More on congestion and throttling

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After a week of diagnostics with Tech Support, it became very clear that my system was running great. Like the countless other posts/complaints, my issue was beam congestion and throttling. From about 6PM through 10PM, without reaching data limits, the speed becomes erratic and averages out at 10mbs (I am paying for 50); even watching a 3 minute YouTube video become painful with buffering and picture quality issues.   Once I reach my data limit, I get throttled back to less than 1mbs., which is essentially makes the system worthless to me. Viaset has a serious peak load capacity issue and their throttling algorithm (which is a mystery) should never throttle anyone back to the extent they do.  I will be better off with a cellular hotspot from Verizon or ATT ...which will happen when my contract runs out. Their marketing hype should mention that you do get the speed you pay for only during hours you are not going to use the service much at all, and when you go over your limit, we cut your speed down to a point where the service is unusable. 
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Bob Schotman

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  • Very disappointed and angry.

Posted 3 months ago

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Oliver

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Welcome to Viasat! Speeds are "up to". And Viasat will change the contract terms when it feels like it. Many older accounts got nerfed.
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ExSatUser

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If it doesn't even work for you, pay the $15/month for the remaining months in the contract.  It is not worth the hassle and aggravation for a some months to keep Viasat around if you are not happy with it. 
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Bob Schotman

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Would be an option if we had choices ....bad cell coverage. Hughes net is has the same issues.  Thompson's fork.
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Steve Frederick-VS1/Beam314, Champion

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A service call might be in order, you might have a bad installation, or equipment issues. 
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jethro

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Always a ray of sunshine aren't you, Steve?
(Edited)
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ggg rt

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Bravo! BEST ADVICE EVER!
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Bob Schotman

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I just filed a complain with the FCC ..for whatever that may be worth....\
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ExSatUser

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Nothing. But how do you know Hughesnet and/or wireless is no better? Have you tested others?
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Bob Schotman

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And how do you know the FCC complaint is worth nothing. To answer your question: I am certain Hughes will not be better (based on the online reviews), and I have had several hotspots, which tend to be much more reliable, consistent and expensive.
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Jim16

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"averages out at 10mbs (I am paying for 50); even watching a 3 minute YouTube video become painful with buffering and picture quality issues. "

You have something set wrong on your end.  Are you trying to watch video at HD quality?  Viasat limits streaming video to 1-2 mbs on almost every plan.
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Bob Schotman

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 I spent (too) many hours on the techline ..over a period of almost two weeks ... their staff tested everything, reset everything. multiple times...nothing is wrong. I am getting occasional speeds in excess of 80mbps at 5 AM and I have no issues with streaming when the traffic is light... early in the morning.  And yes, I have my Viasat browser set on 'auto' for video quality, as recommended by their tech support ....it works fine ...my videos go from fuzzy to crystal clear as the capacity/speed fluctuates. Buffers are at maximum, but the vids periodically stop and the screen icon spins awaiting more data.   Again, this is clearly a capacity issue aggravated by a throttling algorithm that even they do not understand (or care to share). One of the tech support staff checked congestion and told me the number of users on my beam ...at the time he told me, virtually all of them had traffic. During that call, they documented the excessively slow speed ..and gave me a $40 credit.. I fully expected to be throttled back after exceeding my 100GB's ..maybe to  low 20's ...but not down to .5mbps.
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Jim16

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" I fully expected to be throttled back after exceeding my 100GB's ..maybe to  low 20's ...but not down to .5mbps."

Your expectations for satellite internet are not realistic.
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Bob Schotman

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Perhaps ..but I am paying for much more than I am getting .... and they deceived me with their marketing weasel-words. So, I will explore alternatives and cancel the contract as soon as practical. I do not like deceptive business practices
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ExSatUser

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The FCC complaint is worth nothing because people have been complaining about Viasat since it's inception.  Do you see anything changed?
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GabeU, Champion

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With those kinds of data and speed expectations, no, HughesNet would be no better for you.  
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Nathan Hart

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There is nothing deceptive. Did you read the contract? It’s all there for the taking.
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Nathan Hart

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There is nothing deceptive. Did you read the contract? It’s all there for the taking.
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Ron Frank

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Something is strange lately, even stranger than usual.   My service was so slow and spotty 2 days ago it wasnt funny.  Speed test said it was bouncing between 7 and 8 Mbps, which is highly unusual during peak hours here, but nothing wanted to load, pages were timing out.  IT WAS HORRIBLE!   I checked my dashboard 3 times to see if I was over data it was so bad.  A couple hours later everything was "back to normal."

