- Gainesville is primarily served by Cox Cable Internet and AT&T DSL Internet. The average broadband speed in Gainesville is 15.55 Mbps. The 90th percentile speed, which we found to be more representative of most consumer options, is 42.84 Mbps.
- There are 9 Internet providers within Gainesville city limits.
- Partial municipal broadband is also available in select communities through Gator.net. Fiber is available in select areas, mostly for business plans.
- The nonprofit community group Connected Gainesville is working to improve Internet access and reduce monopolies within the city.
Best Residential Internet Providers
Residential Internet can be a problem for Gainesville locals who need above-average speeds. Cable and DSL are the main games in town, outside the lucky few buildings served by municipal broadband from Gator.net. Here are our top picks for the best widely-available, reasonably-priced high-speed Internet in Gainesville.
Cox Communications - Top Pick
- Pricing: $2999 - $11999
- Max Down: 300 Mbps
- Max Up: 30 Mbps
Cox has the strongest network in the area overall, and their hybrid fiber-coaxial last mile connections are hard to beat in terms of raw download speed. They also offer budget-friendly TV/Internet “double play” deals that are a good fit for family homes and sports fans.
AT&T Internet - Runner Up
- Pricing: $4000 - $8000
- Max Down: 1,000 Mbps
- Max Up: 1,000 Mbps
AT&T is the “budget” option in the area, offering Digital TV and fast Internet connections at surprisingly reasonable prices. Customers report that while customer service is hit and miss, the reliability and consistency of the network makes up for it in most cases. Their DirecTV platform offers sports, HD, and premium channel packages.
Residential Internet Providers Available in Gainesville
Between fixed wireless, niche operators, and municipal broadband, Gainesville has a lot to offer for residents that happen to live in a “hot” broadband area. A full list of apartment communities served by Gator.net’s gigabit service is available at their site, including Stratford Court and The Ridge at Gainesville. 50–100 Mbps service is also available in Carver’s Corner, University West Condos, and a few other areas.
See the table below for a full list of providers offering residential Internet, TV, and/or phone service in Gainesville.
|$4999+|| 100% |
|$5000+|| 100% |
|$2999+|| 87% |
|$4000+|| 85% |
|$9500+|| 63% |
|N/A|| 11% |
|$5000+|| 7% |
Best Business Internet Providers
Business Internet can be tricky to source, particularly if your location is in a building not yet wired for next-generation service like fiber.
Cox Communications - Business Pick
- Max Down: 300 Mbps
- Max Up: 30 Mbps
Cox is one of the better business options within city limits, offering all the core features needed for small businesses up to enterprise office networks. Their hosted VoIP systems are reliable and scalable, and the fiber network backbone is reliable for critical use cases like processing financial transactions.
Business Internet Providers Available in Gainesville
While service can be patchy, most local providers are able to work with you so long as you’re willing to cover some of the installation or build costs. Here’s a full list of business-specialized Internet providers in the Gainesville city area.
|$6999+|| 100% |
|$9999+|| 100% |
|$9500+|| 63% |
|$5000+|| 100% |
|$10500+|| 86% |
|N/A|| 14% |
|N/A|| 16% |
Map of Broadband Internet Competition in Gainesville
Cable and DSL are the main options for the vast majority of Gainesville residents. Specialized providers and municipal solutions tend to focus on high-density and high-income areas where they can quickly recoup their investment.
Neighborhoods that don’t fall into these categories generally have fewer options, as the map below illustrates.
Provider Competition Map
Top Factors to Consider When Shopping for Internet Service in Gainesville
In Gainesville, most of us are left choosing between cable and fiber service. But what’s the actual difference?
Essentially, cable delivers data over coaxial cable TV networks while DSL delivers data over twisted copper telephone lines. Unlike fiber, these networks weren’t designed for digital data, which is why you need a modem to “translate” the analog frequencies into digital data that your devices can understand.
Cable is usually more reliable and delivers higher speeds than DSL at a slightly higher price. However, it also tends to slow down during peak use times between 6–9pm, when everyone in Gainesville seems to turn on Netflix at the same time.
