The science has spoken: We need emotional support to live healthy lives, especially as we age.1 So if you’ve been thinking about more screen time with the grandkids, you’re thinking in the right direction.
A quality internet service provider (ISP for short) like Viasat — one of our top internet providers of 2023 — can be a real lifesaver here. Viasat is a particularly good fit for rural Americans because it beams your internet via satellite, which means you’re probably covered no matter how far off the grid you live. Viasat also gives you unlimited internet phone calls (if you aren’t into video chatting). You can even supercharge your Viasat plan with speeds up to 100 Mbps and 300 GB of data per month. For comparison, that’s about six times more emailing, surfing, and streaming than HughesNet 50, a popular plan from one of Viasat’s main competitors, gives you.
Sound good? Let’s take a closer look at Viasat’s complete internet service, from plans and pricing, down to special seniors bundles, installation, and a few insider tips you won’t find anywhere else.
FYI: If you’ve ever lived in or around a city, you probably had a cable internet connection, where your internet came straight into your house through cables in your wall. If you live in the country — where there are no cable lines — satellite internet is usually the best way to go.
Viasat is a great option for older adults living in rural areas or places with few internet options. However, if you want to do more than check email or use social media, you’ll likely need to pay for a plan with faster speeds and higher data caps. These options are significantly more expensive than the basic Viasat internet plans. If you want to learn more about your options and potentially find an internet provider that better suits your needs and budget, be sure to check out the top-rated providers below.
|Plan*||Price per month||Price after 3 months of service||Download speeds up to||Data cap|
|Basic 12||$49.99||$69.99||12 Mbps||80 GB|
|Liberty 12||$30||$50||12 Mbps||12 GB|
|Liberty 25||$50||$75||12 Mbps||25 GB|
|Liberty 50||$75||$100||12 Mbps||50 GB|
|Unlimited Bronze 12||$66.99||$99.99||12 Mbps||100 GB|
|Unlimited Silver 25||$99.99||$149.99||25 Mbps||120 GB|
|Unlimited Gold 50||$149.99||$199.99||50 Mbps||200 GB|
|Unlimited Platinum 100||$199.99||$299.99||100 Mbps||300 GB|
*Available plans and prices may vary by location
So, you live somewhere off the beaten track and want to keep in touch with old friends and family. (Or maybe you just want to binge-watch your favorite TV show for the third time. No one’s judging.)
No matter what you use the internet for, Viasat’s probably got a plan for you. And because Viasat is pretty much everywhere (satellite internet reaches almost 100 percent of the U.S., according to the FCC2), you’re most likely covered. Here’s a quick breakdown of Viasat’s most popular satellite internet plans for seniors (see the table above for reference).
The Basic 12 plan might work for you if screen time means light emailing, surfing, and low-definition streaming. That’s because the Basic 12 only offers speeds up to 12 Mbps and 80 GB of data per month. For context, most American families burn through at least 300 GB of data per month, and that number is growing by leaps and bounds every year.
Not familiar with internet data and what it means? You use data every time you go on the internet. Whether you’re checking emails, playing online games, listening to music, or using a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu, you’re using data. Some activities use more data than others, though. For instance, checking emails uses a small amount of data, while streaming is a very data-heavy activity.
Did You Know? If you ever used Exede satellite internet, you were actually using Viasat. Exede launched in 2012 in Carlsbad, California, and rebranded as Viasat in 2017.
So if you don’t subscribe to a satellite TV service like DirecTV or DISH (which won’t affect your internet data allowance) and you like your Netflix, you might want to consider one of Viasat’s more data-packed plans. However, if you just want to use the internet to check emails and shop online, this more affordable plan might be right for you.
Viasat’s Unlimited Bronze 12 plan gives you the same speed (up to 12 Mbps) and the same streaming quality (360p, for all you video geeks out there) as the Basic 12. The difference is that this plan comes with 100 GB of unlimited data.
“Wait a sec,” I can hear you saying, “100 GB of unlimited data? Which is it, 100 GB or unlimited?” Great question.
With Viasat’s unlimited internet plans, you’ll never actually run out of data. Once you reach your “cap” (which is 100 GB with the Bronze 12 plan), Viasat will “prioritize” customers who haven’t reached their monthly cap yet. In other words, they’ll slow your connection down a bit.
FYI: New to satellite internet? Become an expert. Check out our internet buyer’s guide for seniors for the best tips, deals, and tech know-how.
Annoying? It can be. But before you run out and tell everyone at happy hour what sneaks those satellite internet companies are, consider this: We appreciate that Viasat still lets you use data even after you’ve reached your cap. Some providers will completely cut you off after you hit your data limit, so this is a perk with Viasat.
I think you’ve probably noticed a pattern here: The higher you go on the Viasat pricing table, the faster your internet and the more data you get.
The Platinum 100 plan comes with a pretty generous 300 GB of data, HD streaming, and zippy speeds up to 100 Mbps. If you’re a cinephile who watches movies in ultra HD — which burns through 7 GB per hour — this probably won’t be enough data for you.
