Best Internet Providers in Michigan – CNET

What is the best internet provider in Michigan?

Among the potential internet options available throughout Michigan, Spectrum is the best internet service provider overall due to its fast speeds, simple pricing and wide availability throughout the state. 

WOW Internet offers the cheapest internet in Michigan, starting at $20 a month for 100Mbps. Also worth noting is the company’s gigabit plan, which is the best value at $50 a month for speeds up to 1Gbps.

Xfinity offers the fastest internet speed in Michigan, with a 10-gigabit fiber connection available at some residential locations. That said, AT&T, Frontier, T-Mobile and others also offer compelling internet service depending on what you’re looking for and where you live in the Great Lakes State.

Our methodology

CNET considers speeds, pricing, customer service and overall value to recommend the best internet service in Michigan across several categories. Our evaluation includes referencing a proprietary database built over years of reviewing internet services. We validate that against provider information by spot-checking local addresses for service availability. We also do a close read of providers’ terms and conditions and, when needed, will call ISPs to verify the details.

Despite our efforts to find the most recent and accurate information, our process has some limitations you should know about. Pricing and speed data are variable: Certain addresses may qualify for different service tiers, and monthly costs may vary, even within a city. The best way to identify your particular options is to plug your address into a provider’s website. 

Also, the prices, speed and other information listed above and in the provider cards below may differ from what we found in our research. The cards display the full range of a provider’s pricing and speed across the US, according to our database of plan information provided directly by ISPs, while the text is specific to what’s available in Michigan. The prices referenced within this article’s text come from our research and include applicable discounts for setting up automatic payments each month — a standard industry offering. Discounts and promotions might also be available for signing a term contract or bundling multiple services. 

To learn more about how we review internet providers, visit our full methodology page.

Best internet in Michigan in 2024

5 Internet providers


SORT BY

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Connection

Cable

Speed range

100 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$30- $90 per month

Our take – Spectrum provides the greatest high-speed internet coverage in Michigan, not necessarily in potential addresses served, but in sheer area. Availability aside, I’d recommend the cable ISP for its fair pricing and sensible speed tiers. 

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Check with Spectrum

Connection

Cable

Speed range

100 – 1,000 Mbps

Price range

$30- $90 per month

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Connection

Fiber

Speed range

300 – 5,000 Mbps

Price range

$55 – $250 per month

Our take – Fiber is arguably the best internet you can get, but Michigan has limited availability. Only around 16% of Michigan households are wired for fiber-optic internet, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Much of that coverage comes from AT&T.

...

Check with AT&T

Connection

Fiber

Speed range

300 – 5,000 Mbps

Price range

$55 – $250 per month

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Connection

Cable

Speed range

100 – 1,200 Mbps

Price range

$20 – $95 per month

Our take – Regional provider WideOpenWest, or WOW, also offers a decent plan selection and at prices lower than you’ll find from Xfinity or nearly any other provider. Signing up online may come with the added bonus of a free gift card as well.

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Check with WOW!

Connection

Cable

Speed range

100 – 1,200 Mbps

Price range

$20 – $95 per month

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Connection

DSL

Speed range

Varies

Price range

$50 per month

Our take – Wireless internet providers like T-Mobile Home Internet and Starlink show the potential to disrupt home internet in rural areas, but for now, tried and true wired connections are often the best bet for speed and reliability. Frontier Internet, which uses a DSL network and admittedly is not my highest-recommended service by any means, may be the only wired connection available to those in Michigan’s more remote areas.

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Check with Frontier

Connection

DSL

Speed range

Varies

Price range

$50 per month

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Connection

Cable

Speed range

75 – 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$20 – $120 per month

Our take – If you like options, Xfinity is the provider for you. Most customers will have six standard plans to choose from plus a unique prepaid internet plan. There’s also a low-cost, yet still broadband-worthy, plan available to select qualifying households. 

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Check with Xfinity

Connection

Cable

Speed range

75 – 2,000 Mbps

Price range

$20 – $120 per month

All Michigan residential internet providers

I’ve listed my recommendations for the best internet providers in Michigan above, but they aren’t the only ones you may encounter or should consider for your home. You’ll find a quick comparison of popular ISPs in Michigan below, followed by a closer look at potential rural internet services.

