The launch today of service from our new ViaSat-2 satellite marks the beginning of a new standard in satellite internet plans: Unlimited data.
We know data caps have always been what people dislike most about satellite internet, and we’ve introduced several types of other plans over the past few years to help customers avoid the pain of a cap. Ultimately, though, we needed a big boost in capacity in the form of a new satellite to really change things. Those “hard” caps are gone with our new Viasat Internet plans.
Now customers can choose from among three or four unlimited plans, differentiated by speed and video streaming quality. The plans available to you will vary based on your location, but the unlimited plans and higher speeds are available now just about everywhere.
And you don’t have to be a new customer on the ViaSat-2 satellite; current customers can also subscribe to unlimited plans.
Unlimited plans similar to these debuted in select areas last fall, and customer feedback has been extremely positive. Our customers’ satisfaction is significantly higher with these plans, which makes us think we’ve hit a home run.
But we didn’t get there overnight. Our analysts researched customer data usage and response to plans over several years.
The Freedom plan introduced in 2014 had a very generous data cap, and customers loved it. But with the satellites we had then, we couldn’t offer it to everyone. We needed the addition of ViaSat-2 to our fleet to offer that kind of plan almost everywhere.
Even with that additional capacity, the rise in video streaming over the past few years means data needs have ramped up considerably. To give everyone an unlimited service, we knew we had more work to do in how we managed all of that video.
Cellphone carriers first introduced unlimited streaming on mobile devices in 2015, showing that many consumers were OK with trading a bit of video quality if it meant they could stream more video without penalty (overages or slow-downs).
With that as our springboard, we developed the technology to optimize video – the key to making unlimited plans not only possible, but affordable.
Streaming video is one of the largest consumers of data for any internet provider. Reducing streaming quality conserves data. On most devices and for most users, the reduced quality provides an acceptable video experience, and in some cases the difference is unnoticeable.
In short, the video optimization tools lets us provide more data, at a reasonable price. We feel that gives customers the best unlimited usage experience.
The lowest-cost ViaSat-2 standard plan includes video streaming optimized at a level best suited to small screens, like phones and tablets. The top tier standard plan streams video at HD quality and works well on big screens and all other devices. Download speeds are up to 12 Mbps for the Bronze plan, and up to 30 Mbps on the Gold plan.
In some areas, we’ll also offer another tier of premium plans, which include speeds up to 50 and 100 Mbps. We expect those kinds of speeds will be standard when we launch our ViaSat-3 service, anticipated in 2020.
Existing customers can log into their account to see what’s available near them. They can typically upgrade to the new plans without a service call, though some subscribers may need a new modem. Plan options vary with location.
Customers new to our service can enter their Zip code here to see which plans are available in their area.