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New Hughesnet Satellite Means New Opportunities for Small Businesses

Rural businesses need reliable internet, too

It’s pretty hard to run a business without a reliable internet connection. From email to point-of-service systems, businesses need to stay connected at all times, and with the launch of the latest Hughesnet satellite, there are now a lot more options for businesses in rural areas.

What is the Jupiter-3 satellite?

On July 28, 2023, Hughesnet launched the largest commercial telecommunications satellite ever put into orbit, the Jupiter-3 (also known as EchoStar XXIV). After a long voyage to geosynchronous orbit, the satellite successfully extended all its solar arrays and antennas and was ready to add its capacity to the Hughesnet satellite network.

Hughesnet Jupiter-3 satellite

Jupiter-3 adds more than 500Gbps in throughput capacity to HughesNet’s network, more than doubling the previous throughput of the Jupiter fleet. To capitalize on this huge increase in network capacity, Hughesnet has also been making improvements to its network on the ground. The company currently has18 active gateways for satellite teleport, which are co-located with Hughesnet’s data centers to further decrease latency.

With ground stations spread across the country, it also makes it possible to route traffic not just to maximize efficiency, but to work around storms and other adverse weather conditions. Looking down from geosynchronous orbit, Jupiter-3 has line of sight to all of these ground stations at any given time, which is a small advantage over low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites.

How does this change impact small businesses?

With the addition of Jupiter-3 to its satellite network, Hughesnet is completely restructuring its internet plans and data policy. There are three major changes that will be of interest to business owners:

  • Hughesnet now offers plans up to 100Mbps.
  • All new Hughesnet plans come with unlimited standard data.
  • Hughesnet equipment is now Wi-Fi 6 enabled.

This is a dramatic shift from the way Hughesnet did business before and will change the way that businesses look at Hughesnet. Its new business plans are comparable to the plans of other providers like Viasat and Starlink, so even if Hughesnet didn’t fit your business needs in the past, you might want to take a second look.

New Hughesnet Business plans

PackagePrice*SpeedPriority DataDetails
Hughesnet Select Pro $84.99/mo.Up to 50Mbps100GB
Hughenet Elite Pro $99.99/mo.Up to 100Mbps200GB
Hughesnet Fusion Pro $119.99/mo.Up to 100Mbps200GB

Hughesnet has simplified its offerings to just three plans, including both Hughesnet Fusion and satellite-only service. Plans now start at 50Mbps (which was previously the highest speed available in its premium plan) and go up to 100Mbps. There is just one Fusion plan with speeds up to 100Mbps.

With higher speeds and low-latency connections through the Hughesnet Fusion plan, Hughesnet is now a much more viable option for businesses that need higher performance out of their internet connection.

New data policy

Another important change is Hughesnet’s new data policy. Under the new data policy, there is no throttling of your connection when the data runs out. Every plan comes with unlimited standard data, plus some amount of priority data. The monthly quota of priority data with each plan is quite a bit bigger than the amount of data you got in most of the old plans, though they can still be replenished with data tokens like before.

Unlimited unprioritized data isn’t quite the same as a completely unlimited plan, but it is a huge improvement from the previous policy. The new plan is very similar to Starlink’s new data policy, making it a viable alternative for folks on the Starlink waiting list.

New Hughesnet equipment for businesses

EquipmentSatellite PlansFusion Plans
Monthly lease fee$19.99/mo.$24.99/mo.
Lease setup fee$99.00$99.00
Purchase fee$299.99$449.99
Wi-Fi modemHT3000W (Wi-Fi 6)HT3000W (Wi-Fi 6) + WL3000
Mesh Wi-Fi node (lease)$5.00/mo.$5.00/mo.
Mesh Wi-Fi node (purchase)$99.00$99.00
Commercial installation (lease)FreeFree
Commercial installation (purchase)$299.99$299.99

Another big change is the all new equipment using the Wi-Fi 6 standard. This upgrade is especially important for businesses that use a lot of Wi-Fi connected equipment, as Wi-Fi 6 was designed to manage large numbers of devices simultaneously on the same network.

