ViaSat's new Exede service finally offers satellite users faster speeds of 12 Mbps, but has been somewhat underwhelming for customers
. It isn't available to most users, may never be available to some, and still features low daily usage caps that are worse than WildBlue's previous offerings. Still it's an improvement, and HughesNet also appears poised to offer an upgraded tier of their own. Currently, HughesNet offers
a 1 Mbps tier with a 250 MB cap for $60, a 1.5 Mbps tier with a 350 MB daily
cap for $80, or a 2 Mbps tier with a 450 MB cap for $110 (though there are three month promo discounts).
That's not particularly competitive or compelling, and our user reviews
pretty clearly reflect this. Based on tech postings in our HughesNet forums
however, HughesNet is cooking up a new fourth generation, 20 Mbps tier that should finally shake up these stale offerings.
It's way too early for pricing or usage caps specifics, but you can probably expect the service to be priced somewhere around Exede's range. ViaSat's Exede provides 12 Mbps of speed with a 7 GB monthly usage cap (up & down combined) for $50, 15 GB cap for $80, and 25 GB of monthly usage for $130.
HughesNet's new tier depends on the launch of HughesNet's new Jupiter satellite, which is currently slated
to launch sometime during the middle of this year. Launch delays are usually the rule and not the exception, so any new tiers would arrive at the earliest at the tail end of this year. "All in all my impression was Gen 4 will be a serious improvement not a let down like Exede," insists the tech.
Both HughesNet and ViaSat now have to deal with another contender in the ring, with Verizon's announcement of a fixed LTE residential service. Verizon's offering speeds of 5-12 Mbps with a 10 GB cap ($60), 20 GB cap ($90) or 30 GB cap ($120). The new entry should help bring some much needed competition, cap and pricing pressure to a satellite broadband sector that's grown painfully complacent in providing sub-par and over-priced service to a captive audience.