Unlimited bronze - why the differences between zip code 87123 and 87027

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Zip code 87123 is in Albuquerque. Unlimited Bronze costs $70 (after the teaser period) and throttles after 40GB. 87027 is under 100 miles away (as the crow flies) and Unlimited Bronze costs $100/month after the teaser period and throttles after 35GB. Can anyone explain this to me? Given that you can get faster DSL and cable for less money in 87123, I can see why Viasat might try to attract the odd customer with the lower price, but why the difference in data limit?
Also, when I search on zip code, I can see the Unlimited <metal> plans. When I log into my account and click on "change plan", these aren't offered, even at the inflated price. What's with that? Can I get these plans or not?
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NewMexicoMountains

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Posted 6 months ago

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Andy Schack

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The 87123 zip is obviously a VS1 served market and the other, higher priced one is a VS2 market. 

Andy
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Michael McDowell

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Is that generally true across the country?
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Not sure that's universally the case... the Unlimited Bronze 12, Silver 12 and Gold 12 with the lower thresholds and higher prices are available in my area. I called a local retailer (not my own since he's NRTC and has nothing on Viasat-2 yet), that direct Viasat retailer insisted it was Viasat-2 not Viasat-1 and no plans were currently being sold on Viasat-1 in my area - true? Who knows - I'd have to buy and install the plan to find out what's in the plan for certain.  
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Andy Schack

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Yes. The price will tell whether it is VS1 or VS2. Remember the large beam VS2 markets only offer 12mbps.

Andy
(Edited)
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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That's the problem everybody's having Andy - the pricing makes no sense. In the original poster's case he's in New Mexico which isn't even covered by Viasat-1 - it would be Wildblue-1 or Anik-F2. So Unlimited plans are being offered on those older birds - those must be really special.

And all the while, Viasat remains mum... the reticence is dumbfounding.

As noted we're left with having to buy the plan to figure out what's in the plan and after install see which way the damn dish is pointed to get a reliable answer and I pay more for less on Viasat-2 if pointed at Columbia/Brazil rather than the Galapagos.

FWIW not criticizing you Andy - Viasat has created this circular firing squad all on their own.

FWIW I just called my NRTC dealer/installer to see if I could get some clarification knowing he also did Viasat direct installs - that's did past tense now. He gave them up and only does NRTC installs that pay better but even then those are limited and his installs are only a supplement to his primary business ;)   
(Edited)
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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I got that beat. In my area 10 MILES separated plan options that was significantly different and less expensive.
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NewMexicoMountains

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I suppose I could work outward by zip code until I find the one where it changes :-)
Odder though is that up here a zip code can cover a LARGE area. I'm in 87027, but that's where the post office is physically located. It's 30 miles away and in a different county. (The county line is about halfway between the house and the post office). 87046 is between my house and the post office for 87027. 87017 is closer yet, as the crow flies. So basing service choices and prices on "service" zip code is kind of meaningless.

It's hard to believe that price difference relates to different beams providing the service. At least on the old beam maps, there's only a single one that covers this whole region.
(Edited)
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Correct. Viasat's latest pricing and plan structure just leaves the end user confused and frustrated.
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NewMexicoMountains

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Looks like it's all moot. As I mentioned, the zip code based web search says I can get the unlmited service. My account plans page says no. I called support and it looks like my account plans page is right- unlimited service is still not available for me. That sucks (and doesn't seem to make much sense, either.)
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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By some reports, that may be a blessing in disguise ;)

But yep, adds further fuel to the fire... no mas pantalones... it's a disco inferno!



But I suspect you're well out of your two year commit period - you could become a new customer with no cancel penalties ;)
(Edited)
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Yea. Cancel and re-up as a new customer. It is a two year commitment regardless.
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Bev, Champion

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Call or better still, email Viasat Listens@viasat.com. Odds are getting an unlimited plan means moving to Viasat 2, that's a new account build regardless. Like here for me, only Liberty plans on Viasat 1, which is where I am. I was fortunate to catch the short window here that put me on Unlimited Silver, but now, it's just Liberty plans in my account becasue I'm on viasat 1.
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NewMexicoMountains

