Verizon Wireless vs. HughesNet

by John Costa

HughesNet offers high-speed Internet service throughout the United States using satellite technology. This technology allows residents and businesses in remote and rural areas to access the Internet where dial-up or broadband Internet may not be available. Verizon Wireless offers wireless mobile broadband Internet to users with a broadband-enabled device, including mobile phones and computers.

Plans

Satellite Internet, such as the service provided by HughesNet, can be more expensive than non-satellite Internet because of the high cost related to delivering the service. HughesNet requires a 24-month commitment when subscribing to a plan and fees are levied when terminating services early. Verizon allows customers to subscribe to monthly plans without long-term service commitments. Both Internet service providers offer monthly plans with data consumption and speed limits that cater to a range of customers, from moderate to frequent Internet users.

Speeds

Speeds with HughesNet depend on individual plans, ranging from up to one to two megabytes per second (Mbps). With Verizon, users can expect download speeds of between 600 and 1.4 Kbps in the 3G coverage area, between 400 and 700 Kbps in the extended 3G coverage and between 60 and 80 Kbps outside the Mobile Broadband Rate and Coverage Area. Within Verizon's 4G network, customers can expect download speeds of between five and 12 Mbps.

Data Caps

Data consumption caps with HughesNet depend on monthly plans purchased by customers, with allowances ranging between 200 and 400 megabytes per day or six to 12 gigabytes in a 30-day period. With Verizon, customers can purchase monthly allowances to meet individual needs ranging between one and 10 gigabytes. HughesNet users are locked into plans with data consumption caps set for up to 24 months, whereas Verizon customers can modify their cap each month. While additional charges apply to Verizon customers who exceed a monthly allowance, download speeds are reduced when HughesNet users exceed the daily allowance.

Availability

HughesNet is available in the contiguous United States to customers with a clear view of the southern sky. Verizon Wireless provides its mobile broadband service throughout the continental United States, as well as Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. While HughesNet customers can only access the Internet at the location where their HughesNet satellite dish has been installed, customers with Verizon Wireless can access the Internet anywhere within Verizon's network coverage area, including at hotspots around the country.

Equipment

A phone line and a dial-up data modem are not required with either service. With HughesNet, the Internet connection reaches a subscriber’s computer via a satellite that communicates through Hughes Network Operating Centers to a satellite dish and modem installed at the subscriber's home or business. A broadband-enabled device is required for Verizon's mobile broadband service, which can be accessed using 3G or 4G devices. These devices include mobile phones and tablets and personal computers connected to a Verizon wireless modem.

About the Author

John Costa covers travel, public policy and consumer issues for various online publications. He has also worked as a government adviser since 2005, developing policies and programs. Costa holds a B.A. in history and political science from the University of Toronto, as well as an M.A. in comparative politics from the University of York in England.

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