I have been seeing a trend lately that my "numbers" are higher than "normal," during certain heavy usage hours, yet my performance is exactly the same.  At times 2 Mbps was "lightning fast" (for me!) and now I see 8 and cant do anything online?  I got pretty good at guessing my speed by my performance, but quite often now I am finding the numbers WAY OFF from what I have become accustomed to.  It isnt making sense, and frankly it smells a little fishy to me.
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Will Seemore

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Ron, if you haven't tried Testmy.net give them a shot. A lot of those testing sites only show your peak speed during the testing cycle. Testmy.net will show a graph, your speeds could be going up and down like a yo-yo causing you problems.
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Ron Frank

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Thanks, I was going to say speed doesnt matter to me.  I could care less whether I am 2 Mbps or 200 Mbps, my "complaint" is not so much my numbers, but the times I have no "usable" internet.

I WAS going to say that, but apparently I went over data today ... WOO HOO!  I cant even get Facebook to load.  So I checked out Testmy.net, my download to their default test (Texas) came back with a whopping 167 Kbps!

Yup, I could avoid being "restricted" by purchasing more data, but on my tight budget its rough, I would lose my 12 - 5 free zone, my regular unrestricted internet isnt much better performance wise, so I refuse to pay more, for more of it.

The last I looked "unlimited" was no longer available in my area again, when it was last offered it was limited to 12 Mbps, still had data caps so I would still have to watch everything I do, still on VS1, still the same congestion, no free zone so EVERYTHING would count against my data, IF I get restricted, throttled, prioritized, whatever its 24/7 for the remainder of my billing cycle, no more unrestricted speed and usage 12 - 5, no more video extender, I would be stuck watching video at their restricted quality PERMANENTLY!

And all this additional restriction and headache could be mine for the meager sum of 3 TIMES WHAT IM PAYING NOW!

Sorry, I am pig headed and I am fed up!  I would rather suffer this week with 5 hours of internet a day than give this company another dime of my money every month!

As soon as something better comes along .......  I HATED Hughesnet when I had them, but honestly, their number is right here in front of me, Ive been tempted!  If for ANY reason I lose the Exede 12/10 plan Im on with my 12 - 5 free zone and I am forced to "upgrade," my new unlimited plan will NOT be with Viasat!
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ExSatUser

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Nothing wrong with the plan you got, but you can't go over your data limit.
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Ron Frank

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I know I cant switch plans and ever go back, but I sure WISH I could get higher data on MY plan!  15 or 20 would surely get me through the month.  IF I go over with 10 its usually the last week.  Ive gotten pretty good at watching my data but it still SUCKS I HAVE TO!

I would go "unlimited" for $100 MORE a month IF I could cut the cord with DirecTV but we know how that goes ....  SMH
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GabeU, Champion

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Ron, 

If your speed is decent during the 12-5 free zone, you may want to look into PlayOn Cloud.  It's not cord cutting, but you can still download streamed items that have been converted into mp4 files.  And I say if your speed is decent because the files are usually somewhere around 1GB for an hour long show in HD.  Again, it's a file, not a live stream, so you can't watch it until you finish downloading the whole thing.  Still, it may be a great way to take advantage of that free zone.  And with a smart phone, which you have to have in order to set up the recordings, you can also schedule the downloading of the files to the phone, so you could schedule them to download during that free zone.  You'd then transfer the files from the phone to your computer or other devices.  

It's just an idea.  If I still had my old daily fill legacy plan with HughesNet, which only had 425MB per day, I might do this, as those plans had a 2-7 free zone, and it was fast enough to download about 3GB during those five hours.  Now, I just use my 50GB of Bonus Data to do it.  

Again, it's not cutting the cord, but it's a way to stream without having to watch it live, and you keep the files.  And, best of all, no buffering.  
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ExSatUser

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Very good suggestions.

