Internet providers in Madison, WI

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1. CenturyLink
90% available in Madison
Connection:
DSL
Download speeds up to
80Mbps

Self installation available 

2. AT&T
80% available in Madison
Connection:
DSL & Fiber
Download speeds up to
1000Mbps
3. Frontier
99% available in Madison
Connection:
DSL
Download speeds up to
100Mbps

Limited Offers. Contact-Free Guided Installations Only

4. Spectrum
100% available in Madison
Connection:
Cable
Download speeds up to
100Mbps

Self Installation Available 

5. EarthLink
80% available in Madison
Connection:
DSL & Fiber
Download speeds up to
1000Mbps
6. Viasat
99% available in Madison
Connection:
Satellite
Download speeds up to
25Mbps
7. HughesNet
100% available in Madison
Connection:
Satellite
Download speeds up to
25Mbps

User Rating (72)
8. LiteWire Internet Services, Inc.
4% available in Madison
Connection:
Fixed Wireless
Download speeds up to
6Mbps
9. Netwurx
14% available in Madison
Connection:
Fixed Wireless
Download speeds up to
6Mbps
1. CenturyLink
90% available in Madison
Connection:
DSL
Download speeds up to
80Mbps

Self installation available 

2. AT&T
80% available in Madison
Connection:
DSL & Fiber
Download speeds up to
1000Mbps
3. Frontier
100% available in Madison
Connection:
DSL
Download speeds up to
100Mbps

Limited Offers. Contact-Free Guided Installations Only

4. Spectrum
100% available in Madison
Connection:
Cable
Download speeds up to
100Mbps

Self Installation Available 

5. Viasat
99% available in Madison
Connection:
Satellite
Download speeds up to
25Mbps
6. HughesNet
100% available in Madison
Connection:
Satellite
Download speeds up to
25Mbps

User Rating (72)
7. PowerOne
Available in Madison
Connection:
Fixed Wireless
Download speeds up to
6Mbps
8. LiteWire Internet Services, Inc.
4% available in Madison
Connection:
Fixed Wireless
Download speeds up to
6Mbps
9. Netwurx
14% available in Madison
Connection:
Fixed Wireless
Download speeds up to
6Mbps
10. One Ring Networks
53% available in Madison
Connection:
Fixed Wireless
Download speeds up to
6Mbps
11. Allstream
Available in Madison
Connection:
DSL, Fiber & Other Copper Wireline
Download speeds up to
1000Mbps
12. Syringa Networks
Available in Madison
Connection:
Fiber & Fixed Wireless
Download speeds up to
1000Mbps
1. Xfinity Mobile
Available in Madison
Connection:
Mobile
Xfinity Mobile
4GLTE

User Rating Info
2. AT&T
Available in Madison
Connection:
Mobile
AT&T
4GLTE

User Rating Info
3. Sprint
Available in Madison
Connection:
Mobile
Sprint
4GLTE

User Rating Info
4. T-Mobile
Available in Madison
Connection:
Mobile
T-Mobile
4GLTE

User Rating Info

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How much internet speed do I need?

5+ Mbps

  • Regular browsing
  • Music streaming
  • Ideal for 1 person

10+ Mbps

  • HD video streaming
  • Casual gaming
  • Ideal for 1-2 people

20+ Mbps

  • Ultra HD streaming
  • Frequent gaming
  • Ideal for 2-4 people

40+ Mbps

  • Simultaneous HD streaming
  • Simultaneous gaming
  • Ideal for 4+

Test your current internet speed

Discover how much internet speed you need

What is the best internet provider in Madison?

Of the 14 internet providers in Madison, Wisconsin, AT&T is the best internet provider in the city in terms of speed, boasting the Internet 1,000 fiber-optic plan with maximum download speeds of 1 Gbps (1,000 Mbps). Spectrum also offers gigabit internet in many parts of the city and surrounding suburbs with its Internet GIG package, which tops out at 940 Mbps.

Spectrum and AT&T may be your best options in terms of value and speed—especially if you’re looking to do high-bandwidth activities, like streaming Badgers games in 4K ultra-high definition.

