- TDS Telecom, Charter Spectrum, and AT&T Internet are the most commonly available Internet options in the Madison area.
- The 90th percentile average broadband speed in Madison is 90.8 Mbps.
- Madison has several speciality plans available for business broadband, suitable for small businesses as well as large industries.
Best Residential Internet Providers
These Madison-area providers won our top marks for offering reliable and cost-effective true broadband to wide coverage areas.
Charter Spectrum - Top Pick
- Pricing: $4499 - $13997
- Max Down: 300 Mbps
- Max Up: 20 Mbps
Charter Spectrum has two big things going for it: unlimited data and fast download speeds. While their cable TV offerings are comprehensive and include all the must-have premium channels, they’re also a good choice for Internet-only customers who get their entertainment through streaming or rely on a connection for bandwidth-intensive uses like gaming or Twitch.
AT&T Internet - Runner Up
- Pricing: $5000 - $9000
- Max Down: 100 Mbps
- Max Up: 20 Mbps
AT&T Internet is a good budget option with widespread availability in the metro area. We found it to be one of the more serviceable options for basic access needs like surfing the web, checking Facebook, and streaming the occasional video from Netflix or Youtube. What they lack in raw download speed they more than make up for in pricing and reliability.
Residential Internet Providers Available in Madison
Madison is fortunate to have two major DSL companies in the area, and even fiber availability in some neighborhoods. While provider coverage areas don’t always overlap to create direct competition, having more than one “game in town” seems to have encouraged local companies to provide better service and network upgrades than they might in single-provider areas.
|$5999+|| 100% |
|$3000+|| 100% |
|$4499+|| 99% |
|$5000+|| 89% |
|$2995+|| 85% |
|$6245+|| 5% |
|$5000+|| 3% |
|$2000+|| 1% |
Best Business Internet Providers
We found this company to offer the most accessible and flexible basic business Internet services in Madison.
Charter Spectrum - Business Pick
- Max Down: 300 Mbps
- Max Up: 20 Mbps
Charter Business is our recommendation for medium-sized businesses in the area seeking a mix of scalability and affordability. Their baseline services check all the boxes for reliability and features, while their enterprise options leave little to be desired, particularly when it comes to hosted voice solutions and call center support.
Business Internet Providers Available in Madison
Business Internet option in Madison are decent for a city this size, and includes several specialized providers tailored towards manufacturing and IT industries. Small storefronts are mostly content with basic business cable, but all the features and trimmings are available from providers listed below — backhaul, point-to-point, etc.
|N/A|| 98% |
|N/A|| 98% |
|$5999+|| 99% |
|$5000+|| 77% |
|N/A|| 78% |
|N/A|| 41% |
|N/A|| 7% |
|N/A|| 5% |
|$1999+|| 3% |
Map of Broadband Internet Competition in Madison
Madison may have several residential Internet options, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have the pic of the litter at your address. A common consumer complaint is that Internet providers often form “territories” rather than simply serving as many buildings as possible. As a result, many Madison residents only have a couple options. In outlying areas, only one of those options might be workable for bandwidth-intensive uses like video conferencing or streaming.
Provider Competition Map
Madison Internet Speed Overview
The average speed in Madison, Wisconsin is 90.8 Mbps. This speed is verified by our speed test data, using the top 10% from tens of thousands of data rows.
|Average Speed||90th Percentile Speed|
|36.25 Mbps||90.8 Mbps|
Average Residential download speeds within Madison
Top Factors to Consider When Shopping for Internet Service in Madison
Cord Cutting Options
Cutting the cord from cable TV in favor of over-the-top streaming services such as Hulu and Sling has been gaining popularity for years. The question is, is it worth cutting off the TV and going for Internet services?
The answer depends on your TV watching habits. If you watch for 2+ hours every day and can’t live without sports, we suggest sticking with a traditional TV subscription. Cable companies in Madison make it very affordable to get Internet and TV service together with “double play” bundle deals.
If you’re an occasional TV watcher or prefer Netflix Originals to basic cable, streaming is probably a cheaper option that will still meet your needs.
Multi-Year Contract Savings
Madison’s best Internet plans usually come with a multi-year contract attached. In general, we caution customers to avoid signing contracts that last longer than their lease, if renting. Short term residents like students are usually better off with a month-to-month plan. Longer contracts mean more savings for the provider, so if you’re in it for the long haul you may as well take the savings.
Just watch out for early termination fees, variable pricing, and other fine print snags. If the plan has any sort of promotional or sign-up discount, make sure you understand how long it will last. Often, customers will sign up for service not realizing that the price is scheduled to change halfway through their contract.
Will Google Fiber Come to Madison?
Google Fiber is not currently being considered for Madison. In fact, Google Fiber seems to be slowing their nationwide expansion, focusing instead on advanced millimeter-wave wireless technologies they acquired from Webpass. Since these technologies can service an entire building with gigabit service for a relatively low upfront cost, it’s expected that the company will likely continue pursuing this service before spending more money on the high cost of fiber installation.
Broadband Roadblocks in Madison
Madison doesn’t have any municipal broadband options, and that’s not going to change under Wisconsin’s stringent public network regulations. While not directly outlawed, lobbyists have created some difficult roadblocks for municipal service in the state. Madison residents would have a tough time getting even a partial network installed, even with majority public support.
That said, talks are ongoing about the feasibility of such a network. With a cost estimated around $200 million, it’s sure to face serious legal opposition as it goes through the planning phases.
References and Footnotes
Ana De Castro
Ana De Castro cut her teeth as a SAP consultant for Deloitte during the original tech boom, and now works in a communications role in the telecom industry. When she isn’t explaining technical concepts to confused consumers, she enjoys traveling with her husband and two rambunctious kids.
James Webb is a tech and gadgets expert with a focus on educational content development. He draws on his background in the startup world to make complicated technologies and topics easy to understand for normal folks.