Ron is on one of the old Classic plans with a 5 hour free zone. They work great as long as you dont go over priority data. After that, all bets are off.

I dont blame him for not giving up that plan. He will just have to pay more money for some over hyped, over priced, "unlimited" plan that wont be much better if you go over your priority data.
(Edited)
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GabeU, Champion

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Is the speed during the free zone affected when one exhausts their data, or does that remain untouched by the throttling that will occur as a result?   
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ExSatUser

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Suppose to be untouched
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Ron Frank

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NO when I enter my free zone all restrictions are off.  I have commented many times even when NOT restricted my speed JUMPS at midnight!  I have literally seen it jump from 4 Mbps at 11:59 to 16 Mbps at 12:01 !  I have long said "congestion" is not the only issue here, now they are admitting to slowing us down during our regular usage to make room for more subscribers.

I dont watch a lot of video or download so that doesnt really affect me.  I do however get upset ... FREQUENTLY when I have trouble accessing email and social media etc.  I come completely unglued when I have my vehicle torn apart and find I need something for it and it takes 5 mins to access an auto parts site.

I am accustomed to data transfers after midnight.  Im a nite person so no biggie, but during the day when I sit down at my computer because I need or want to do something online I WANT MY INTERNET TO WORK!

Ive actually had to quit playing some social media games because our clan, guild, whatever was under attack and before I could even get the war map to load, the entire battle was over.  The points reset at 7PM so its a rush to attack and take more ground before the reset .... internet?  here? at 6:45PM?  BWAAHAAHAAHAA!!!

In my situation going over data is a reasonable exchange for the benefits, at least in my opinion.  When I get riled is when my internet is painfully slow or useless when NOT RESTRICTED!  It also kills me that a year ago my restricted speed was 1 - 3 Mbps, now its is BELOW 1 from 5AM till midnight.  When my restricted speed was 1 - 3 my "normal" peak speed was only 2 - 4 so most times there was literally NO DIFFERENCE!  So basically you could say ... I had "unlimited internet, with up to 4 Mbps!"  LOL
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Martin Seebach

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Gabe, I don't see an improvement in the 'open' hours of 2AM to 5AM once the so called priority data limit has been reached. This whole issue can be stated simply: Viasat is aware of throughput maximums per beam, locale and satellite. Then sells  between 3 to 5 times of what they know is available. Once this fact is apparent one is already locked in to 24 months. If that doesn't stifle the customer who generally has no other options short of building out their own signal repeater stations the contract is a very long and binding weasel clause in Viasat's favor.

At this point the customer is sitting with no method available to contact them when Viasat should know there are problems to be worked on. In my case I've written quite a few diatribes pertaining to exactly this issue and not wasted time, energy and emotion because they are not current. One administration that currently is willing to hear and hopefully do something about it is USDA. Viasat recently qualified for some ludicrous amount of cash for providing working broadband to rural homes at a reasonable cost. The RFP does not delve into current customer happiness so is a clean start as far as legality is concerned.

As with many interactions the more opaque Viasat can make their back office the better for them and worse for the customer. .  .
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fmj77

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I had the Classic 10 plan for years with the 5 hour LNFZ. I made good use of the free zone and some months used over 200GB of data. The bad news was that I had to severely restrict what I did outside those hours. I learned how to manage my usage, but it was difficult sometimes to not go over the 10GB of priority data.
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fmj77

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I had the Classic 10 plan for years with the 5 hour LNFZ. I made good use of the free zone and some months used over 200GB of data. The bad news was that I had to severely restrict what I did outside those hours. I learned how to manage my usage, but it was difficult sometimes to not go over the 10GB of priority data.
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ExSatUser

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The way they destroyed the Freedom plan, I wish the Classic plans were still available. I would have took those plans before those crappy "unlimited" plans with video resolution downgrading.
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fmj77

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I'm surprised you were never offered Liberty plans. I've got a choice of 5 different ones right now.
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ExSatUser

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Yep. Never. Never had the Evolution plan offered either.

Viasat's variable plan md pricing structure has a lot to be desired. But the dont care about customer numbers. They care about getting more revenue our of customers. That is how they measure their success or failure with residential service.
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lorettalea

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You may want to check if Windows Updates have caused some issues for me with hardware conflicts.

