Where To Find Internet Service For Seniors
Most communities have several internet providers to choose from, which means seniors often have no issues finding an internet plan that is ideal for their needs and suits their budget.
Talk with trusted family members or friends about their experience with internet service providers. Its also a good idea to ask how reliable their internet connection is, as no one wants to sign up for spotty internet!
If youve recently moved to another residence, you may now live in the service area of a preferred internet provider that offers the best internet for seniors. For older adults living in a senior apartment or senior facility, the residence manager can provide guidance on prospective internet providers. Your options may be limited if your senior living community has a specific contracted provider.
Organizations That Help Seniors With Internet Access And Digital Devices
Many nonprofit organizations around the U.S. strive to assist seniors with getting internet access, technical support, and computers. These groups are even happy to help seniors navigate their application process. Here are a few of our favorite organizations helping seniors connect to the internet and find low-cost digital devices:
Seniors in the greater Boston area
Next Steps For Apply For A Discounted Communications Service Through The Lifeline Program
The National Verifier will return an eligibility decision by mail or email, if provided, within 7-10 days.
Any questions about the application process or eligibility documentation can also be directed to USAC via the Lifeline Support Center at 1-800-234-9473. The Lifeline Support Center operates 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm and continues to review applications during this period.
You will have 90 days to choose a provider and sign up for Lifeline service with them once USAC approves your eligibility. For a list of Lifeline providers in your area, visit the USAC website and enter your zip code.
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How Seniors Can Qualify For The Affordable Connectivity Program
Seniors with an income of 200 percent or less of the federal poverty level immediately qualify for the ACP. You may also qualify by participating in a federal assistance program such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline.
Signing up for the ACP is a relatively easy process. Just follow one of these three methods to start getting your discounted broadband internet:
Companies That Offer Reduced Priced Internet Access Or Inexpensive Computers
Lack of free or low cost internet connection is an issue for school-aged kids as well as many elderly people. The National telecommunication reported that about 20% of teens are faced with an academic burden and are unable to complete homework assignments with a lack of reliable internet. In addition to the free government internet service programs listed above, many businesses are stepping up to the plate to offer low cost or even free Internet as well as Wi-Fi access to families, in particular youth. These companies are also offering free Internet for seniors.
With over one million people enrolled nationwide, the Internet Essentials program from Comcast is the largest by far. There are a number of conditions that need to be met by applicants as this is a regular utility type company, and the terms of the program can also change at any time. Some of them include the following.
While the pricing can change, if found to be qualified, the monthly charge for their high speed Internet access could be as low as about $10 per month. There may be constraints on the download speeds, but it will still be much faster than a dial up or some other type of connection.
For more information on affordable or free Internet access or a low cost computer from Comcast through the Essential program, call 1-855-846-8376. Or call your own utility or cable company or other Internet provider to inquire with them if they offer similar services.
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Astound Broadbands Internet First
Astound Broadband, which is powered by RCN, Wave, and Grande, offers Internet First for families and students in low-income households. If your household takes part in Internet Firsts long list of qualifying public assistance programs, you can get internet access for only $9.95 a monthand your first 60 days are free.
Go to the Internet First website to apply for service.
Free Internet For Seniors
While theres no current internet plan thats free for seniors, there are some places to get free internet access in the community. For example, if your loved one enjoys outings, he/she might consider connecting to the internet:
- At a local library
- Some public transportation
- Some public parks
Of course, publicly available internet isnt always safe. You should never use internet without a password or access sensitive information while connected to public internet.
Not every senior has the ability to move around town. If your loved one isnt able to visit these locations for free internet, youll want to check out low-cost internet plans for seniors below.
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At& t Versus The Competition
If you’re just looking for a simple internet plan to do basic activities, such as emailing and light web surfing, you may benefit from comparing plans with lower speeds there’s no need to pay for more speed or features than you need. Below is a comparison of basic internet plans from AT& T and other leading providers:
Directv And At& t Internet Bundles
Many older adults use the television for news, information, and entertainment in addition to the internet. If you bundle your TV and internet services with AT& T, you can save on your monthly bill when compared to paying for them separately.
FYI: Are you new to the world of internet plans and providers? Head to our guide to internet for seniors. We cover ways to get the best deals, the top providers, tips for staying safe online, and more!
