Unlimited Data - No Speed

  • 1
  • Problem
  • Updated 2 weeks ago
  • (Edited)
Viasat provides Video Extender with the lower price plans. The Extender can cut GB usage by 40% or more by reducing resolution. Then the network becomes more and more congested and since your speed is then probably prioritized over the data cap, streaming video in the evening is impossible. So, you are forced to upgrade. What Viasat is not forthcoming about, they will not provide Video Extender on the more expensive plans and resolution is increased, whether you like it or not.  Your GB skyrockets with the same usage. You quickly max out the 100 GB plan, your speed is prioritized and you are at less than 1 mbps when the network inevitably becomes congested. Again, at a much higher price, you and your family are deprived of a relaxed evening watching streaming videos. In desperation, you upgrade to the highest price plan at 150GB, but wait....resolution is increased to 1080, you are using much more bandwidth, you max out the data cap and you are back to less than 1 mbps during network congestion at a much higher price.  
Another issue, when you upgrade equipment or order a new installation, you must sign the legally binding Viasat Service Agreement on the technician's smart phone. That document is one smart phone page. Then you get a hard copy document by email which is several pages and Viasat has transposed your electronic signature to a document you have not read nor agreed to.
I believe there are legal grounds for relief and possibly even a class action. However, for rural residents, there is only one internet provider. (Disallowing Hughes Net who is not competitive).
Until Elon Musk can get his thousands of internet satellites operational, us country folk are just screwed. 
Photo of Stinger

Stinger

  • 5 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
  • screwed

Posted 2 weeks ago

  • 1
Photo of Homeskillet

Homeskillet

  • 470 Posts
  • 182 Reply Likes
How is Hughesnet not competitive?
Photo of Stinger

Stinger

  • 5 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Thanks for your response. I compared the Hughesnet offerings to Viasat. Hughesnet offers less GB for the same money with the same speed prioritizing policy as Viasat. So, you could get less than 1 mbps speed even quicker in the billing month.
Photo of Homeskillet

Homeskillet

  • 470 Posts
  • 182 Reply Likes
It really is impossible to compare the services unless you have close neighbors that have used both. Neither service guarantees anything and of the two in my area Viasat's TV commercials project the best case scenario which few customers have. With any internet that is not hardwired what matters is location, location, location.
Photo of GabeU

GabeU, Champion

  • 2334 Posts
  • 1425 Reply Likes
Hughesnet offers less GB for the same money with the same speed prioritizing policy as Viasat.
It's the complete opposite for me, both on data amount and cost, as well as speed.  And the prioritization policy between the two is not the same.  Other than a reduction in speed, they're quite different.  
Photo of ExSatUser

ExSatUser

  • 1779 Posts
  • 1030 Reply Likes
You have the option to turn the video resolution downgrader off too do you not?
Photo of GabeU

GabeU, Champion

  • 2334 Posts
  • 1425 Reply Likes
Yep.  
Photo of Stephen Rice

Stephen Rice, Champion

  • 2834 Posts
  • 1470 Reply Likes
Or you could simply get a Netflix DVD subscription.
Photo of ExSatUser

ExSatUser

  • 1779 Posts
  • 1031 Reply Likes
Which unfortunately a lot of great show content is streaming only now.
Photo of Stinger

Stinger

  • 5 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Thanks for your suggestion. I did look into Netflix DVD. I had their subscription years ago. The best you can get now are two DVDs at a time. I checked into the reviews and was surprised to see worse Netflix DVD reviews than even all the bad Viasat reviews. My attempt to communicate with their customer service confirmed the negative reviews. Technology is quickly changing. Hopefully there are viable alternatives to Viasat or Viasat responds to the competition and  (1) limits the prioritizing of speed to a viable level for low resolution streaming. (2) Allow the customer to select the resolution level to conserve GB (3) Provide the Video Extender to all Viasat customers. Less than 1 mbps for a $200 so called Unlimited Data Plan is egregious.
Photo of Stinger

Stinger

  • 5 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
I am aware this is a Viasat company produced forum. I appreciate the inconspicuous gesture by Viasat to provide this forum for customers to air out their grievances. Hopefully, constructive customer feedback will eventually influence decision makers to change the prioritizing speed policy to at least accommodate low resolution video streaming. Based on all the reviews and complaints I have read, this one change in Viasat policy could silence at lot of critics.     
Photo of ExSatUser