But AT&T and Spectrum aren’t the only internet providers available. In fact, Madison’s internet options are as plentiful as cheese curds and brewskies. So let’s take a look at some other options before you commit.

Cheap internet in Wisconsin

You can get cheap internet in Madison from Frontier and CenturyLink. The cheapest plans in the city are available from Frontier, with multiple DSL packages all for under $50 a month. CenturyLink also offers a great deal for cheap Wi-Fi, offering a Price for Life offer for plans up to 100 Mbps.

Frontier maintains a DSL network in Madison and surrounding stretches of Dane County. The speeds are significantly slower, but 25 Mbps will be solid for everyday purposes. Your Wi-Fi will do just fine if you’re taking notes on Google Docs, streaming Netflix, or shopping online for artisanal Wisconsin cheese.

CenturyLink’s presence in Madison is limited mostly to areas north of Lake Mendota and the Dane County Regional Airport. If it’s available where you live, a Price for Life plan on its DSL network would be a great thrifty option because you wouldn’t have to worry about price hikes appearing on your bill months after you sign up.

Just bear in mind that this doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to actually get 100 Mbps from CenturyLink. We ran a search for a few addresses in the ’burbs north of Madison and found a Price for Life offer in DeForest, but it’s 40 Mbps—still quite fast for most folks.

When we searched residences in nearby Arlington, however, we found Price for Life offers that delivered only 10 Mbps plans. That’s a tortoise-like pace and not worth the price, if we’re being honest. (Time to cue the sad trombone.)

Other Wi-Fi service providers in Wisconsin

Madison has several locally based providers that will be a good pick if you value great customer service and supporting your community.

There are also satellite internet providers in Madison that can give you internet if you’re living in a rural area with no other internet options.

Local providers LiteWire and Netwurx market Wi-Fi specifically to businesses and people living in the countryside. A local ISP usually means better customer service since they have a bigger stake in serving the community.

That said, both of these providers tend to have higher billing rates and lower speeds compared to national ISPs, so check other options before going with these companies.

Viasat and HughesNet hold it down with satellite connections in rural areas. Satellite is basically the Wi-Fi of last resort, and it’s less reliable than fiber, cable, or DSL. It will likely be patchy on occasion in Wisconsin, where heavy snowfalls and other winter conditions will interfere with the signal beaming down from space. We recommend choosing this only if there are no other options in your area.

Summary of Madison internet providers

Provider Type Download speeds up to User Rating
CenturyLink DSL 80 Mbps 2.5/5
AT&T DSL & Fiber 1000 Mbps 3.0/5
Frontier DSL 100 Mbps 2.5/5
Spectrum Cable 100 Mbps 3.0/5
EarthLink DSL & Fiber 1000 Mbps 3.5/5
Viasat Satellite 25 Mbps 2.0/5
HughesNet Satellite 25 Mbps 2.5/5
LiteWire Internet Services, Inc. Fixed Wireless 6 Mbps N/A
Netwurx Fixed Wireless 6 Mbps N/A

Availability and speeds displayed are not guaranteed and are subject to change.

Technology Type

DSL:

DSL provides internet service via phone cables and is up to ten times faster than dial-up service.

Cable:

Cable provides internet speeds faster than DSL through the same cables used for cable TV.

Satellite:

Satellite internet is widely available, but offers slower speeds due to a far-traveling signal.

Fiber:

Fiber relies on glass strands to relay digital code and is much faster than both DSL and cable.

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 ISP customer satisfaction survey.

EarthLink comes in first place for overall satisfaction among 15 national internet providers—putting it at the lead among the ISPs specifically doing business in Madison. AT&T and Spectrum, by comparison, land in the middle of the bunch at sixth place and seventh place for overall satisfaction. CenturyLink and Frontier are even lower, at eighth and ninth place respectively.

AT&T also rocks the house in the 2019 J.D. Power survey, taking second place among providers in the North Central part of the United States (which covers Wisconsin). The calculation takes into consideration a number of factors, including performance and reliability, customer service, and bill costs. In all but one of these criteria, J.D. Power ranks AT&T “among the best.”

