Highest-rated internet providers in Madison
We know Wisconsinites have strong opinions. So if you’re looking for a humdinger of an internet service provider (ISP), then check out our annual ISP customer satisfaction survey.
EarthLink gets the best rankings in our survey. It comes in first for overall satisfaction and takes top billing in every other category as well—including speed, price, and customer service. EarthLink is available in only part of the city, sadly, but you can still find other highly rated providers.
AT&T comes in second place for overall satisfaction among 12 national Wi-Fi providers—putting it at the lead among the ISPs specifically doing business in Madison. Spectrum, by comparison, lands towards the bottom at ninth place for overall satisfaction. CenturyLink comes in last place, while Frontier didn’t make it into our most recent survey.
In more specific categories, AT&T earned fourth place among the 12 ISPs in internet speed. Suddenlink took fifth place, and CenturyLink last place. The vast majority of AT&T’s customers we surveyed (a total of 84% of them) reported that their speeds usually or always meet their home’s needs.
While Spectrum got much lower ratings than AT&T, customers actually reported positive findings about the cable provider when we quizzed them more in depth. In our survey, 87% of Spectrum’s customers said their speeds usually or always meet their needs, while more than half said they haven’t dealt with unexpected price hikes or hidden fees.
Considering these results, Spectrum’s generally lower ratings may reflect customers’ frustrations and changed expectations with cable internet in general, as the COVID-19 lockdown has prompted a greater interest in high-performance services like fiber internet and symmetrical upload speeds.
As for Frontier, it maintains a FiOS fiber-optic network in many parts of the country, offering symmetrical upload and download packages and gigabit internet. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be available in Madison. Here you’ll have to settle for Frontier’s DSL plans, which operate at slower speeds and get much lower satisfaction ratings in other consumer surveys that we didn’t organize.