The proliferation of Wi-Fi enabled devices and equipment wasn’t just the driving force behind Hughesnet’s decision to upgrade its equipment; it was also one of the motivations for the restructuring of the company’s existing plans. According to Mark Wymer, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Distribution at Hughesnet:

“That was a big part of the consideration as we developed the new plans. As we look across our network and we see what’s happening to the utilization curve—and utilization goes up year over year—we look at what type of applications our platform has to support and more and more devices are beginning to emerge.”

Hughesnet has also added mesh nodes to its list of equipment available for purchase or lease. This is useful for businesses that need an internet connection throughout a large building or multiple smaller ones.

What businesses benefit from a Hughesnet connection?

Satellite internet like Hughesnet is a great tool for businesses that need to meet their customers where they are, such as rural shops, as well as for businesses like farms or construction sites that need to operate on location. 

Agriculture is often the go-to talking point for rural internet technology, but it’s not just the rolling fields of the midwest that can benefit from satellite internet. Wymer notes that many of Hughesnet’s business customers are small-to-medium operations like wineries that aren’t as heavily mechanized as some forms of agriculture, but still deal with large volumes of product and ship to clients all over the world.

Whether you’re working from your home office or managing a warehouse filled with Wi-Fi enabled equipment, the needs of rural businesses constantly increase just like those in urban areas. With the Jupiter-3 satellite, Hughesnet is now able to fill some of these gaps to ensure that rural businesses can stay connected.  

Hughesnet Jupiter satellite fleet

What’s the difference between business and residential plans?

Hughesnet offers both residential and business plans and while you might be able to get by with just a residential plan, there are a number of important differences. In particular, there are three main perks that you get with a business plan:

  • Priority next-day service and repair
  • Prioritized customer care
  • Commercial-grade installation

Downtime is a major issue for businesses as being unable to process customers’ credit cards, for example, can lose a lot of money really quickly. As such, one of the services that comes included in a Hughesnet business plan is next-day service and repair to get your business up and running as soon as possible.

Not all internet problems require physical repairs, but they still need to get resolved quickly. As such, Hughesnet business customers also get priority customer care from experienced representatives to get any other kind of technical problem resolved quickly and efficiently.

Finally, business plans come with commercial-grade installation, which can be essential in certain locations. Commercial buildings are constructed very differently than homes, often with flat or metal roofs, which require different fixtures to attach the antenna. Commercial spaces also come with a lot of other restrictions. For example, you probably can’t just drill a hole in whichever wall you want to run cables inside to your equipment. Many commercial spaces require cables to pass through secure access points. Hughesnet’s commercial installers are experienced in these situations and will handle them in order to install your equipment properly.

There are other reasons to go with a Hughesnet business plan, which Wymer sums up nicely:

“The business plans have been really honed to support business applications. […]  When you couple the business version of Fusion, our Fusion Pro service, now you have the low latency and the high throughput of the GSO satellite and you’ve got an ideal solution for small businesses in low-density rural footprints.”

There are, of course, pros and cons for satellite and other wireless internet connections, but perhaps more than anyone, small businesses know how to make the best out of less-than-ideal circumstances. Hughesnet may not be the best choice in urban areas where there are lots of faster wired connections to choose from, but if your business doesn’t have access to wired infrastructure, Hughesnet strikes a good balance between speed, low latency, and affordability, and a good all-around choice when comparing different satellite providers.

More resources

If you want to find out more about current developments in the satellite internet industry and what might be on the horizon, we have several other articles available on the topic.


Author -

Peter Christiansen writes about satellite internet, rural connectivity, livestreaming, and parental controls for Peter holds a PhD in communication from the University of Utah and has been working in tech for over 15 years as a computer programmer, game developer, filmmaker, and writer. His writing has been praised by outlets like Wired, Digital Humanities Now, and the New Statesman.