Home Uncategorised Best Internet Providers in Wisconsin – CNET

Best Internet Providers in Wisconsin – CNET


What is the best internet provider in Wisconsin?

If you’re looking for internet service in Wisconsin, you have a few choices. After reviewing several popular providers, Spectrum rose to the top as CNET’s pick for the best internet service provider for most households in Wisconsin because of its broad coverage and solid speeds. Spectrum isn’t available everywhere in Wisconsin, so AT&T Fiber and T-Mobile Home Internet are also solid picks, depending on what’s available in your area. 

We’ve also found the top options if you’re hunting for the lowest prices or the fastest speeds. The cheapest internet in Wisconsin is TDS Telecom’s 300 megabits-per-second fiber connection, starting as low as $30 per month in some parts of the state. The fastest internet speed in Wisconsin also comes from TDS fiber at 8,000Mbps, although it’s not available everywhere. Also, look for AT&T Fiber’s 5,000Mbps plan. Rural residents can check into DSL or seek out local ISPs that service their addresses with fixed wireless or fiber.

Best internet in Wisconsin

Wisconsin internet providers compared

Provider Internet technology Monthly price range Speed range Monthly equipment costs Data cap Contract CNET review score
AT&T Fiber
Read full review
Fiber $55-$250 300-5,000Mbps None None None 7.4
AT&T Internet
Read full review
DSL $55 768Kbps-100Mbps None 1.5TB (no data cap for 100Mbps plan) None 7.4
Frontier Fiber
Read full review
Fiber $40-$155 500-5,000Mbps None None None 6.3
Read full review
Cable $50-$90 300-1,000Mbps Free modem; $7 router (optional) None None 7.2
TDS Telecom DSL DSL $30-$40 36-100Mbps $12 500GB during peak hours None N/A
TDS Telecom Fiber Fiber $30-$295 300-8,000Mbps $12 (optional) None None N/A
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless $60 ($40 with eligible mobile plans) 72-245Mbps None None None 7.4
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
Fixed wireless $50-$70 ($35-$45 for eligible Verizon Wireless customers) 50-1,000Mbps None None None 7.2

Show more (4 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Rural internet options in Wisconsin

  • Bertram Internet: Bertram covers a large area of eastern Wisconsin with fixed wireless, making it an option for rural residents who don’t have a good wired connection available. Here’s how fixed wireless compares to other internet connection types. With Bertram, contracts are optional. You can choose a three-year contract or pay a $185 installation fee and skip the contract. Pricing starts at $60 per month, but Bertram doesn’t advertise specific plan prices and speeds, so you’ll need to get in touch for a quote for your address. Expect speeds up to 100Mbps. There are no data caps. 
  • Bug Tussel: Bug Tussel offers fixed wireless alongside some fiber across much of Wisconsin, except for the state’s northwest corner. The service isn’t cheap, but it may be one of the few options for some rural homes. Wireless plans run $40 for 5Mbps up to $200 for 100Mbps. Bug Tussel has fiber projects in Iowa, Kewaunee, Calumet, Waushara, Fond du Lac, Marathon, Jackson, Forest and Oconto counties. Fiber plans start at $62 per month for 300Mbps and go up to $100 monthly for 1,000Mbps. There are no contracts or data caps.
  • Edge Broadband: Edge covers Walworth County and surrounding areas with fixed wireless and fiber. The ISP doesn’t advertise wireless pricing, but fiber starts at $55 per month for 50Mbps and goes up to $100 for 1,000Mbps. There are no data caps.
  • Frontier: Frontier’s DSL network extends primarily to north-central and southern Wisconsin areas. You’ll probably want to consider other wired alternatives first. Pricing starts at $65 per month, and Frontier doesn’t advertise speeds, so you may only be able to get very slow downloads. A router is included, and there are no contracts. Compare this with fixed wireless ISPs or satellite internet.
  • UPNetWI: UPNetWI reaches into south-central Wisconsin with fixed wireless and fiber. Like with many fixed wireless plans in Wisconsin, the service is pricey. UPNetWI’s wireless plans run from $68 per month for 10Mbps up to $152 for 50Mbps service. That includes a router. Fiber runs $85 monthly for 100Mbps to $145 for 1,000Mbps downloads with 400Mbps uploads. You’ll find fiber in Sun Prairie, Bristol, Windsor, Hampden and Pleasant Springs. Installation fees start at $225.
  • Satellite internet: Starlink, Viasat and Hughesnet are competitors in the satellite internet arena. Compare prices, speeds and contracts when choosing between them. Starlink may have an edge based on its potential for faster speeds and lack of a contract requirement. Starlink’s $600 up-front equipment cost is the biggest hurdle, but you get a 30-day trial period to test the service. 

