Potential new customer in Central Texas

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  • Updated 8 months ago
I am in Central Texas in a canyon in the Hill Country. We have DSL but never get the speeds promised. LTE cell reception here is also hit or miss so MIFI's not an option. I wanted to have a backup Internet ISP for our home business and noticed a sign on our local highway for High Speed Internet with a phone number.

I called and a woman answered Hello? with a sleepy voice until I mentioned the sign and then she perked up and told me she was a rep for ViaSat in San Antonio. I told her I hadn't heard anything good about satellite Internet, particularly about sat companies like Excede and Hughes. She did admit that ViaSat was formerly Excede but that things have changed and with the newest satellite everything is superfast. She said we were in the unlimited area for the new satellite.

She quoted me two "residential" plans:

Unlimited Bronze with 12Mbps down and 3Mbps up - $85.00 per month but only $65 for first three months

Unlimited Silver with 25Mbps and 3-5Mbps up - $115 month / $85 month for first 3 mos.

Free standard install 
2 year contract

She also offered a Gold plan she said was really for businesses but I neglected to write down the price - it was over $160.

She bragged she and her other customers often got higher speeds than what she quoted and said that the Silver plan was good enough for streaming.

She never mentioned any plan with data caps.

After reading the conflicting comments on this board, and not knowing where most of the commenters live, its hard to determine if my location is in that sweet spot where we will get fast speeds until they oversell our area. I'm willing to spend the money for one year of good speeds even if the second year goes downhill.

I did see someone in South Texas saying they had good speeds for awhile but recently their speed took a dive.

Anyone else on this board in Central Texas?
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Coco Cooks

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Posted 8 months ago

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Terry Hill

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All Viasat plans have data caps, there are some beams out there that are great so maybe one of the Vets on here can explain better to you what to look for. What was your dsl speeds?
(Edited)
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Steve Frederick-VS1/Beam314, Champion

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Coco, you should go to the website viasat.com to see what plans are available in your zip code. Be aware that "unlimited" is a misnomer, there are data limits on all plans, where you will be slowed down after using up the "priority" data for the plans.

This is from the website for a zip code in the hill country:

On the Unlimited Bronze 12, Silver 25, Gold 50, and Platinum 100 service plans, after 40, 60, 100, or 150 GB of data usage, respectively, we may prioritize your data behind other customers during network congestion.
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Stephen Rice, Champion

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She gets a commission for every person she signs up. Think about that before you trust anything she says.

Your best bet is to stick around this forum and see if you can find someone in your area to give you an honest opinion.

Viasat is great for me in the Baton Rouge area but in other parts of the country people barely get 1 mbps while they pay for speeds up to 30 mbps. It really just depends on how much traffic is in your area.

If you aren’t happy about not getting the speeds you feel you should have with DSL, you are almost guaranteed to not like Viasat.

My best advice is to never trust a commission based sales person. I will give her credit for at least being upfront about the introductory price and contract. A lot of dealers don’t disclose that information.
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Terry Hill

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I would say if there offering the platinum then that is one of the magic beams correct or no?
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Stephen Rice, Champion

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Probably, but Viasat reserves the right to make things suck. It’s in everyone’s contract.

My service doesn’t suck and I pay $60 a month, while others pay $150 a month for service that sucks. Nothing makes sense anymore with Viasat.
(Edited)
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Coco Cooks

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Thanks for the advice so far.

The Viasat website prices for my zip code are cheaper by $15 per month than the ones quoted by the rep in San Antonio. I'm guessing she's adding a little bump for herself. They also show a Gold and Platinum ($200 month) plan.

My DSL router "reports" 3Mbps but speed test sites generally report 1 to 2Mbps. It's not that I'm not happy with DSL, just that I'd like to get faster speeds and have a backup (we sell products online)  but no one offers an alternative here - I'm surrounded by hills so wireless internet via antenna is no go except for one tiny local company that has a direct line of sight tower - we tried them but they are also oversold and now only offer 768Kbps for $60 per month.

My favorite item on the Viasat order page is the No Contract Option. For a $300 fee you don't have to lock into a contract. I assume this is for the equipment? Or maybe just the install? Do they still ask for the equipment back?

I noticed that some commenters on this thread report good speeds and the others are pessimistic that we will get better speeds. This is what makes the decision difficult - not knowing anyone else around Central Texas with Viasat.

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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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If you can afford the Gold or Platinum plans, that is the high density spot beam on the new satellite. Anything else, I would advise against.

You are correct about the $300 up front fee. No early termination fee. But I am sure you will still have to return the leased equipment. The early termination fee has nothing to do with the non-returned equipment fee.

If you have other questions, just ask. I would caution you though on speeds your neighbors may or may not get. A lot depends on the plan they have, the satellite they are on, and how much data they have used.
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Coco Cooks

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At $150 a month for Gold we would have to consider dropping Dish and using OTA (we have the antenna) and use Viasat with the Youtube $40 month streaming package which includes the few cable/sat channels we watch on Dish. In the past few years Dish has raised their rate here $5 or more every six months so we are now at $140.