Top Michigan internet providers

Provider Connection type Monthly price range Speed range Monthly data cap Contract
AT&T Fiber Fiber-optic $55-$180 300-5,000Mbps None None
AT&T Internet Copper (DSL) $55 10-100Mbps 1.5TB None
Frontier Fiber Fiber-optic $50-$155 500-5,000Mbps None None
Frontier Internet Copper (DSL) $50 Varies None None
Hughesnet Satellite $50-$80 50-100Mbps 100GB-200GB (no hard data cap) 2 years
Mediacom Cable $20-$60 100-1,000Mbps 200GB-6TB None
Mercury Broadband Fixed wireless $50-$100 30-150Mbps None Varies
Spectrum Cable $50-$90 300-940Mbps None None
T-Mobile Home Internet 5G $60 72-245Mbps None None
Verizon 5G Home Internet 5G $50-$70 50-1,000Mbps None None
Viasat Satellite $70-$300 12-150Mbps 40GB-300GB 2 years
WOW Cable $20-$95 100-1,200Mbps 1.5TB-unlimited none
Xfinity Cable $30-$80 75-1,200Mbps 1.2TB 2 years (optional)

Show more (9 items)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Rural and 5G home internet in Michigan

In areas where a wired connection will not reach, wireless internet may be the last resort for broadband internet. Here are the providers you may want to consider in rural Michigan.

Hughesnet: Thanks to a new satellite, Hughesnet recently boosted its speed and data allowances. Pricing ranges from $50 to $80 monthly for speeds up to 50 or 100Mbps and data caps of 100GB or 200GB, depending on your chosen plan. Once you’ve surpassed your data allowance, Hughesnet may slow your speeds for the remainder of the billing cycle. 

Mercury Broadband: Fixed wireless providers like Mercury Broadband can typically offer faster speeds and higher data allowances than satellite internet. In the case of Mercury, speeds of 30Mbps to 150Mbps are available in most service areas, and there are no data caps to worry about. At $50 to $100 a month, the pricing is fair for what you get compared with the alternatives.

Starlink: If you want fast internet in rural Michigan, especially in the northern part of the state and the Upper Peninsula, Starlink may be your best bet. Speeds of 250Mbps or higher are available in select areas of Michigan, according to the FCC, though signing up will potentially cost you $600 to get started and $120 a month thereafter.

T-Mobile Home Internet: Aside from Frontier, T-Mobile 5G Home Internet may be your best option for internet in rural Michigan. Broadband coverage spans much of the state, speeds range from 72Mbps to 245Mbps and the $60-a-month service comes with unlimited data, no equipment fees and no contracts.

Viasat: Potential speeds are a bit higher with Viasat compared to HughesNet. Much of Michigan can get download speeds of 50Mbps or higher with Viasat. Data allowances are also marginally higher with Viasat, but so are the prices, unfortunately. Plans start at $70 to $300 a month and the rate increases after a short three-month period. 

What about Verizon 5G Home Internet? That’s currently less of a rural option, although it could serve as a low-cost, low-hassle alternative to traditional wired internet providers in Ann Arbor, Detroit and Grand Rapids — areas where Verizon’s Ultra Wideband network is most accessible. Service is $50 a month for speeds of 85Mbps to 300Mbps, or it’s $70 a month for 300Mbps to 1Gbps. Eligible Verizon mobile customers can get a discount of $15 or $25 off Verizon’s 5G home internet service for a limited time.

One of the arches along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. One of the arches along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

One of the arches along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

simplycmb/Getty Images

Michigan broadband at a glance

Per the most recent FCC data, broadband speeds of 25Mbps down, 3Mbps up are available to 100% of Michigan households. Satellite and fixed wireless internet skews that number a bit, as only 91% of residences can get broadband speeds from a wired cable, DSL or fiber-optic connection. Still, many in Michigan’s more densely populated areas will have access to two or more practical options for high-speed internet.

Internet pricing in Michigan

WOW and Xfinity have the cheapest internet plans among major ISPs in Michigan. WOW’s cheapest plan edges out Xfinity’s in price and speed, but either is a solid choice for budget-friendly broadband. For added savings, consider using your own Wi-Fi equipment. Rental fees from WOW and Xfinity could inflate your bill by around $15 a month but you can skip the fee by using your own compatible router.

If you can’t get WOW or Xfinity, or want a little more speed than the 75Mbps to 100Mbps you’d get, expect to pay at least $50 to $60 a month for the service. AT&T, Frontier, Spectrum, T-Mobile 5G and Verizon 5G all start around there, although none come with fees that will excessively add to the cost. 