Michael Crowley/Getty Images

Internet breakdown by city in Wisconsin

It’s hard to cover the broadband options of a state like Wisconsin and give individual cities the attention they deserve. That’s why we also compile lists of the best internet providers in US cities, including Wisconsin ones. We tackle details such as internet connection types, maximum speeds, cheapest providers and more. Check back later if you don’t find the city you’re looking for below. We’re working to add more locations every week. 

Cheap internet options in Wisconsin

Expect to pay around $50 monthly for many internet plans in Wisconsin. TDS Telecom offers some nice introductory fiber deals, but pricing varies. Depending on your location, you may find the 300Mbps plan starting at either $30 or $40 per month. That pricing stays good for the first two years. Equipment rental is optional. Spectrum is one of the most widely available providers in the state. Its cable plans typically start at $50 monthly for 300Mbps downloads, although you may find the 500Mbps speed level for that same price in some places.

If you’re a Verizon or T-Mobile phone customer, check into 5G home internet service. Both companies offer a discounted bundle deal where you pair your internet with an eligible mobile plan. For T-Mobile, home internet is as low as $40 per month. With Verizon, you can get your home internet for as low as $35 monthly. 

What’s the cheapest internet plan in Wisconsin?

Plan Starting monthly price Max download speed (Mbps) Monthly equipment fee
TDS Telecom Fiber $30-$40 300Mbps $12 (optional)
TDS Telecom DSL $30 50Mbps $12
Frontier Fiber
Read full review
$40 500mbps None
Read full review
$50 300Mbps Free modem; $7 router (optional)
T-Mobile Home Internet
Read full review
$60 ($40 with eligible mobile plans) 245Mbps None
Verizon 5G Home Internet
Read full review
$50 ($35 with eligible mobile plans) 300Mbps None
AT&T Fiber
Read full review
$55 300Mbps None
AT&T Internet
Read full review
$55 100Mbps None

Show more (4 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How many members of your household use the internet?

How to find internet deals and promotions in Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s best internet deals and top promotions depend on what discounts are available during a given time. Most deals are short-lived, but we look frequently for the latest offers. 

Wisconsin internet providers, such as Spectrum or Frontier, may offer lower introductory pricing or streaming add-ons for a limited time. Others, including AT&T Fiber and Verizon 5G Home Internet, tend to run the same standard pricing year-round. 

For a more extensive list of promos, check out our guide on the best internet deals. 

How fast is Wisconsin broadband?

Wisconsin landed in the bottom half of a recent Ookla ranking of download speeds for the 50 states (and Washington, D.C.). The Badger State had a 35th place showing with a median fixed internet download speed of 175Mbps. Spectrum checked in as the state’s fastest provider. For comparison, top-ranked Florida logged a median download speed of 240Mbps. Your personal speed test results may vary considerably based on your type of internet, network congestion and the equipment you’re using. Ookla’s rankings are useful for understanding how a state performs compared to others. Wisconsin isn’t in the basement but has room to improve, particularly in rural areas.

Fastest internet plans in Wisconsin

Plan Starting price Max download speeds Max upload speeds Data cap Connection type
TDS Telecom 8Gig $295 8,000Mbps 8,000Mbps None Fiber
AT&T Fiber 5000
Read full review
$250 5,000Mbps 5,000Mbps None Fiber
Frontier Fiber 5 Gig
Read full review
$155 5,000Mbps 5,000Mbps None Fiber
TDS Telecom 5Gig $180 5,000Mbps 5,000Mbps None Fiber
AT&T Fiber 2000
Read full review
$150 2,000Mbps 2,000Mbps None Fiber
Frontier Fiber 2 Gig
Read full review
$100 2,000Mbps 2,000Mbps None Fiber
TDS Telecom 2Gig $110 2,000Mbps 2,000Mbps None Fiber
AT&T Fiber 1000
Read full review
$80 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps None Fiber
Frontier fiber 1 Gig
Read full review
$60 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps None Fiber
TDS Telecom 1Gig $60-$75 1,000Mbps 1,000Mbps None Fiber
Spectrum Internet Gig
Read full review
$90 1,000Mbps 35Mbps None Cable
Verizon 5G Home Plus Internet
Read full review
$70 ($45 with qualifying Verizon 5G mobile plans) 1,000Mbps 75Mbps None Fixed wireless

Show more (8 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

What’s a good internet speed?

