- Tampa residents have two main options for Internet service: Frontier Fios and Charter Spectrum. Neither provider has data caps, making it a favorable market for “cord cutters.”
- Fios and Charter compete closely in most neighborhoods, alongside a few smaller niche providers detailed below. Tampa has more fiber service available than most cities its size.
- The average Internet speed available in Tampa is 36.81 Mbps.
Best Residential Internet Providers
Picking the best plan for home Internet comes down to a question of price vs speed. We’ve evaluated all the providers in Tampa for these factors alongside quality of service, availability, and local reputation.
Frontier Communications - Top Pick
- Pricing: $3000 - $7000
- Max Down: 30 Mbps
- Max Up: 30 Mbps
Frontier combines comprehensive TV options with solid DSL Internet service for most of the local area. They’re a good option for customers who care more about the Internet/TV/Phone bundle’s overall performance, rather than just about Internet performance alone. That said, they don’t have data caps, which keeps cord cutters happy.
Charter Spectrum - Runner Up
- Pricing: $4499 - $8998
- Max Down: 300 Mbps
- Max Up: 20 Mbps
Charter Spectrum doesn’t have data caps, which earns them top marks for cord cutters. They also have some of the best download speeds in the area, earning them top marks for techies and streamers. Overall, they’re likely to be your best option in most local neighborhoods.
Residential Internet Providers Available in Tampa
Tampa has a handful of niche providers, including DSL and wireless options. Here’s a full rundown on every Internet provider currently serving Tampa, Florida.
|$4499+|| 100% |
|$4999+|| 100% |
|$5000+|| 100% |
|$3000+|| 89% |
|$5000+|| 5% |
Best Business Internet Providers
Tampa is one of Florida’s tech industry hotbeds, so it’s no surprise that there are several good options for symmetrical gigabit speed, dedicated IP, and all the other service features that matter for business broadband. Here’s our top pick after considering all the options:
Charter Spectrum - Business Pick
- Max Down: 300 Mbps
- Max Up: 20 Mbps
Charter Business is an affordable yet scalable option for businesses and enterprises in the area. We give them top marks for their industry-specific feature packages, which include Business TV, cloud services, SIP trunking, and everything else you’d expect from a world-class business broadband provider.
Business Internet Providers Available in Tampa
Tampa is fortunate to have decent fiber options for business Internet throughout much of the city. Here’s a full list of providers, including non-fiber services.
|$5999+|| 100% |
|$6999+|| 98% |
|$9999+|| 100% |
|$2000+|| 88% |
|N/A|| 15% |
|$11000+|| 11% |
|N/A|| 11% |
Map of Broadband Internet Competition in Tampa
While Tampa has several good options for Internet service, their territories don’t always overlap. As a general rule, customers who live in shared coverage areas will have access to the best plan pricing and speeds thanks to competition between the providers present. Those who only have one real wired option might find the service to be less favorable.
See the map below for a detailed picture of how the different neighborhoods around Tampa stack up:
Provider Competition Map
Tampa Internet Speed Overview
Thanks to the widespread fiber network from Frontier Fios (formerly Verizon Fios), overall speeds in Tampa are high compared to other cities of similar size. Fiber service in a city tends to kick-start competition on speed from other local providers, and that’s certainly been the case in Tampa, with traditional cable and DSL players scrambling to upgrade their network technology.
|Average Speed||90th Percentile Speed|
|36.81 Mbps||89.01 Mbps|
Average Residential download speeds within Tampa
Top Factors to Consider When Shopping for Internet Service in Tampa
Shopping for Internet can be a stressful experience. The fine print on plans is often littered with hidden fees and unfavorable terms.
That said, Tampa’s main ISPs are actually pretty decent at spelling out the reasoning behind fees on your bill. (At least compared to other large corporate Internet companies.) Frontier even lists Internet/TV service fees explicitly on a dedicated page of their site.
There are a couple key points we’d warn Tampa Internet shoppers to watch out for in the local Internet plan market: namely, router rental fees and limited-time pricing.
Router Rental Fees
All the big providers in Tampa will offer to rent you a router or “gateway” unit along with your subscription. While it only costs $5–10/month, it can add up pretty quickly if you are with that provider for multiple years. Add in DVR costs and other equipment rentals, and you can see how this spirals out of control pretty quickly.
The DVRs may be required, but the router and/or modem can sometimes be purchased separately to save you some cash in the long run. Fiber service sometimes can be specific about the equipment needed, so be sure to verify compatible models with your provider directly before making a purchase.
Month-to-month Internet service can be expensive. One way to bring the price down is to sign on for a one or two year contract.
Providers often make promotional offers for plans like these to encourage customers to lock in for the long haul. However, you need to make sure that you fully understand how the monthly pricing can change through the course of your contract.
Is it a “locked in” fixed price?
Is it cheaper the first year, and higher the second?
How steep is the fee for breaking if you suddenly need to move, or simply don’t like the service?
These are all questions you should ask a provider and verify in the fine print before signing on for a broadband plan.
Tampa has relatively few Internet providers compared to other major metro areas in Florida. However, the quality of service from the providers that are present is surprisingly high. This makes it a unique area, particularly for tech companies.
Will Tampa ever get Google Fiber Internet Service?
Tampa was initially on Google Fiber’s shortlist for potential fiber cities due to the favorable local government, pro-tech community, and access to dark fiber and existing infrastructure.
Unfortunately for residents, as of 2016 Google has decided not to move forward with fiber service for Tampa.
Broadband Roadblocks in Tampa
The biggest problem currently facing Tampa is limited competition. With only two major players in town, residents haven’t seen the rapid explosion in access to high speeds that can be observed in cities where upstarts like Ting or Google Fiber upped the bar.
While fiber is available in much of Tampa, residents frequently complain that the companies providing it can be difficult to deal with, or that the connections inside particular buildings are outdated. Solving these problems will take concentrated effort from public institutions and private companies alike.
Public solutions like municipal broadband aren’t currently serving the Tampa area, and the high taxes imposed on municipal broadband networks in Florida will likely keep it that way for the time being.
What does the future hold for broadband access in Tampa? To find out, we reached out to some of the best and brightest currently working on Internet issues with the local government and community organizations. We will update this page when those conversations have concluded. For now, please feel free to reach out if you know of any unique Tampa-area broadband resources that should be included here.
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.