"I would caution you though on speeds your neighbors may or may not get. A lot depends on the plan they have, the satellite they are on, and how much data they have used."
If I only had some neighbors with Viasat I could get the info I need.

Anyone know of a link to a photo of Viasat's current dish? I could then look for neighbors who have a similar dish when driving around.



(Edited)
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Coco Cooks

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I found some satellite photos via Google - looks just like a satellite TV "dish" only black, with the words Viasat or Exede on them. Sound about right?
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Neighbors are not going to help unless a) they are on the same satellite, b) they are on the same plan, and c) they remain under priority data when they tell you how the service works.

Also, dont drop Dish. In no way, shape or form is Viasat intended for cord cutters, regardless of plan. Just remember, "unlimited" isnt necessarily unlimited data.
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Jim16

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"My DSL router "reports" 3Mbps but speed test sites generally report 1 to 2Mbps"

Coco, all "unlimited" plans will throttle your streaming speeds to what you are getting with your DSL. 1-2Mbps or less.

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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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So streaming will be no better and perhaps worse than what you have now
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GabeU, Champion

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Yes.  It looks similar to a satellite TV dish, but dark.  Like this....

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Ricky5

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KEEP THE DSL. your welcome. If your problem with DSL is that it doesn’t deliver promised speeds then you’ll have the same problem with Viasat. I have liberty saying speeds may be up to 12 mbps but never are. After you use up your data (which will probably happen) you’ll get slower speeds.

With viasat
- no movie streaming
- no gaming
- poor customer service
- ping is through the roof.

Just being real. DSL ain’t that great but it’s way better than this. It’s also way cheaper.
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fmj77

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I would take DSL any day over satellite. Coco Cooks, you have been warned.
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steve heller

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I have just signed up for a new gold plan and it seems pretty good so far. I'm getting 15-65 mbps down while under my "soft cap" of 100 GB, which should be enough for my normal monthly use. Upload speeds are pretty slow, usually 1 mbps or so, although I just got a 3.6 mbps test at 6:30 AM on Saturday.

$170/month is quite a bit, but I don't have any other non-satellite options aside from ISDN (if they still have that out here). I'm too far from the central office to get DSL, and there is no cable out here either. I have tried a Verizon hotspot but it was terrible.

I would stick with DSL if I were you.
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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I think in general the high density spot beams perform well. The problem is there isn't many of them, the coverage area for a beam is small, and the plans can be very expensive.
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Coco Cooks

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@Steve Heller

There seems to be a lot of negativity on this board and I'm sure its because many people have been screwed by Excede/Viasat in some way.

But I also see several people (like yourself, but also others outside this thread) who report good speeds with their plan, though not all the time. VetSatUser seems to think speeds depend on the beam. I have no idea how one determines what beam you get. The local  sales rep stated, truthfully or not, that we were in a special unlimited area that had access to the new satellite. Could be BS for all I know. But she didn't try to sell me the Gold plan. She pushed Silver.

The Gold Plan shows up as $150 per month ($100 for first 3 mo.) when I look at the Viasat web page. Are you paying $170 because you got locked into a plan when it was higher? Or is it because prices are different depending on regions/zip codes?

As far as DSL, as stated originally, we have no plans on giving it up. We're looking for a backup that will also help us separate our business traffic from our personal. I'm assuming we could pull off two ISPs in one home by using separate bands on the respective routers.
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Casual Observer

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Yes there is a lot of negativity here. Most recently it stems from a unilateral policy change to some legacy plans on Viasat-1.

If you're seeing the Platinum plan then it's most assuredly on Viasat-2. People's experiences are beam dependent based upon the number of subscribers there are on their specific beam. The more subscribers there are the more opportunity for their beam to be busy and subject to network congestion.

Not sure why the individual you spoke with with suggests Gold/Platinum plans are for "business" - they are all residential plans. There are separate plans dedicated to businesses - see: https://www.exede.com/business/

Note that prices on the web site do not include the $10 per month equipment lease nor do they include taxes. That may explain some of the price differences you're encountering. They may have been including the easy care option also.

The no long term contract option ($300) simply covers the cost of install and allows you to cancel at anytime without the early termination fee - $15 per month for each remaining month of the initial two year commitment - you'd only save $$$ if canceling in the 1st 3 months.

Viasat maintains ownership of the equipment, you must lease and you need to return the equipment (modem and TRIA) when terminating service.

Yes separate router is possible for two services.

Review the legal documents at: https://www.exede.com/legal/

In particular, the customer agreement, unlimited data policy and network management policy. Understand prioritization and video stream throttling on those "unlimited" plans.

Choose wisely...
(Edited)
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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I dont think it depends on the beam, I know it depends on the beam.

Beams are assigned by geographic location. If you are in an area serviced by both Viasat-1 and two (appears you are), you have two beams serving you. You will want to be on Viasat-2 (a white triangle modem).
(Edited)