Skip to main content

In a world where the internet has become a lifeline, connecting us to education, jobs, and essential services, it’s harder than ever to find cheap internet in Detroit.

The digital divide in Detroit is not just about connectivity; it’s about the quality and affordability of access. Subpar internet speeds and high costs leave many low-income households struggling to keep up in an increasingly digital world.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the digital landscape in Detroit, exploring the challenges residents face and the initiatives working to bridge the gap. We’ll also highlight Human-I-T’s comprehensive approach to digital empowerment, offering a beacon of hope for those seeking easy access to cheap internet in Detroit.

Table of Contents

The Digital Divide in Detroit: A Closer Look

Current Internet Accessibility and Challenges

Detroit’s digital landscape reveals some sobering truths regarding internet accessibility. As of 2023, between 35-45% of Detroit residents remain offline, translating to nearly 300,000 people without internet access. This situation is particularly acute in low-income households, where the percentage offline was as high as 63% in 2023. The digital divide in Detroit is not just about connectivity; it’s also about the quality of access. In many areas, residents are offered subpar internet speeds below 25 Mbps, which is below the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband threshold. This is a significant barrier to accessing essential online resources and opportunities.

Christine Burkette, Detroit’s Director of Digital Equity, emphasizes the need for transparent processes for residents to access information and resources. She states, “My job in this role is to make sure that we have affordable, high-speed connectivity for all of our residents, whether it may be subsidized or unsubsidized.”  She is coordinating efforts to independently test bandwidth in neighborhoods to ensure that residents have the digital access necessary to learn, get jobs, and participate fully in society. However, the challenge is not just about providing access but also ensuring that it is affordable and high-quality.

The Real Impact of Digital Disparity

In Detroit’s public schools, 70% of school-aged children have no internet access at home, with a large percentage relying solely on mobile access. This lack of reliable internet access has significant implications for education, as students struggle to keep up with online learning, further widening the educational gap. The pandemic’s push towards online education has exacerbated this divide, leaving many students disadvantaged.

The digital divide also affects employment opportunities. In a city where the median household income in 2022 was $37,761, significantly lower than the state average, the cost of internet services often does not align with the quality provided. This situation hinders not only individual growth but also community development, as entire neighborhoods lag in the digital economy.

The Markup, a nonprofit investigative newsroom that focuses on data-driven journalism, revealed that almost 40% of internet offers in Detroit were for slow speeds below 25 Mbps, a speed so slow it does not qualify as broadband service. This is particularly concerning considering only 14% of offers were for speeds above 200 Mbps. The investigation also found that internet providers often offered faster internet in neighborhoods that were whiter than those paying the same amount for slower internet .The city’s response, including a $45 million allocation towards tackling the digital divide, is a step towards addressing these disparities, but the journey to equitable digital access is ongoing.

As we consider these challenges, it becomes clear that addressing the digital divide in Detroit requires a multifaceted approach. Let’sl explore the illusion of “affordable” internet in Detroit, examining the cost and accessibility barriers that continue to perpetuate the digital divide.

Evaluating the Options for Cheap Internet in Detroit

Understanding the landscape of options for cheap internet in Detroit is crucial. For families and individuals navigating the complexities of digital access, the choice of an internet service provider (ISP) is more than a matter of convenience—it’s a critical step toward ensuring equitable access to education, work, and essential services. 

Here, we dissect the offerings for cheap internet in Detroit from leading ISPs, focusing on how each plan measures up in terms of affordability, reliability, and accessibility. Our goal is to empower you with the information needed to make informed decisions that align with your needs and budget, bringing us closer to a future where everyone in Detroit has access to affordable, high-speed internet.

AT&T Fiber

High-Speed Fiber Internet

  • Speed Range: 300 – 5,000 Mbps
  • Price Range: $55 – $250 per month
  • Contracts and Setup: No annual contract required. Offers self-installation and professional installation, with potential fees for the latter.
  • Coverage: Limited to certain areas, focusing on downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Pros: High-speed options available; no data caps; reliable fiber connection.
  • Cons: Higher cost may be prohibitive for lower-income families; limited availability.