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Will Seemore

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Rarely do I disagree with someone complaining about Viasat but if you are getting a 10 Mbps average that is pretty good for satellite internet. Also if you think speeds would improve with a wireless hotspot, that probably isn't happening. They pretty much max out at 10-12 Mbps. I should know, I dumped Viasat for Verizon wireless. The big advantage I have found with the hotspot is it doesn't seem to be effected by weather. Also the ATT & Verizon wireless can suffer from congestion issues that can have nothing to do with the service being over sold in your area. I live in the I-95 corridor in Central Virginia. Heavy weekend summer traffic and my weekend internet is about as good as dial-up. I got an 8 kbps speed test mid day during the Memorial day weekend.
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Nathan Hart

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Thank you!!! I am so glad that SOMEONE finally pointed out that there is congestion on wireless phone networks! Especially in remote under served areas. My town has a population of less then 500 people and Verizon Wireless drops to a crawl every evening.
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GabeU, Champion

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Yep.  I notice that my speed is affected on my Tracfone in the evening hours, and is the absolute worst on Friday and Saturday evenings.  
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Ron Frank

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LOL  I never dealt with "data" but as a truck driver that ran 47 of the lower 48, (everything but Maine??) I KNOW about cell service!  What carrier are you with?  Who owns the tower?  How many others want to use it?  What carrier are they with?  How far are you from the tower?

OH YEA!  Cell towers are VERY prioritized!
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Will Seemore

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From what my research tells me most cell towers are owned by tower companies and not cell phone carriers. If information out on the web is correct Verizon no longer owns any towers. AT&T and T-mobile still own towers, the others just lease space on them from 3rd parties. All the towers in my area are owned by tower companies, and both Verizon & AT&T use them, so there is no difference between the services here as far as reliability.
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Will Seemore

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In the 6 months or so of having Verizon wireless the congestion issue on evenings and weekends didn't show up until approximately a month ago. I live in the woods and the trees leafing out in early spring made no difference. What I wonder is the congestion a seasonal thing with school being out and more people traveling I-95 on vacation or was it the max exodus of satellite users going to cell wireless internet in my area? It does seem strange that I was getting 5-10 Mbps 24-7 and then almost overnight it turned into dial-up on evenings and weekends.
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ExSatUser

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I think Verizon does own the towers, but it is just a subsidiary. You wont find the Verizon name on them, but look who owns the company that owns the towers.
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Ron Frank

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That is the corporate world!  Taxes, liability EVERYTHING plays a part!  Verizon owns towers but under a fictitious name to "cover their ass"  If someone falls from a tower or a tower falls and kills people the suit can ONLY be brought against the "holding company" that "owns" the towers.

Our landline phones out here are Embark a Verizon subsidiary.  Like I said, for taxes and liability purposes.  Their logo on the vans and everything even says EMBARK and underneath "a Verizon Company"
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ExSatUser

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Yep. Viasat will probably spin off a company for residential internet :).
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Brian Shackelford

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What most people do not comprehend about "throttling" is that it isn't just about slowing you down, but it is about prioritizing other traffic ahead of your traffic.  Nowhere does ViaSat guarantee you will always have usable internet, they only guarantee priority.  

So if you are on Liberty your traffic is lower priority than those that have other plans and not gone over capacity.  If you have gone over capacity, then you get prioritized below the Liberty users.  This is in addition to their government, military, commercial, and business customers.

If I had to guess the heirarchy would go:

Military/Govt 
Commercial/Business
Data Capped Plans
Liberty Plans
Exceeded Data Cap Users

It is a double punch when speed is not only slowed but also your traffic is de-prioritized to make sure other traffic can get through.  On top of that Exceed uses hardware / technology to cache and compress data content to reduce bandwidth utilization.  In my past experience, once the connection speeds drop below about 512 Kbps, everything pretty much stops as the  latency of the satellite by default and the other pieces in the chain just can't function at the slower speeds and the connections just time out.

I remember when they launched the new satellite there was an implied promise of freedom plans for all, but I guess the Antennae mishap and a growing demand has outpaced the ability of ViaSat to deliver.  I also believe that VIaSat's bread and butter do not lie with the home consumer, but with the larger Govt,  Military, and Commercial customers.