Insider tip: Here’s a little-known but important fact — you actually don’t need more than a 5-10 Mbps connection to stream standard-definition TV over the internet. (That refers to download speed, by the way, or data you’re pulling in.)
On the other hand, if you are already hooked up with a satellite TV service to get your HD movie fix, want to video-chat with friends and family a few times a week (without your screen freezing up on you), and want some data left over for emailing, surfing, and YouTubing, one of Viasat’s three top-tier plans may be a good fit.
We won’t deny it, though: It isn’t easy calculating how much data you might use in a month. And it’s definitely no fun running out of data or rationing out your video streaming.
On the bright side, you can always upgrade to one of Viasat’s higher-tier plans if you get caught short on data (or downgrade if, at the end of the month, you’re rolling in extra data like Scrooge McDuck in money). Viasat offers a bunch of plans to choose from.
Money-saving tip: For subscribers living in certain areas of the U.S., Viasat offers free satellite installation. This is a promotion; check with a customer service representative to see if you might be eligible.
Plus, while other senior-friendly internet providers might give you more data — I’m thinking of Cox Communications’ internet plans here, which all come with a humongous 1 TB of data per month — they’re likely cable providers, not satellite. As we’ve mentioned, many cable providers aren’t available in rural areas.
Finally, as with all internet providers, Viasat’s plans and availability aren’t etched in stone. Prices and services will vary depending on where you live.
As of this writing, Viasat isn’t offering any discounts for seniors. However, depending on where you live and your financial situation, you may be eligible for free installation.
But promotions come and go. The best thing to do, if you do go with Viasat, is ask a customer service representative if they’ve got any special discounts running when you’re ready to sign up.
Money-saving tip: On a tight budget? Check out our top picks for the cheapest internet providers for seniors to see if any of these affordable plans are available in your area.
You can also reduce your carbon footprint by starting with a lighter plan like the Bronze 12 and seeing how it goes. Using just 20 GB less data a month would end up saving you $50 per month!
Chances are, yes. Viasat covers most of the continental U.S. So you’re probably good to go with Viasat. The only other prerequisites for Viasat satellite installation are a south-facing view and a stationary abode. All you on-the-move, off-the-radar folks — while we’re all secretly jealous of your freedom, unfortunately, you can’t cruise around with a satellite dish pinned to the top of your catamaran, RV, or chopper.
That said, even if Viasat covers your area, plans differ according to ZIP code. We can help you find the best Viasat options in your neck of the woods, though. Scroll back up and click the “See Pricing” button at the top of the page for more information.
Up top, I mentioned a really useful Viasat feature called internet voice calls, or Viasat Voice. Voice calls aren’t just useful (if you’re not into video), they’re a potential money-saver. Here’s why: 100 hours of internet voice chatting normally burns through 25 GB of data, but if you have Viasat Voice, your voice time won’t count toward your data allowance.
While Viasat Voice isn’t technically “bundled in,” you can add it to your Viasat plan for $29.99 per month for the first two months ($39.99 thereafter).
Insider tip: Most internet plan contracts have some fine print. Most often, the hidden costs are equipment rental fees you pay monthly in addition to your internet service fees, so be on the lookout for these extra costs.
The last feature we’d recommend looking into is Viasat’s malware blocker, Viasat Shield. Sturdy malware protection will help keep you safe from all sorts of bad internet stuff that can easily infect your devices and lead to huge complications down the line, including the biggest, most expensive threat to older Americans today: identity theft.3 At $5.99 per month, Viasat Shield is no wallet-breaker.
If you’ve been comparing notes with your city-dwelling friends who have an unlimited Spectrum internet package or any of Comcast Xfinity’s blazing-fast plans, satellite is generally more expensive. And, of course, you won’t get any TV channels bundled in with Viasat like you would with Spectrum or Xfinity.
But if you live in a harder-to-get-to place, cable internet might not be available. Beaming your internet into your living room has a price.
HughesNet, a premium satellite internet provider and Viasat’s closest competition, is a better comparison. HughesNet’s top-tier plans are $99.99 and $149.99 per month, with no price hike after the first three months. Just keep in mind that with HughesNet, your maximum speed is 25 Mbps (not very fast) and your data will tank out at 50 GB. In other words, what you save in cash, you may come to regret in “not enough FaceTime with cousin Marge.”
Yes, it does. You’ll pay $12.99 per month for two years, or $299.99 upfront.
Viasat does charge a fee for installation, but certain subscribers may be eligible for free installation. In either case, Viasat does not recommend you try this yourself.
Technically speaking, they do. But once you reach your cap, or data allowance, Viasat may slow down your connection, otherwise known as “throttling.”
Viasat’s maximum speed is 100 Mbps (megabits per second).
A two-year contract is the recommended option for Viasat. If you don’t want to subscribe for two years, you’ll need to pay Viasat a $500 fee upfront, which is nonrefundable and doesn’t offset any of your monthly fees.
AARP. (2021). People Need Connection — Even During a Pandemic.
FCC. (2021). Fourteenth Broadband Deployment Report.
AARP. (2021). Pandemic Proves to Be Fertile Ground for Identity Thieves.