Satellite in space = $500,000,000 17 Ground Stations = Probably around $1,000,000 a pop if not more The monthly connection fee for fiber = I have not the closest clue, but it certainly can't be cheap. Life expectancy of Satellite is 15 years... Hughes is also a company looking to make profits, it's not a charity.
so, at a minimum, $517,000,000/15 years = $34.4 Million per year that Hughes has invested towards a single satellite. Now, consider that this thing has to be replaced more like every 10 years to be on the safe side, then consider the difference between a cable line and satellite.
In all honesty, that $50 to $60 for 5GB of data a month isn't that bad of a deal, especially when you sit and look at the likes of AT&T charging anywhere from $5 to $50 for every 1GB over (this depends on location, plan, blah blah blah).
How does it compare to your cell phone plan, if you have one? I had the option of either using a wireless hotspot, or going with HN. I couldn't afford the data costs of wireless so I went with HN and have been happy with the service so far.