In our customer satisfaction survey, AT&T earned fifth place among the 15 ISPs in internet speed. Suddenlink took fourteenth place, CenturyLink tenth place, and Frontier took ninth.

Frontier 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, operating at slower speeds.

The rest of the ISPs in the City of Four Lakes have some notable results of their own in our customer satisfaction survey:

  • Spectrum comes in sixth out of fifteen for installation and setup.
  • Spectrum takes fourth place for speede.
  • Frontier ranks seventh in terms of monthly bill pricing.
  • CenturyLink wins fourth place for monthly bill pricing.

Fastest internet service providers in Madison

AT&T offers internet at speeds up to 1000 Mbps

EarthLink offers internet at speeds up to 1000 Mbps

Frontier offers internet at speeds up to 100 Mbps

Spectrum offers internet at speeds up to 100 Mbps

The fastest internet provider in Madison is AT&T, whose Internet 1000 plan delivers internet at 1,000 Mbps (or 1 Gbps). That’s the fastest possible speed you can get from the vast majority of home internet providers, and this plan is even better than usual because it’s running on a fiber-optic network—meaning greater reliability and no internet slowdowns during peak hours.

Frankly, you can’t do better than AT&T when it comes to madfast Wi-Fi in Mad City. AT&T offers some other tantalizing options as well, including the Internet up to 100 Mbps plan and the Internet 300 (300 Mbps) plan.

Even a family of 10 people who are all streaming video on multiple devices daily will get a great connection at 300 Mbps. A gigabit plan provides even more bandwidth for things like competitive online gaming, video teleconferencing, and working from home using cloud-based servers.

Uff dah, that’s fast.

Another cool thing: Both AT&T’s 300 Mbps and 1,000 Mbps plans run over fiber-optic cable, the best infrastructure for speedy internet. Just make sure AT&T has fiber in your neighborhood—it’s generally less common than AT&T’s DSL network. Use our tool to find out how much speed you need to do your thing.

Fast gigabit internet plans in Madison from Spectrum

Spectrum delivers gigabit internet speeds over a cable network—offering a nice alternative to AT&T’s fiber gigabit plan.

Spectrum’s Internet GIG (940 Mbps) delivers an impressive speed comparable to AT&T’s Internet 1000. The Internet GIG plan is more expensive. But it will still give you record-breaking speeds, and it will be especially ideal if AT&T’s fiber plan isn’t available.

Fiber is the rarest type of internet in general, and many parts of Madison have only AT&T’s DSL internet. According to the FCC, DSL connections have actually been shown to fall short of the max speeds advertised by ISPs.

So, if you have to choose between AT&T’s DSL internet or Spectrum’s cable network, definitely consider Spectrum’s Internet (100 Mbps) and Internet Ultra (400 Mbps) plans first. They may end up being faster and more reliable for you in the long run.

How much speed do you need?

Take a quick quiz to decide what speeds are best for your household

Wanna know more? Check out these internet resources.

Centurylink vs. Spectrum

Get CenturyLink for fast speeds at affordable rates. Order Spectrum for reliable service that delivers high customer satisfaction.

Read more about Centurylink vs. Spectrum

AT&T vs. Spectrum

AT&T is perfect for those who need affordable high-speed packages. Spectrum keeps things simple by offering just one high-speed internet package.

Read more about AT&T vs. Spectrum

Spectrum vs. Frontier

Order Spectrum internet for a satisfying customer experience. For a faster internet connection, pick FiOS from Frontier.

Read more about Spectrum vs. Frontier

Madison residential internet coverage

Wisconsin’s capital is the birthplace of The Onion, the home of Bucky Badger, a major hub for activism and politics, and the best college town in America (according to Sports Illustrated). With all that stuff going on, solid internet is a must-have.

AT&T and Spectrum both operate the largest networks in Madison and the surrounding suburbs of Dane County. AT&T provides DSL and fiber connections across downtown and the Madison Isthmus, out to distant neighborhoods like Cardinal Glenn and McClellan Park, and further into northeast and southeast Dane County.