As to Central VA, unfortunately you have them all.  Airlines use their service, we are a heavy military state, and DC is right there to our north.  Beam 328 (I think that is the one I was one - at least on the old Sat) simply is overloaded.  

I can't fault the company for wanting to make money, but it seems that their ability to deliver does not match their capacity.  For me, I was fortunate to get a wireless plan with unlimited data for a lower fee per month.  Unfortunately that plan is no longer available either.

Rural users are getting the short end of the stick on internet services, but I wouldn't trade the sound of frogs, crickets, or the site of thousands of fireflies lighting up the sky behind our house for even the fastest internet.  If you live in a rural area - remember why you do and count your blessings.  Less internet and more of God's beauty in nature!

DISCLAIMER:  I have nothing to do with ViaSat and the opinions or information offered above is my own comprehension after many, many hours of conversations with ViaSat support and my experiences in working with enterprise networking products.  I have NO experience with Satellite so I may be completely wrong in my summation of the potential issues and do not claim to be an expert in this area.
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ExSatUser

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No. You are well versed on what you described above. Good job!!!
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Martin Seebach

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You are lucky to be able to contact support when things get sketchy. Many of us can use the phone only through wifi that stands or falls with connectivity.
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Ron Frank

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NOPE!  SORRY!  First off Viasat doesnt guarantee ANYTHING!  And it is highly unreasonable for a consumer to assume purchasing internet service from an internet service provider means you "may or may not get internet!"  Its a normal understanding that will hold up in any court of law, when paying for a product or service, there is a reasonable assumption that you will receive said product or service!  

They advertise their service based on SPEED,  everything is about SPEED and their "up to" claims, even calling it "high speed internet" when in fact many of us in rural areas never see anything near their "up to" claims, even when their original business model said "to offer high speed internet to rural areas."  The contract used to say "speeds may be slower during peak usage" it is only recently they changed it to read "some subscribers may experience outages during times of heavy usage."

The part about not faulting Viasat for wanting to make money and customers getting the short end of the stick goes hand in hand, the "bread and butter" is in INVESTORS and the way to get investors is new technology, and new subscribers.  Those numbers dont reflect the performance of the technology or the satisfaction of the subscribers, just plan a new satellite or two, and lock 25,000 more subscribers into an ironclad 2 year contract, the books show positive revenue and growth ... job complete.

As for living in a "rural" area ... I moved here from the city.  The greater New York City area, and just because I enjoy the peace, tranquility, freedom and lifestyle out here, does not mean I wish to be cut off from the world.  I pay the price.  I deal with the latency.  I deal with weather.  I deal with watching my data usage.  I deal with my restriction if I go over my data.  IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK WHEN I AM NOT OVER DATA, AND SIT AT MY COMPUTER TO GET ONLINE THAT I HAVE INTERNET???

Now for the new satellite launch and unlimited .... LMAO!  3+ years waiting on that promise!  I am in a HEAVILY congested area (if not THE MOST heavily congested) and VS1 has no beam "dedicated" to my area.  Now I learn "allegedly" due to the antenna malfunction, VS2 has no coverage here either!

This hit a nerve.  Im gonna quit now.  I live where I live.  I want internet, I need internet, I PAY FOR INTERNET, and to me what they are doing is nothing shy of taking advantage of people with no other options, no different than selling a bottle of water for $35 after a hurricane devastates a city.
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SonyaA

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Just hang in there guys SpaceX has made its first drop of low lying satellites and more in the works. Word is as soon as later this year starting with Northern states there will be other options. Amazon is also filing to do the same thing. Then Viasat can reaped what they sowed. 
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fmj77

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Sonya, I'm being cautiously optimistic about these LEO and MEO companies. I have my doubts whether any will work out as planned. But, hopefully at least one of them will become a viable 3rd option for those of us who can only get satellite.
(Edited)
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ExSatUser

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The bar is set pretty low to beat satellite internet. 5Mbps with low latency and truly unlimited data would do it.
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fmj77

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ExSat, I would take a plan like that in a heartbeat!
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ExSatUser

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Yea. You dont realize how bad satellite internet latency is until you use a different system in your home.