unlimited, in that you’ll end up with slower connections pretty quickly. 150 GB is pretty easy to blow through in a month and you’ll quickly find yourself frustrated with the limitations. Cutting the cord is much easier with a traditional cable or fiber connection.

The Good: Free Zone Data Bonus

If you’re on a plan with a data cap, take a look at your plan’s “free zone”, a range of early morning hours where the connection is not metered. These times, usually ranging from 3 – 6 AM, are periods where the network has a light load and can handle heavier individual usage. Schedule any major downloads for this window to save some precious data!

Exede TV Service: What are my options?

DirecTV Dishes on rooftop.
Exede doesn’t provide TV service directly, but many customers bundle service with DirecTV through Exede for a small monthly savings. Image Source:
Unsplash

While Exede doesn’t offer TV themselves, they do partner with DirecTV in many areas to offer bundled TV and internet service. The main plan advertised is the “Choice” package starting at around $40 a month, offering over 200 channels, a Genie TiVo DVR, and exclusive access to NFL Sunday Ticket.

DirecTV DVR Options
Genie HD DVR$20/month1 TB
DirecTV HD DVR$15/month500 GB
DirecTV Standard DVR$7/month320 GB

Conclusion: Exede Is Best for Rural Customers With a Streaming Habit

There’s no doubt about it: Exede can’t compete with cable and fiber providers when it comes to price or quality of service.

With that said, they’re one of the best options available when traditional ISPs aren’t around. Their 25 Mbps downloads with a premium plan puts them above competitor HughesNet when it comes to top speeds, and they offer options without data caps (albeit with throttling for heavy usage).

Overall, while Exede won’t allow you to stream HD content all day, it’s a viable option for high-speed internet in underserved areas of the United States. We reccomend it above HughesNet for most customers, mainly because of the option for higher data caps that are friendly to streaming YouTube and Netflix.

Viasat Internet (formerly Exede) at a Glance

StatisticViasat Internet (formerly Exede)
Price Range$30.00 - $75.00/mo+
Connection Type(s) Satellite
Customer Recommendation Rating on BroadbandNow.com35.5%
ACSI Customer Service Rating 
Netflix Ranking56th
Population Served308,417,221

Experts

James Webb

James Webb

James Webb is a tech and gadgets expert with a focus on educational content development. He draws on his background in the startup world to make complicated technologies and topics easy to understand for normal folks.

Ask a Question

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.