Spectrum’s cable network is even more widespread, covering the whole city as well as suburbs like Sun Prairie and Fitchburg. It also provides internet in smaller villages and towns in the outskirts of the county.

Frontier’s DSL network covers parts of Madison, including areas along the Southwest Commuter Path and around the intersection of Verona Road and the West Beltline Highway. Frontier’s network also stretches out across Dane County going north, south, and east—from the city of Monona out to Deerfield, Oregon, and parts of DeForest.

CenturyLink, for its part, is like the golden badger perched on the head of the Wisconsin statue on the Wisconsin State Capitol dome—blink and you’ll miss it. CenturyLink’s network doesn’t cover the city limits, nor parts of popular suburbs like McFarland or Middleton. But it does pop up in the villages of DeForest, Waunakee, Windsor, and other areas north of Lake Mendota.

Viasat and HughesNet hook up satellite internet to rural areas—though, by the looks of it, rural internet users will likely also find coverage by much faster (and cheaper) DSL or cable networks.

How to get free internet (Wi-Fi) in Madison

For folks who can’t afford high-end internet packages or need free Wi-Fi away from home, there’s free, high-speed internet at nine public libraries across the city. The connections are available wirelessly and from library computers.

The city also provides fiber-optic service at 14 community and cultural centers, including the Goodman Community Center on Madison’s east side and Boys & Girls Clubs branches in Bram’s Addition and Fitchburg. This is a great way to provide the fastest connections possible to the people of Madison, especially in underserved areas.

See the city of Madison’s “Free Wi-Fi” page for a full listing of locations.

Internet Provider Availability

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Learn more about CenturyLink

Learn more about AT&T

Learn more about Frontier

Learn more about Spectrum

Learn more about EarthLink

Learn more about Viasat

Learn more about HughesNet

Learn more about LiteWire Internet Services, Inc.

Learn more about Netwurx

Internet provider stores in Madison

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Customer reviews of internet providers in Madison

Featured customer reviews

Spectrum

“The service was good—a little expensive but good. Once I hit the second year of service, my bill went up an extra $20 a month.”

–Heather R.

actual customer Verified User

AT&T

“AT&T has provided us with the worst customer service experience of my life. Nine months now of ongoing phone calls.”

–Matt T.

 

Frontier

“Great product at a good price. I have the High Speed Internet and run multiple devices wireless.”

–Mark B.

 

Madison internet FAQ

Who has the best home internet service in Madison, Wisconsin?

EarthLink has the best prices, the fastest speeds, and the best ratings in terms of customer satisfaction for home internet in Madison, Wisconsin. AT&T’s higher-tier packages, however, run over fiber-optic cables, a big improvement on DSL networks and even better than cable connections like EarthLink and Xfinity. If you’re looking for fast, reliable internet in Madison, go for AT&T if you can get their fiber service. Otherwise, EarthLink might be a slightly better choice.

Customer reviews of internet providers in Madison

AT&T

Overall:
Service:
Pricing:
Speed:

Matthew P | 05-30-2019

Customer Service is horrible; was on hold and between calls to do one thing for over a hour. When I first got the service, they charged me a fee to install the internet but I installed it myself. They claimed they were going to give me a gift card and never did. I had to call them and remind them to take it off my account.

Was this review helpful? Yes 58 No 1

Spectrum

Overall:
Service:
Speed:

Luis R | 12-27-2014

The service is ok, speed is not what the promised, they charge a monthly fee if you want a router, not the best but ok. I used to have att but it was worse, too expensive, slow and bad service

Was this review helpful? Yes 35 No 8

Spectrum

Overall:
Service:
Speed:

Erin C | 12-18-2014

Setting up Internet with charter was no hassle at all. There are two downsides: they advertise "spectrum" internet with lightning speeds, but we average only a third of advertised speeds. There seem to be days during high volume usage where it has gone down to a turtle speed and we are unable to get anything to load. Also - you get blasted with junk mail & email at a rate of one to three PER day advertising their triple play - cable, phone, and Internet bundle which we will never buy. I guess the service isn't horrible but it could be much better.

Was this review helpful? Yes 45 No 8