Best Internet Providers in Tampa, Florida

Tampa is a top relocation destination — and for good reason. The city has a lot to like, from its sandy beaches to championship-winning sports teams. Home internet options in Tampa aren’t half bad, either.

CNET considers speed, customer service, pricing and overall value to recommend the best internet providers in a city. After evaluating the available ISPs in Tampa, CNET’s pick for the best internet provider overall goes to Frontier Fiber. However, it’s not Tampa’s only ISP, so you’ll want to explore all available internet options in your area before deciding on the best provider for your needs.

Best internet service providers in Tampa

In my opinion, Frontier Fiber delivers the best mix of speed and value, but Spectrum or a wireless ISP like Verizon 5G Home Internet may make more sense for your home. I’ve listed what I consider to be the best internet providers in Tampa, along with plan and pricing details to help you decide which ISP is right for you. All prices listed on this page reflect available discounts for setting up paperless billing. If you decide not to go with automatic monthly payments, your price will be higher.

Note: The prices, speeds and features detailed in the article text may differ from those listed in the product detail cards, which represent providers’ national offerings. Your particular internet service options — including prices and speeds — depend on your address and may differ from those detailed here.

Frontier Fiber

Best overall

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Price range

$40 – $155 per month

Speed range

500 – 5,000Mbps

Connection

Fiber

Key Info

Unlimited data, no contracts, no equipment fee

Fiber internet is easy to recommend. It’s fast, reliable and, though it’s not always the go-to for cheap internet, it typically presents the best overall value. Frontier Fiber is a perfect example of the benefits of fiber internet service.

Availability: Frontier Fiber is available to around 70% of Tampa households, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Service can be found throughout the city and many surrounding areas, but those in the Sulfur Springs, Tampa Heights and West Tampa neighborhoods are most likely to be serviceable for Frontier Fiber.

Plans and pricing: You’ll have up to four options with Frontier Fiber, three of which come with max speeds of 1,000Mbps (1 gigabit) or higher. The fast speeds are tempting, but I consider the lowest Frontier Fiber plan one of the best internet deals on the market, with symmetrical speeds up to 500Mbps from $50 to $60 per month.

Service details: Frontier Fiber is very much “what you see is what you pay.” There are no equipment rental fees, data caps or contracts. Opting for Whole-Home Wi-Fi, which includes up to two mesh Wi-Fi devices, will add $10 to your monthly bill.

Read our Frontier home internet review.

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Spectrum

Best for bundling

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Price range

$30- $70 per month

Speed range

100 – 1,000Mbps

Connection

Cable

Key Info

Unlimited data, simple pricing, no contracts, modem included, free access to nationwide Wi-Fi hotspots

One of the few advantages cable internet has over fiber is bundling options. The coaxial cables that deliver cable TV service are also ideal for home internet. So, if you want to bundle internet and TV together, Spectrum will be your best bet in Tampa.

Availability: Spectrum’s cable network covers around 90% of households in Tampa. Many serviceability gaps are around public spaces such as Raymond James Stadium, the USF campus and Tampa International Airport. There are select residential areas throughout Tampa, particularly in Tampa Heights and Ybor City, that may be unserviceable for Spectrum Internet.

Plans and pricing: Spectrum offers two standalone internet plans in Tampa: download speeds of 500Mbps starting at $50 per month and gig service (up to 940Mbps) starting at $70 per month. That’s on par with Frontier Fiber, but upload speeds are much slower, 35Mbps max.

If you just need internet and both providers are available at your address, I’d recommend Frontier Fiber over Spectrum. On the other hand, Spectrum is the way to go if you want to bundle. The cable provider’s cheapest bundle includes speeds up to 500Mbps and around 75 streaming TV channels starting at $75 a month.

For those who prefer a more traditional cable TV package, Spectrum Internet plus the Select TV package, with up to 150 channels, starts at $110 per month. For $10 more per month, you can upgrade to the TV Select Plus package and get your regional sports networks for coverage of Lightning and Rays games, among other local sports.

Service details: Spectrum Internet comes with unlimited data and requires no contract. Renting a Wi-Fi router will add just $5 to your monthly bill. 

If you add TV service, expect a few more fees, including a broadcast fee, higher equipment rental costs and a regional sports fee with the TV Select Plus package.

Read our Spectrum Internet review.

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Verizon 5G Home Internet

Best wireless home internet

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Price range

$50 – $70 per month (50% off for eligible 5G mobile customers)

Speed range

85 – 1,000Mbps

Connection

Fixed wireless

Key Info

Unlimited data, no contracts, free equipment, 50% discount for qualifying Verizon mobile customers

Wireless internet does a decent job of filling in the spots around Tampa where cable or fiber connections have yet to reach. Your address may be serviceable for multiple wireless internet options, but Verizon is arguably the best. Even if your address is serviceable for Frontier or Spectrum, you may find Verizon’s low-cost, low-hassle 5G home internet service to be a better fit for your home. 

