Satellite internet service is available anywhere as long as one has electricity and (in North America) a clear view of the southern sky. Service providers are generally specialized satellite providers. Unlike the first satellite internet services offered more than a decade ago, a dial-up connection is no longer required for uploads. Satellite internet services operate independently of telephone or cable networks.
Satellite internet has come a long way in recent years. For the longest time, satellite internet services were limited to a maximum download speed of about 1.5 Mbps, but the new generation of satellites have changed this significantly. Speeds of up to 30 Mbps are now available with unlimited data. Satellite providers have been racing to expand their footprint, improve capacity and increase speeds for customers so service should only improve over time. The two main competitors in the United States are ViaSat and HughesNet. Both offer high download speeds from modern satellite systems.
That said, performance can be impeded by bad weather and any physical obstructions that may prevent a clear signal. Also, since the satellites have a finite throughput, speeds may also be reduced during times of high usage.
Satellite internet is not ideal for consumers who require highly responsive service such as that required for online games or high frequency stock trading since there is a slight delay (latency) during transmissions. You can read more about satellite internet in our article "Satellite Internet: Is it for You?".
Satellite Internet requires about $600.00 in specialized equipment and the proper installation of a small satellite dish with a clear view of the southern sky. Equipment can often be financed or leased by the satellite service provider.
Generally $50.00 to $90.00 per month depending on service options and speed plus the cost of the equipment and in some case an activation fee of about $100.
There are still satellite internet providers offering plans through older and much slower satellites, but the prices are similar to those offered by the more advanced services. These shouldn't really be considered as viable option except where access to the newer high speed internet satellites is unavailable.
Satellite internet is fully mobile meaning you don't have to stay close to home to have access. It can be a perfect solution for an RV or the summer cabin where access to wireless internet service is difficult. In situations where a dish frequently needs to be moved or access is required while travelling, more expensive mobile satellite dishes may be required
Be sure to evaluate all options before choosing a satellite internet provider.