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The viasat plans start to rival a cellular provider for complexity in choosing the right plan. I'm currently on Essential 10, which as the name suggests, provides 10GB of priority data. For the same price I can get Liberty 12 which gives 12GB of priority data. Seems like an obvious win, right? Not so fast. Essential 10 has freezone from 3AM to 8AM, which makes it pretty easy to be up early enough to download the podcasts I follow during the freezone. That's about 2GB/month, or the difference in data between the two plans. Getting up before 6AM to download the podcasts ain't gonna happen. Even the "unlimited plans has similar issues. The Bronze plan is $70 in my area (if I could get it.) That's 35 GB of priority data and no freezone. The Liberty 25 is about the same price and still has the freezone. I use Backblaze for cloud backup and it's restricted to run only during freezone time. That's about 10GB in a typical month, or the difference between the Liberty 25 and Bronze priority data.
These plans are such apples and oranges it makes it hard to compare them to one another. You have to truly understand not just how much data you use, but when you use it.
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Exactly, Unlimited plans do have the advantage of never being hard throttled, but just deprioritized, which is a soft throttle, based on beam utilization at any given time, much like cellular plans do with unlimited on some networks - if the tower is busy, it's slow after you use a certain amount, if the tower isn't busy, you get fast speeds.

Same for Viasat Unlimited, if the beam is busy and, you used too much, you get slow speeds, otherwise, when the beam isn't busy, it's full speed even after you use all of your priority data.

The unlimited Bronze or Silver is great for people who aren't much int streaming and, want all or mostly all daytime usage and, don't want to mess with download schedulers for a free zone.
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Andy Schack

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There seems to be some consternation regarding WHY Viasat is pricing the Large Beam VS2 areas (the 12mbps bronze, silver, gold plans) as high as they are. I wasn't kidding or speaking out of ignorance when I have tried to explain this in the past. There is a reason they are priced so high.......they are purposely trying to put a damper on sales in these areas.....to be blunt, they don't want you to become a customer but if you insist on it, you are going to pay dearly. It's really that simple AND it was how it was explained to me from people very high up. 

Andy
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Doesn't make a lot of sense though. Do you want to sell residential internet or not? If not, why bother and price yourself out of the market? Just more stupidity.

https://www.fiercewireless.com/wirele...
(Edited)
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Andy Schack

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All the focus is on the Small Beams....the ones that center around major cities that already have multiple internet options. It makes no sense, I stated as much. There is this HUGE market that has little to no internet option and the decision has been made to ignore this market. I did what I could, I stated my case, I was basically told I didn't know what I was talking about. Why should I.....I've only been in business for 34 yrs...what could I know. 

Andy
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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I suspect the centering around major cities has little to do with residential subscribers and more to do with airlines - that's were the airports are located. As the FierceWireless article states (it's worth a close read):

"ViaSat for over a year now has been able to offer gate-to-gate services, meaning passengers don’t have to wait until the plane is 10,000 feet up to be connected."

Greater capacity demand on beams in/around the airports while on the ground and the airline contracts are more lucrative as the airlines battle for customer share. I haven't flown recently, but have been told by someone who does his cellular unlimited in and around airports struggles when exceeding the threshold - that's where cell (de)prioritization really comes into play apparently with crowded towers . 

On Viasat, once the seat belt light goes out and you're free to move about the country, capacity demand normalizes in flyover country unless you happen to see a squadron of 747s fly overhead here in BFE is my guess.

I think because we are all too close to the situation we (and Viasat) overestimate the demand for satellite internet in rural America at any cost - some/many simply choose to go without if not affordable (most of my "immediate" neighbors do without home service since internet is low on their list of priorities while at home).  

At best, everybody should start taking the mantra of "we anticipate better plans" on Viasat-3 with a grain of salt - as for me let me know when they actually get better.     
(Edited)
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I fly Southwest almost exclusively. They don't use Viasat. The last few years I have flown they offer gate to gate internet. I start watching internet video when I take my seat, and stop once the door is open on landing.

Incidentally, that streaming experience works better than I have ever experienced trying to live stream at home on Viasat.
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Andy Schack

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Old Labs, I also suspect the centering on major cities has a lot to do with government contracts.....it's easy money.

Honestly that's why I'm not very excited about VS3. If they sold off most of VS2's bandwidth, what's to stop them from doing so with VS3. When I bring this up I'm told "Oh no Andy, VS3 is going to give your customer's more bandwidth than they know what to do with" To which I respond "Fool me once, shame on you.....fool me twice........." 

Andy
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That might have been the case with some of the beams, but one was planned to be over me. No military, no airplane, no city. But it is one of the most congested areas on Viasat-1. That means lots of subs to generate $$$$ from. Alas, antenna issues sunk that plan.

It is all rather disappointing. At this point, if I didn't have a Freedom plan, I would dump Viasat, take the 25Mbps Hughesnet plan with a total of 100GB priority, and move on.