Availability: Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network is available throughout most of Tampa, excluding parts of Ybor City and select areas just southeast of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway. Though the network covers much of the city, home internet may not be available at your address, even if you can get 5G on your phone.

Plans and pricing: Verizon offers two 5G home internet plans: Verizon 5G Home, starting at $50 per month for speeds in the 85 to 300Mbps range and Verizon 5G Home Plus, which starts at $70 per month for speeds somewhere between 300 and 1,000Mbps. Available speeds will vary by address.

Depending on the speeds you can get, Verizon 5G Home Internet is a decent deal on its own, but it could be even better if you also have Verizon as your mobile provider. Verizon offers a monthly discount off home internet to qualifying mobile customers, meaning you could get high-speed internet in Tampa from just $35 to $45 per month.

Service details: There are no equipment fees, data caps or contracts with Verizon 5G Home Internet.

Read our Verizon 5G Home Internet review.

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All available Tampa home internet providers

The providers listed above aren’t the only ones to serve Tampa, but they are the ones I would recommend most. Here’s a quick comparison of the practical internet options you may come across in the Tampa area.

Tampa internet provider details at a glance

Show more (1 item)

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Top Tampa ISP honorable mentions

EarthLink: A name nearly as old as home internet itself, EarthLink now offers service by piggybacking off of the networks of other providers and municipalities. As a result, you’re likely to pay a bit more for service compared to other providers. Pricing and speeds vary widely by location, but all plans come with a one-year contract.

Rapid Systems: Local fixed wireless provider Rapid Systems is a decent choice for internet in rural central Florida, but pricing is high and speeds are low in the Tampa Bay area. You’ll want to check out other internet options at your address before opting for Rapid Systems, as residential pricing in Hillsborough County starts at $79 per month for max speeds of 10Mbps.

T-Mobile Home Internet: With speeds of 72-245Mbps starting at $50 per month ($30 for qualifying Magenta Max customers), T-Mobile rivals Verizon regarding 5G home internet. Though T-Mobile doesn’t have the same speed potential, it does boast greater coverage than Verizon, making it an excellent choice for home internet in suburban and rural areas outside of Tampa.

WideOpenWest: You won’t find WideOpenWest, aka WOW, in Tampa, but it is available in much of the Tampa Bay area, including Clearwater, East Lake, Oldsmar and St. Petersburg. The cable internet provider is a great choice for low-cost, high-speed internet, with service starting at $20 per month for speeds up to 100Mbps.

Satellite internet: HughesNet, Viasat and possibly even Starlink are available in Tampa, but there are plenty of other cheaper, faster options in the area to avoid having to settle for satellite internet.

How much is internet in Tampa?

The cost for internet in Tampa depends on the provider and plan you choose. The cheapest internet plans in Tampa will run you $50 per month plus taxes and fees, unless you qualify for a discount with Verizon or T-Mobile.

Cheapest internet plans in Tampa

Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

Internet options for low-income households in Tampa

At $50 per month, the financial barrier for home internet service in Tampa is a bit higher than other parts of Florida. As such, you may want to seek more affordable internet services.

Start by checking to see if you’re eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program. The federal program grants qualifying households $30 per month to apply towards home internet service. View CNET’s guide to the Affordable Connectivity Program to learn more, including how to apply.

Additionally, Spectrum offers a discounted internet plan designed to help keep those in low-income households connected. The Spectrum Internet Assist plan comes with download speeds up to 30Mbps starting at $30 per month. When applied with the ACP credit, you could get Spectrum Internet Assist for a net cost of $0 per month, though renting a Wi-Fi router will add $5 per month. 

Frontier does not have a special low-income plan like Spectrum does, but if you qualify for the ACP credit, you could get speeds up to 500Mbps from the fiber provider for around $20 per month plus taxes and fees.

How fast is internet in Tampa?

According to the most recent Ookla speed test data, the state of Florida ranked No. 1 in Q2 2023 for fastest median download speeds in the US at around 232Mbps. Tampa, though it came in slightly slower than the state, ranked 48th overall among US cities with a median download speed of 220Mbps.

Spectrum clocked the fastest median speed in Tampa at 258Mbps. The provider also ranked first overall among all major providers nationwide with a median download speed of 243Mbps.

There are many factors that can affect speed tests, such as using Wi-Fi and an internet plan’s max speeds, but Tampa’s speed test results are impressive and a good indicator of the speeds you could experience with Spectrum and Frontier. 

The slowest available plan from both providers (excluding Spectrum’s Internet Assist) comes with download speeds of up to 500Mbps. Faster plans are available from both providers, while EarthLink offers speeds up to 2,000Mbps in select areas and speeds up to 1,000Mbps may be available from Verizon 5G Home Internet.

Fastest internet plans in Tampa

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Source: CNET analysis of provider data.

How CNET chose the best internet providers in Tampa

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. So 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.

But 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. 

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

Tampa home internet FAQs

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