HughesNet (HughesNet Network Systems), based in Germantown, MD, is a US-based satellite broadband provider offering service in both the residential and commercial sectors. In addition to providing satellite internet service, the company is also the world's largest manufacturer of satellite broadband hardware. Since 2011, HughesNet has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the EchoStar Corporation
, who also owns DISH Network
. EchoStar Corp acquired HughesNet in a deal that was valued at nearly $2 billion. Prior to that acquisition HughesNet was owned by SkyTerra Communications, a private equity firm.
Current & Future Satellites
In 2012 HughesNet launched the JUPITER satellite. This satellite featured exponentially expanded throughput capacity over the previous satellite, SPACEWAY®
, that was previously providing broadband coverage to HughesNet's customers. By placing this satellite in orbit HughesNet increased maximum download speeds for its customers from 1.5mbps to 15mbps. The average total price customers pay for these new JUPITER plans is $75 per month
. In late 2015 HughesNet announced plans to launch, by October 2016, their next generation satellite JUPITER™ 2/EchoStar XIX, manufactured by Loral. With over 150 Gbps throughput, HughesNet claims that JUPITER 2 will be the world's highest-capacity broadband satellite
. Coverage from this new satellite will span across the U.S., Canada and Central America. HughesNet expects increased download speeds (up to 30mbps) and data plans.
About HughesNet Plans
generally feature download speeds that range from 5mbps up to 15 mbps. Upload speeds are between 1mbps and 2mbps. Data plans feature caps that range from 5GB to 20GB of "anytime" data and, additionally, from 5GB to 50GB of "Bonus Bytes" (see below). Monthly service prices range from promo pricing of $39.99/mo to $89.99/mo. All data plans require a $9.99/mo modem lease fee. Upon a customer exceeding their data limit, they will either be throttled down to dial-up internet speeds or, if they have "Smart Browsing" in the plan, they will still be able to browse the web and check their email at their plan's original speeds. All HughesNet data packages require a two year commitment.
Shortly after Jupiter's launch, HughesNet acquired a third-party browser acceleration company's product that expedites the loading of web pages, thereby largely negating the negative effect of longer latency (or lag) periods normally associated with satellite internet. HughesNet calls this "Smart Browsing" and it is available in some of their packages. Additionally, those customers purchasing plans featuring Smart Browsing will enjoy the benefit of not having regular browsing activities slowed down (examples: shopping online, checking email, etc...). Downloading large files, streaming videos or other data-intensive activity is still at dial-up speeds.
All data plans come with a certain number of gigabytes of "anytime" data that the customer can use anytime outside the hours of 2am to 8am. HughesNet then doubles the data ("Bonus Bytes") - giving the customer extra data, but with the catch that these extra bytes can only be used during the 2am to 8am hours.
Spaceway (Connect) Plans
Less than 15% of HughesNet current customers are on the legacy SPACEWAY satellite. These plans are only offered to customers in the most rural areas of the U.S. Jupiter Plans are not available in areas where Connect Plans are offered. On this satellite there are two "Connect" plans - "Connect" and "Connect Pro". Both plans feature download speeds up to 5mbps. The Connect Plan gives the user 10GB of monthly total data (5 Anytime + Bonus Bytes) and the Connect Plus offers 20GB of total data. Smart Browsing is not featured on any Connect Plans.
Most HughesNet customers derive service from the Jupiter satellite. Plans on this satellite are divided between those areas in "growth beams" and those in "standard beam" zones. Growth beams areas are areas that HughesNet have targeted as having excess capacity on Jupiter and therefore plans in these areas tend to feature faster speeds and more data for less cost.
Standard Beam Plans - There are 4 Standard Beam plans. They are named Choice, Prime, Pro and Max. These plans range from $49.99 per month plus the modem leasing fee to $129.99 per month plus the monthly modem fee. Only the Max plan features Smart Browsing.
Growth Beam Plans - There are 4 Growth Beam plans: Choice, Prime Plus, Pro Plus and Ultra. All plans here feature Smart Browsing except for the introductory Choice plan. Monthly costs range from $59.98 per month to $99.98 per month.