Low-income internet plans in Michigan

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How fast is broadband in Michigan?

Gigabit download speeds are available throughout much of Michigan thanks to high-speed providers including AT&T Fiber, Spectrum, WOW and Xfinity, among others. Upload speeds are a different story, as fiber internet — essentially the only technology to offer symmetrical or close download and upload speeds — is limited to roughly 16% of Michigan residents. 

Recent speed test reports by Ookla placed Michigan 22nd for fastest download speeds at 182Mbps. Xfinity was the fastest provider in the state, averaging speeds of 236Mbps. Upload speeds did not fare as well. Michigan ranked 36th in upload speeds at around 20Mbps. 

Keep in mind that there are many factors affecting tested internet speeds. Using an Ethernet versus Wi-Fi connection, distance from your router when using Wi-Fi and a plan’s maximum speeds can all have an impact on tested speeds. While Michigan’s tested speeds are somewhat middle of the pack, faster speeds are certainly available to many Michigan residents.

Internet breakdown by city in Michigan

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

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.

  • 0 to 5Mbps allows you to tackle the basics: browsing the internet, sending and receiving email, 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 engage in high-bandwidth activities such as videoconferencing, streaming and gaming simultaneously.
  • 500 to 1,000Mbps allows three or more users to engage in high-bandwidth activities such as videoconferencing, streaming and gaming.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Michigan

Internet service providers are numerous and regional. Unlike the latest smartphone, laptop, router or kitchen tool, it’s impractical to personally test every ISP in a given city. What’s our approach? We start by researching the pricing, availability and speed information drawing on our own historical ISP data, the provider sites 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’re considering every ISP that provides service in an area. We also input local addresses on provider websites to find specific options for residents. To evaluate how happy customers are with an ISP’s service, we look at sources including the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power. ISP plans and prices are subject to frequent changes; all information provided is accurate as of the time 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 — the criteria are relatively simple. We look for the service package with the lowest monthly fee, though we also consider promotional rates and price per megabit. As for choosing the fastest internet service, we look at provider throughput. Most often, that means a fiber-optic service. That said, fiber availability may be limited to fewer addresses. 

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

Michigan internet FAQs

What is the cheapest internet provider in Michigan?

WOW and Xfinity have the cheapest internet plans among major broadband providers in Michigan, but WOW wins for being about $5 cheaper per month than Xfinity’s budget plan and also a bit faster (100Mbps to 75Mbps).

Which internet provider in Michigan offers the fastest plan?

Xfinity offers the fastest plan in Michigan with its Gigabit Pro tier, which features 10,000Mbps download and upload speed. That plan is available to a few households and requires a site survey before you can sign up. A more readily available plan is AT&T Fiber’s 5,000Mbps tier, which can be found in some larger Michigan metros.

Is internet in Michigan any good?

High-speed internet accessibility is best in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing and other more urbanized areas of Michigan, but relatively few parts of the state could be considered lacking in broadband options or speeds. 

That said, there is room to grow when it comes to fiber internet. Only around 16% of Michigan residences are wired for fiber internet, among the lowest of any state.

What is the best internet connection type for Michigan?

A fiber-optic connection, capable of download speeds up to 6 gigabits in locations that Xfinity services in Michigan, is the gold standard. That said, fiber availability may be limited to a small percentage of households in the area. Otherwise, a cable internet connection is your best bet. Cable internet can’t match fiber’s speed or reliability, but it’s far more accessible and available to most households in Michigan. 

Is Verizon internet service available in Michigan?

Verizon’s wireless home internet service is available to about a fifth of Michigan addresses, according to the FCC. Select locations, including Ann Arbor, Detroit and Grand Rapids will have access to Verizon’s Ultra Wideband network, capable of delivering download speeds up to 1Gbps.

Verizon Fios is not available in Michigan.

Is Spectrum or Xfinity better?

Both providers present unique pros and cons, but Spectrum’s simple pricing and service terms give it an advantage over Xfinity. Spectrum internet comes with unlimited data, no contracts, low equipment fees and a standard pricing model while any and all of those conditions can vary with Xfinity from one market to another.

Xfinity may be the better choice for the absolute cheapest introductory pricing and a faster plan in select areas, but the customer-friendly service terms that come with Spectrum will result in a better experience for many.

This post was originally published on Cnet

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