What is the best internet provider in Gainesville?
The best internet service provider for most households in Gainesville is Cox Communications. In addition to covering most of the city, Cox offers many speed tiers for customers to choose from. However, if Cox isn’t available at your location, AT&T Fiber and T-Mobile Home Internet are also solid picks.
We’ve also found the lowest prices and the fastest plans in Gainesville. If affordability is a large factor in your broadband decision, check out T-Mobile Home Internet. For $50 per month, customers can hit speeds up to 245 megabits per second. The fastest available internet speed in the area is AT&T Fiber 5000, offering symmetrical speeds up to 5 gigabits per second.
Best internet in Gainesville in 2023
Gainesville internet providers compared
|Provider||Internet technology||Monthly price||Speed range||Monthly equipment costs||Data cap||Contract||CNET review score|
|AT&T Home Internet||DSL||$55||20-100Mbps||None||1.5TB on some plans||None||7.4|
|Cox Communications||Cable/Fiber||$50-$150||100-2,000Mbps||$13 (optional)||1.25TB||None||6.2|
|Kinetic by Windstream||DSL/Fiber||$40||40-200Mbps||$10 (optional)||None||None||6.7|
|T-Mobile Home Internet||Fixed wireless||$50 ($30 with eligible mobile plans)||72-245Mbps||None||None||None||7.4|
|Verizon 5G Home Internet||Fixed wireless||$50-$70 ($35-$45 with eligible mobile plans)||50-1,000Mbps||None||None||None||7.2|
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Source: CNET analysis of provider data.
Other available internet providers in Gainesville
- Kinetic by Windstream: You won’t find it directly in the city, but Kinetic by Windstream provides service near Fairbanks, Orange Heights, Micanopy and Alachua. Kinetic offers both DSL and fiber internet — only consider this provider if its fiber-optic network is available at your household.
- Satellite internet: Satellite internet from HughesNet, Viasat or Starlink is an option wherever you live. But it shouldn’t be your first pick — with high prices and slow speeds, there are cheaper and faster options available.
- Verizon 5G Home Internet: Similar to T-Mobile Home Internet, Verizon offers a fixed wireless service with flat-rate pricing. For $50-$70 per month, customers can expect speeds of 50-1,000Mbps. So why should you consider T-Mobile over Verizon? While T-Mobile Home Internet covers almost 60% of Gainesville, Verizon covers only 2%. But if it’s available at your address, definitely consider it as a solid broadband option.
Cheap internet options in Gainesville
Despite Kinetic by Windstream taking the cake for the cheapest internet plan in Gainesville, it probably isn’t the best one. The majority of Kinetic’s coverage in the city is through its DSL network, so you may experience lag or delay more often than you would with other connections. For the best overall value — while still staying relatively cheap — turn to T-Mobile Home Internet. Its base price is the same as Cox Essential and Verizon 5G Home Internet, but customers can save an additional $20 if they’re an eligible mobile user.
Most of the providers we’ve mentioned also participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which gives eligible low-income households a $30 monthly discount for high-speed internet (or up to $75 for households on tribal lands). You can use the ACP toward any internet plan — not just the cheapest ones — from participating providers.
Source: CNET analysis of provider data.
How to find internet deals and promotions in Gainesville
The best internet deals and top promotions in Gainesville depend on what discounts are available during that time period. Most deals are short-lived, but we look frequently for the latest offers.
Some Gainesville internet providers, such as Cox Communications, may offer lower introductory pricing or streaming add-ons for a limited time. Many, however, including AT&T Fiber, T-Mobile and Verizon, run the same standard pricing year-round.
For a more extensive list of promotions, check out our guide to the best internet deals.
How fast is Gainesville broadband?
Among the 50 states, Florida places first for the fastest broadband speeds, with a median download speed of 240Mbps. The state’s fastest provider is AT&T Fiber. So how does Gainesville stack up? This small Florida city isn’t far behind, bringing in an median speed of 221Mbps. That’s pretty fast!
People looking for more speed than 221Mbps have plenty of options. The fastest speed you’ll find in Gainesville is 5,000Mbps, which is offered by AT&T Fiber for $250 per month. Cox also offers a 2 gigabit plan for $150 monthly, which is a great option if you want to bundle your internet and television service.
Source: CNET analysis of provider data.
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.
For more information, refer to our guide on how much internet speed you really need.
- 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 simultaneously engage in high-bandwidth activities like videoconferencing, streaming and online gaming.
- 500 to 1,000Mbps allows three or more users to engage in high-bandwidth activities at the same time.
How CNET chose the best internet providers in Gainesville
Internet service providers are numerous and regional. Unlike the latest smartphone, laptop, router or kitchen tool, it’s impractical to personally test every internet service provider in a given city. So what’s our approach? For starters, we tap into a proprietary database of pricing, availability and speed information that draws from our own historical ISP data, partner data and mapping information at FCC.gov.
But it doesn’t end there. We go to the FCC’s website to check our data and ensure we consider every ISP that provides service in an area. We also input local addresses on provider websites to find specific options for residents. We look at sources, including the American Customer Satisfaction Index and J.D. Power, to evaluate how happy customers are with an ISP’s service. ISP plans and prices are subject to frequent changes; all information provided is accurate as 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?
Though 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, we look for the plans with the lowest monthly fee, though we also factor in things like price increases, equipment fees and contracts. Choosing the fastest internet service is relatively straightforward. We look at advertised upload and download speeds and consider real-world speed data from sources like Ookla and FCC reports.
To explore our process in more depth, visit our how we test ISPs page.
What’s the final word on internet providers in Gainesville?
When it comes to home internet, fiber-optic connections are usually the best option. However, AT&T Fiber isn’t widespread across Gainesville — your address will likely only be able to get AT&T’s DSL service. You’re better off with Cox Communications, which covers almost the entire city and offers faster speeds than DSL. Plus, Cox offers its new fiber network to select households in Gainesville, which is why it takes the number one spot for ISPs in the area.