ViaSat is offering a new tier of satellite service they're promising will provide historically-heavily capped satellite broadband users a "virtually unlimited" service. According to a company announcement
, ViaSat's new "Freedom" plan provides users with "at least 150 GBs of monthly data without a strict data allowance" for $70 a month ($60 if you bundle phone service).
When Exede was introduced a few years ago
to mixed reviews, ViaSat offered users 12 Mbps service with 7 GB ($50), 15 GB ($80), or 25 GB ($130) caps.
The offering of 150 GB at $70 is a significant step forward for a satellite broadband industry that has consistently featured very high prices and almost draconian caps. That's assuming there's no catch and the company can actually provide consistent connectivity (something that's never a given with satellite broadband, as our user reviews
ViaSat says this new plan won't be available everywhere. Initially it will only be offered along portions of the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf Coast; select counties in California, Arizona, and Minnesota; and across large chunks of Alaska, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Florida.
In addition to the company's new Freedom tier, ViaSat says that some customers will see "other Exede plans debuting August 18 across a large area of the country" that "will offer double or triple current data allowances." You'll only get these higher allotments if you subscribe to Exede Evolution, a service option launched about a year ago
that offers unlimited browsing and e-mail, but counts all other usage against a cap.
"The Freedom plan shows our dedication to continually improving the customer experience and responding to their desire for more data," said Lisa Scalpone, vice president, Broadband. "With Exede Internet, we've shown that we can deliver high speeds at reasonable cost to virtually anyone in the U.S. Now we're excited to demonstrate that satellite internet can deliver data volumes that are competitive with wireline services."