Why Is Satellite Internet So Expensive?

By Charles Jackson

Broadband satellite Internet connections have advantages and disadvantages.
i Satellite TV image by Bryan Crowe from Fotolia.com

Satellite Internet is infamously expensive but unfortunately, for many people, satellite is the only way to get anything resembling broadband Internet access in areas where DSL or cable broadband is unavailable. The only other options, which are also far more affordable, is dial-up and ISDN, but these methods are too slow for most of today's Internet. Satellite Internet is also slower than other broadband connections and there is an inherent reliability issue due to weather conditions and more.


Satellite Internet has an extremely long round trip since, as the name suggests, it uses satellites orbiting the Earth. This means that, for example, your Google search requests are beamed up to a satellite on a round-trip of tens of thousands of miles. This compares to the much smaller round-trip of other Internet connections which basically just use cables to the local phone exchange.


Satellites contain, unsurprisingly, extremely expensive pieces of hardware, costing many millions of dollars to build and millions more to launch into space. Because of this, it makes the whole business of satellite Internet extremely expensive. This is what makes Satellite Internet bandwidth so expensive. For homes which already have satellite dishes installed, the setup costs are likely to be cheaper since it may be possible to use some of your existing hardware to help you access the Internet.

Other Hardware

The hardware that you need to buy and install to access Satellite Internet is also expensive. You will need a satellite dish, a satellite modem and all of the necessary cables. From the main providers of Satellite Internet, you can usually buy everything in a package, including installation and your monthly subscription.


A DSL connection to the Internet is something that any home user can easily setup once they have purchased a broadband Internet account. All they need to do is plug in the broadband router and follow a few basic instructions. It is quite a different matter for Satellite Internet, in which a professional contractor needs to come to your house to install all of the hardware and cabling. It is not something that an average home user is able to do.