Most internet connection plans can now handle basic productivity and communication tasks. If you’re looking for an internet plan that can accommodate videoconferencing, streaming video or gaming, you’ll have a better experience with a more robust connection. Here’s an overview of the recommended minimum download speeds for various applications, according to the FCC. Note that these are only guidelines and that internet speed, service and performance vary by connection type, provider and address.

For more information, refer to our guide on how much internet speed you really need.

  • 0 to 5Mbps allows you to tackle the basics: browsing the internet, sending and receiving email and streaming low-quality video.
  • 5 to 40Mbps gives you higher-quality video streaming and videoconferencing.
  • 40 to 100Mbps should give one user sufficient bandwidth to satisfy the demands of modern telecommuting, video streaming and online gaming. 
  • 100 to 500Mbps allows one to two users to simultaneously engage in high-bandwidth activities like videoconferencing, streaming and online gaming. 
  • 500 to 1,000Mbps allows three or more users to engage in high-bandwidth activities at the same time.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Wisconsin

Internet service providers are numerous and regional. Unlike the latest smartphone, laptop, router or kitchen tool, it’s impractical to personally test every internet service provider in a given city. What’s our approach? For starters, we tap into a proprietary database of pricing, availability and speed information that draws from our own historical ISP data, partner data and mapping information from the Federal Communications Commission at FCC.gov. 

It doesn’t end there: We go to the FCC’s website to check our data and ensure we consider every ISP that provides service in an area. We also input local addresses on provider websites to find specific options for residents. We look at sources, including the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power, to evaluate how happy customers are with an ISP’s service. ISP plans and prices are subject to frequent changes; all information provided is accurate as of publication. 

Once we have this localized information, we ask three main questions: 

  • Does the provider offer access to reasonably fast internet speeds? 
  • Do customers get decent value for what they’re paying? 
  • Are customers happy with their service? 

While the answer to those questions is often layered and complex, the providers who come closest to “yes” on all three are the ones we recommend. When selecting the cheapest internet service, we look for the plans with the lowest monthly fee, although we also factor in things like price increases, equipment fees and contracts. Choosing the fastest internet service is relatively straightforward. We look at advertised upload and download speeds and consider real-world speed data from sources like Ookla and FCC reports.

To explore our process in more depth, visit our how we test ISPs page.

What’s the final word on internet providers in Wisconsin?

Spectrum is a serviceable ISP for most residents in Wisconsin. Its cable network doesn’t have the symmetrical-speed glamor of fiber, but you can get downloads up to 1,000Mbps, and it’s widely available across the state. The introductory deals are good but be prepared for price hikes later on. There is fiber to be found in the Badger State from the likes of AT&T, TDS, Frontier and smaller local or regional ISPs like Bug Tussel. Fast uploads are a nice perk of fiber. TDS has affordable plans, and AT&T has straightforward terms. Look for fiber at your address and compare it with Spectrum’s deals when deciding on an ISP. If it’s down to DSL or Spectrum, give weight to Spectrum’s cable speeds.

Internet providers in Wisconsin FAQs

Is fiber internet available in Wisconsin?

Fiber internet can be found scattered about Wisconsin, primarily in the more populated areas where you’ll come across options from TDS Telecom, Frontier or AT&T Fiber. Residents of some small towns may be able to get fiber from a regional ISP like Bug Tussel.

What is the cheapest internet provider in Wisconsin?

Of widely available plans, look to Spectrum’s 300Mbps introductory deal for $50 monthly. If you live in TDS Telecom’s coverage area, you may find DSL or fiber plans starting as low as $30 per month.

Which internet provider in Wisconsin offers the fastest plan?

TDS Telecom offers speeds up to 8,000Mbps in some parts of its fiber footprint, although some areas may max out at a gig. If you’re not in a TDS fiber area, look for 5,000Mbps plans from AT&T Fiber or Frontier Fiber.

What internet provider has the best coverage in Wisconsin?

The FCC National Broadband Map points to TDS Telecom as having the widest coverage (excluding satellite ISPs) across Wisconsin. That coverage is a combination of DSL, fiber and wireless internet. For a purely wired ISP, look for Spectrum’s cable service. 

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