Data usage only goes up year over year. Between streaming, 4k screens, and smart home setups, it’s expected that the average data usage per person will go up dramatically in the next few years.
Data caps create a problem for that by policing subscribers and making it difficult to use their Internet connection to the fullest. In the short term, it’s encouraging TV watchers to stick with traditional TV plans rather than stream from Netflix or Hulu. In the long term, it’s creating a potential bottleneck on technology. Providers usually don’t impose caps in high-competition areas, but unfortunately many Gainesville residents have to deal with them.
If a plan with a data limit is your only option, just be aware of how your daily habits increase data usage. You can probably watch a movie on Netflix daily, but you’ll run into trouble if multiple users are streaming for hours at a time all month long.
Municipal Broadband Issues
Gator.net has made municipal broadband options a reality for residents of some multi-unit buildings around Gainesville. However, Internet options are still scarce in much of the city. In fact, it could be holding back tech growth — although local government and organizations are working hard to overcome it.
It’s no surprise that Gainesville has to fight for their municipal broadband options — Florida has a history of making it legally difficult for such networks to exist at all, with some of the harshest regulations and highest taxes in the country. The state requires municipal networks to break even financially within four years, a feat which is virtually impossible when you consider the high cost of installing fiber and other last-mile network hardware. 
For more local perspective on Gainesville’s future as a pro-tech gigabit city, we contacted Connected Gainesville Co-founder Bryan Eastman, who has been working with the local government to improve connectivity throughout the city.
Co-founder, Connected Gainesville
- As a local, are you optimistic about seeing the situation improve residential broadband in the next 1–3 years? Extremely optimistic. Gainesville has voted to move forward with a study and has created a subcommittee to stay on top of this issue. The city-owned utility owns hundreds of miles of fiber optic cable that can be used for the next great innovation of internet access, whether that is 5G, fiber to the home, or wireless options. We have a new, young city manager who’s excited to try new things and push the envelope, and we’ve been on a roll electing millennials to the city commission that know how important connectivity is and are committed to being on the front line of that. Gainesville has always been a special place, but I think we’re starting to see that special energy manifest itself into exciting new companies, and so long as we keep moving forward and being bold in our decisions we’re going to keep seeing that trend. If we don’t, we’re going to fall behind. Gainesville wants to be that great tech city, and we want to take care of our most vulnerable citizens who need access to the affordable internet. I believe we’re on the right path to do both, but like I said we need to be bold and we need to take action, it just depends on what that looks like.
- In your opinion, what is the hub of Gainesville’s tech scene? Any particular neighborhoods or areas that startups and tech companies should check out? We have a great tech and startup culture here in Gainesville, which is a big part of why I’m here. For such a small city we pack in a lot of creative energy, which has resulted in a lot of great bands from here like Tom Petty, Less Than Jake, and Against Me, as well as great startups like Grooveshark.The tech community revolves around two main areas, Innovation Square which was created by and is adjacent to the University of Florida; and our Downtown, which houses a lot of our exciting tech companies. Innovation Square has the Innovation Hub (we like the word innovation here in Gainesville), which houses dozens of tech companies created from UF technologies and students; Starter Space, a more grassroots business incubator; as well as companies like Sharpspring and Feather. Downtown is my personal favorite area, and where my digital marketing company is located (shameless plug for Everblue Communications), as well as great firms like Paracosm, Shadow Health, and Trendy Entertainment. If you’re interested in seeing the area just stop in somewhere that stands out to you, we’re a southern town and we take our hospitality very seriously. Our local tech start-up non-profit, GAIN, has created a great map of startups in our area that is helpful as well. Interestingly, both of these areas that are booming with tech start-up energy are serviced by our municipal internet service provider, which I don’t think is a coincidence.
References and Footnotes
Ana De Castro
Ana De Castro cut her teeth as a SAP consultant for Deloitte during the original tech boom, and now works in a communications role in the telecom industry. When she isn’t explaining technical concepts to confused consumers, she enjoys traveling with her husband and two rambunctious kids.
James Webb is a tech and gadgets expert with a focus on educational content development. He draws on his background in the startup world to make complicated technologies and topics easy to understand for normal folks.