Why is Wisconsin’s Internet So Slow?

Wisconsin is 36th in the nation when it comes to mobile internet speed — Minnesota is 1st. How did we allow this travesty to occur?

This past summer, the Journal Sentinel released an absolute gut-punch of an article—“In mobile internet speed, Minnesota and Minneapolis run laps around Milwaukee and Wisconsin.” Has a crueler headline ever been written?

The article responded to a study done by Ookla, a Seattle-based firm that ranked the fifty states using Speedtest to determine the highest internet speeds. Wisconsin ranked 36. Minnesota … well, they ranked 1. We were practically tied with Kentucky and Nevada.

And the data on cities is even worse. Milwaukee got 67, Madison was the third slowest in the entire nation and Minneapolis was — the angels wept — number 1 again.

This is unacceptable. How could our proud state — a beautiful land of beer brewers, cheese packers and snow-hardened warriors — have been overtaken by those rapscallions to the west?

Milwaukee, why have you forsaken us?

Some might say it has to do with the quantity of cell phone towers, the use of different internet providers, as well as the congestion of networks within major urban networks and the thoroughness of coverage in rural areas. But that doesn’t quite cover all the bases, so here are some potential reasons why the Dairy State’s mobile internet lags so deeply behind our greatest rivals.

1) The Borderline Religious Loyalty of Packers’ Fans

Every Sunday the entire state of Wisconsin hits the world wide web to stream the Packers game. Everyone’s firing up their devices, sending scores of data through the system just so they can support the Green and Gold. Surely this must cause a downturn in internet speed so drastic that it brings our average speeds down to 36 out of 50.

2) Books

Wisconsin is super literary. We love our books as much as we love our freedom. If you don’t believe me, read these fantastic articles conveniently linked here about Wisconsin’s bookish underbelly.

So perhaps the reason no one’s complained about the internet speeds around here is because everyone’s too busy reading old-fashioned paper-and-glue books. Once again, this problem is just a case of Wisconsin’s intellectual superiority.

3) We’re Secretly Home to a Flock of Social Media Influencers

Common wisdom tells us that social media influencers live in Los Angeles, where they produce content, make brand deals, hawk merch and Insta the absolute heck out of the ‘gram.

But from this internet ranking, it seems clear that something is seriously bogging down our speed, and an obvious answer is the local influencers.

Yup, up-and-coming Internet personalities are slowing our networks by constantly posting vlogs, photos and Boomerangs, because they know that a Wisconsin life is a life truly worth reposting.

4) Everything Else Wisconsin Has to Offer

This state is overrun with fun places to visit. It’s practically a pandemic of natural beauty.

Drive up to the Northwoods, spend a weekend in the Dells, visit Lambeau, go sailing on Lake Michigan, see the Mighty Mississippi in La Crosse, enjoy in the circus in Baraboo — these are all internet-free options.

So maybe the internet providers realized we don’t need the fastest internet speeds, because we’re too busy going out into the world and living it up like true Wisconsinites.



Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.