Hello shufdog. Well, it depends on what you are looking to do. Presently, there are two main providers of consumer satellite access for the internet. Direcway and Starband. While they have slight differences, what you need to have knowledge up front about are today's realities with satellite access. If your expectations are in check, you will make the decision that best fit's your needs. All of these comments apply to both Direcway and Starband.
1. The Satellites are 20,000+ miles away. Even at the speed of light, the time it takes to get there and back introduces a time lag (latency) that is much higher than what a local DSL or Cable connection experiences. Typical latency on DSL or Cable can be from 100ms up to 300ms. A satellite connection involves a latency of 700ms - 3000ms. While you will probably never notice that with casual browsing and email, it can absolutely drive crazy things like on-line gaming and Voice Over IP applications. Most peer to peer applications that expect (or assume) some kind of response within a relatively small latency will probably have problems.
2. While downloads of data are at a decent throughput 500Kbs and up, the "Upload" throughput is very meager. From about the same speed as dialup, up to 100Kbs or so. If you intend to upload alot of data, this can be very frustrating. By the way, that is a concious control limitation by the satellite control centers. High speed uplinks are available, but VERY expensive. Catering to large business and Govt use.
3. All satellite operators over-sell their capability. If you read the comments on this board as well as other resources, you will see some folks who have not had an easy going with their satellite installations. If you happen to get put on a transponder (like a channel) that is over-crowded, your throughput can be very bad. Yes, the operator can do things to get you to a speed that is acceptable, but that process can be long and frustrating. What I'm saying here is that the there can be bumps in the road, expect some.
4. The technical support can be pitiful. Most of it is out sourced, and the person you talk to probably does not have English as a first language. That too adds to frustration.
5. All of you data routes through a National Operations Center (NOC). As funny as this might sound, if the weather above that location is very bad, you won't have access. Does not happen often, but if the weather is very bad at the NOC, OR, your location, it will adversely affect your connection. Expect that. If you have DirecTV, or Dish Network for TV, a heavy rain will do the same thing.
6. Installation procedures will make it or break it. It has to be done by an approved installer. Some are great, some are REALLY bad. If that dish is not properly setup, pointed, grounded, and cabled, you will suffer forever because of it. I can't stress that enough. If the installer nails it right, chances are you will have a great time with it. Check out these boards and print out anything you find on installation do's and Don'ts.
7. All operators "limit" how much bandwidth you can use within a specified period of time. This keeps a small percentage of users from "hogging" all the bandwidth. While this makes sense from a fairness standpoint, it can drive you crazy if you download alot of data. DirecWay calls this their Fair Access Policy (FAP). With a consumer account, you can download 169MB of data in a four hour period. Exceed that, and they shut down your bandwidth to that of dialup for 8 hours or so. The Pro account raises that amount to roughly double that, and you can get very high FAP levels, but you pay for it.
There is indeed other competitive operations getting close to coming online and that will be good for everyone. Wildblue is one of them. Not available yet, and it has been postponed numerous times. The proof will be in the pudding.
Now, after saying all that, I have a Direcway system that has worked just fine for me. I also have it networked wireless's. LOTS of expertise on these boards to help you with that. I have also seen Starband folks who have no problems as well. The 169MB FAP level on my consumer account just does not bother me, since I mainly do email, browse alot, and watch my download usage closely. Not much download needs. I typically get 1Mb download speeds. I think that's great. My install was miserable, but I was capable of cleaning it up afterwards, grounding it. etc.
So my advice? Read as much as you can about other folks experiences with any service before you buy. Most (if not all) of the offerings tie you into a 12 - 14 month contract. So once you jump in, it is a commitment.
Good luck, and don't be shy on asking all the questions you have. You won't regret taking the time to do it.