Broad Coverage Cable Internet

  • Speed Range: 75 – 2,000 Mbps
  • Price Range: $20 – $120 per month
  • Contracts and Setup: Promotional rates often tied to 1-2 year agreements, with potential rate increases post-promotion. Provides options for self-installation or professional installation, with fees for the latter.
  • Coverage: Extensive coverage across Detroit, making it a widely accessible option.
  • Pros: Wide range of plans; promotional rates offer initial affordability; extensive coverage.
  • Cons: Speed varies by location and plan; post-promotional price increases; data caps on some plans.

Verizon 5G Home Internet

Next-Generation Wireless

  • Speed Range: 85 – 1,000 Mbps
  • Price Range: $50 – $70 per month
  • Contracts and Setup: No annual contracts, offering flexibility. Simple setup with a self-installation kit to avoid extra fees.
  • Coverage: Limited to areas with 5G infrastructure, which may exclude some neighborhoods.
  • Pros: No annual contract; simple setup; potential for high speeds with 5G.
  • Cons: Limited availability in Detroit; performance can vary based on location and proximity to 5G towers.

T-Mobile Home Internet

Fixed Wireless Alternative

  • Speed Range: 72 – 245 Mbps
  • Price Range: $50 per month
  • Contracts and Setup: No long-term contracts, allowing for month-to-month flexibility. Easy self-installation with provided equipment.
  • Coverage: Dependent on T-Mobile’s network reach, which may not cover all areas.
  • Pros: No data caps; straightforward pricing; easy setup; discount for T-Mobile customers.
  • Cons: Coverage not comprehensive across Detroit; speeds may vary.

Additional Providers:

Snip Internet: Specializing in fiber to apartment buildings, particularly in downtown Detroit, offering speeds up to 1,000 Mbps for $70 a month. Ideal for residents in serviced apartments looking for high-speed fiber without long-term contracts.

WOW: Offers cable internet with plans ranging from 100 Mbps to 1,200 Mbps, focusing on the wider metro area. Promotional deals, such as the Internet 1 Gig plan for $50 a month for the first two years, provide competitive options for high-speed internet.

This detailed analysis of internet plans in Detroit underscores the importance of considering not just the cost but also the reliability, coverage, and terms associated with each option. For low-income families in Detroit, finding a plan that balances affordability with the necessary speed and reliability is key to bridging the digital divide.

As we navigate the complexities of internet affordability and quality in Detroit, it becomes evident that a multifaceted approach is needed. The next section will delve into Human-I-T’s role in addressing the digital divide, highlighting their comprehensive strategy that goes beyond just connectivity.

Human-I-T’s Better Offer for Cheap Internet in Detroit

Human-I-T’s offers cheap internet in Detroit by offering $15 monthly service for high-speed internet. Full-stop.

But our work in Detroit goes beyond just offering low-cost, reliable, high-speed internet.  Our approach is also about equipping residents with the tools and skills necessary for the digital world. One of the ways we do this is by offering Detroiters access to low-cost laptops and cheap tablets directly through our online store as well as our in-person location on 7 Mile Road.

But hardware alone isn’t enough. Human-I-T complements our low-cost internet and affordable devices with free digital literacy training, essential in a city with a median household income significantly lower than the state average. This training empowers residents, many of whom have limited prior exposure to technology, with the skills needed to navigate the digital landscape confidently.

Support is a cornerstone of Human-I-T’s strategy. Recognizing the challenges residents face in understanding and troubleshooting technology, Human-I-T provides ongoing tech support in English and Spanish. This support is crucial in building digital confidence among Detroiters, ensuring they are not only connected but also competent in using their digital tools.

To us, the path to equitable internet access is not just a distant goal but a present-day necessity. And Human-I-T stands at the forefront of this journey, offering more than just low-cost internet services. We provide the keys to digital empowerment through affordable devices and comprehensive digital literacy programs. Our commitment is to ensure that every Detroiter, regardless of their economic status, has the opportunity to connect, learn, and grow in the digital world.

Whether you’re seeking cheap internet in Detroit or looking to enhance your digital skills, Human-I-T is your partner in waiting. Visit our store on 7 Mile for a personal experience and discover how our programs can open new doors for you and your family.

Looking for cheap internet in Detroit? Fill out this form!

Liz Cooper

About Liz Cooper