ExSatUser

  • 1779 Posts
  • 1031 Reply Likes
It won't make a difference.
Photo of Bill Thompson

Bill Thompson

  • 15 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes
yes but unless Viasat has discovered time travel, why should customers be forced to use decade's old solutions?
Photo of Stephen Rice

Stephen Rice, Champion

  • 2834 Posts
  • 1470 Reply Likes
You should read the reviews from people who complain about slow 200 mbps cable internet.
Photo of Brandon Dotson

Brandon Dotson

  • 7 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Must be nice the get the faster plans, in my zip code it’s 12mbps, no matter if it’s bronze silver or gold. 35gb, 45gb and 60gb data limits. My theory on pricing and plans is that in one zip code over they have the faster better plans for the same price as mine, but that area has better alternatives like cable. Unlike in my zip code where satellite is the only option and they are like this is what you get. I know they say it depending on which beam you’re on but idk, just a theory.
Photo of GabeU

GabeU, Champion

  • 2337 Posts
  • 1425 Reply Likes
So reduce the resolution at the source instead of relying on ViaSat to do it.  It's not rocket science.  

And "more expensive" when it comes to plans is relative.  More expensive than what?  Unlimited plans also have their own resolution restrictions.  
Photo of Stinger

Stinger

  • 5 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
GabeU, that is an interesting observation. Of course, that is the first thing I did was to lower the resolution to the minimum level on all devices. The flaw in your logic is, if your assertion were true then the Viasat Video Extender would not work. That fact is not rocket science either.
Photo of Old Labs

Old Labs

  • 399 Posts
  • 356 Reply Likes
The Video Data Extender doesn't directly reduce your resolution (Viasat cannot change the content being delivered - well they could but that would pose some legal questions). It only influences what resolution the content providers deliver by throttling the speed of content "detected to be video streaming" - in turn the content providers use adaptive streaming and will lower the resolution to that suitable to that throttled speed. Viasat even states that not all video streaming can be detected (a self-admission that it doesn't work). In many cases the arbitrary speed selected is insufficient to support Viasat's stated "resolutions". Viasat cannot guarantee any specific resolution.

What they don't state is that they also falsely detect some non-video streaming content and throttle that also due to a weak algorithm. The Video Data Extender has been demonstrated to be fragile and doesn't work in many circumstances.

The Video Data Extender can be disabled on non-unlimited plans. It is not an option on unlimited plans.

As Gabe implies, you're better off managing the "resolution" (actually the quality) at the source if on a non-unlimited plan and turning off the Video Data Extender  - specificially, telling the content provider exactly what quality you prefer at the source if the provider allows that (some in fact don't).
  
On unlimited plans the best you can do is select the quality on the content provider that delivers the "best" experience for your plan level regardless of what Viasat touts that resolution as being. The algorithm is the same except throttled speed varies by plan.

The flaw in  your logic is that this throttling actually works - other than to prevent you from using your data in the manner you want to ;) At least those of us on non-unlimited plans have the flexibility to turn it off.  

Viasat should just abandon all of the "well intentioned" video throttling and let subscribers determine how to best utilize their data. Just like money, you are better positioned to determine how you spend it not passing that responsibility off to someone else maybe not as motivated as you. The rest is a smoke screen, the plans and service  have evolved to the state where all you're really paying for is priority data (not speed or video quality) while Viasat hides behind marketing euphemisms like "up to"  and "video optimization" to defend overselling its bandwidth.

It was so much easier when we had "hard data caps" and were encouraged to efficiently utilize our paltry data allowances - but that hasn't stopped some of us from using the "soft data caps" as if they were "hard data caps" and using our data wisely.

Nobody argues the fact that the priority data is too low for today's web - the question is where is Viasat supposed to come up with the extra bandwidth to support more generous allowances short of launching another satellite?

As far as the customer agreement, it's available (as well as all other legal documents) online to anyone before even considering Viasat at:

https://www.viasat.com/legal

Do your homework before a commitment of "up to" $200+ per month.
(Edited)
Photo of GabeU

GabeU, Champion

  • 2337 Posts
  • 1425 Reply Likes
The flaw in your logic is, if your assertion were true then the Viasat Video Extender would not work.
Actually, the logic is that if you lower the resolution (or quality) at the source, it renders the need for the Video Extender moot and the reliance on such, or at least as much as it can be relied on, unnecessary. 

BTW, you may want to look into PlayOn Cloud.