DIRECTV offers satellite and streaming TV packages with up to 330 channels, depending on the package you choose. These packages can be bundled with AT& T’s fiber internet plans, starting at $119.99 per month for the first year, with auto and paperless billing discount. You’ll also have access to more than 80,000 on-demand shows and movies, and you can record your favorite shows to watch later with cloud storage. Whether you’re having a movie night with friends or watching a show with the kiddos, adding a DIRECTV STREAM or satellite package to your internet plan really ups the entertainment options available to you.
Quick Tip: Visit our guide to the best internet providers for seniors to compare AT& T to other top providers.
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Do Any Cable Companies Offer Discounts For Older Adults
No, not specifically. But several cable internet companies do feature discount programs and plans that can apply to seniors. For example, Optimum offers Optimum Advantage Internet, a low-cost, 50Mbps plan for $15 a month that includes free installation, unlimited data, no contracts and a Wi-Fi router. Among the eligibility criteria are veterans receiving state or federal public assistance or seniors 65 and older who participate in Supplemental Security Income. Astound Broadband’s Internet First program and Spectrum’s Internet Assist also include the SSI participation qualification. Finally, Comcast Xfinity’s Internet Essentials accepts SSI and participation in Medicaid or a VA pension.
About Affordable Connectivity Program
FCC ACP offers a discount on internet service to eligible households from any participating provider . Applies to post-paid internet only. Program and discount are subject to change. Non-transferrable one per household. You remain responsible for monthly payment to Cox and may transfer the benefit to another provider at any time. Discount ends when fund is expended. After Program, Coxâs regular rates apply, which are subject to change. Non-transferrable one per household. FCC decides eligibility. For more details see cox.com/acp.
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How Much Does Internet Service Cost For Seniors
As you shop for an internet provider and plan, you’ll discover pricing varies widely. This is why comparison shopping is key.
Basic internet plans for low-income seniors start at $10 a month. Older adults who need a top-of-the-line plan that supports multiple devices, high-speed downloads, and lag-free streaming can expect to pay between $50 to $100 a month.
Quick Tip: If you already have an internet connection, but it seems slower than usual, there are several ways to speed things up. Head to our guide on how to make your internet faster for our top tips.
Internet service and plan pricing are heavily impacted by:
- The type of internet connection
- How much speed is needed
- Which providers offer coverage in your area
Do Your Research And Ask The Right Questions
All of the information offered in this guide is correct at the time of writing. As you can see from the changes to the CenturyLink plan, prices, coverage and/or eligibility can change at any time. Some of these prices and areas covered may not be accurate when you go to set up your new plan. That is why it is important to ask all the right questions before committing.
- Are you definitely eligible for this program?
- What price will you pay and is this the same after the first year?
- What speed can you expect from the internet connection?
- Are there any other perks to the plan, such as low-cost devices or free services?
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Free Internet For Senior Citizens
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Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Taxes and fees may apply.
Youve probably noticed the final prices after Lifeline assistance are higher than those from ISP low-income programs. But dont write Lifeline offits a big help when providers in your area dont offer their own initiatives. Lifeline makes internet accessible across the country, so its always an option if you qualify.
Not sure which of these providers are available where you are? Enter your zip code to see your options:
How Can Seniors Get Discounted Or Free Mobile Plans
If you qualify for the federal governments Lifeline program, you can obtain a free cell phone and discounted cell phone service through participating providers. Youll need to apply online with Lifeline. Once youre approved, you can contact any participating cell phone provider and enroll for a free phone and discounted service.
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Staying In Touch With Your Senior
Getting the right low-cost internet plan will go a long way to staying in touch. With it, seniors can chat via video apps, use social media, stream videos/music and look up anything to their hearts desire.
You should also make sure that you have the best cell phone plan for seniors, as well as the right digital products at home. These will help your loved one communicate well with your family and stay entertained during the day.
For more information on senior health topics or products, be sure to check out My Caring Plan.com. Here youll get more tips for caring for the special senior in your life.
Look For Quality Customer Service
Customer service is often overlooked when comparing internet providers, but it can dramatically affect your overall internet experience. A fast connection doesnt do you much good if it doesnt work half the time and you cant get anyone to fix it.
The best internet providers not only have convenient agents you can contact over the phone, but they also have online chat options, helpful articles, and responsive technicians to help you fix whatever issues you encounter. You can see how different providers ranked for customer service in our customer satisfaction survey.
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Can Seniors Get Internet Service For Free
Technically, yes, but it’ll take a few maneuvers. First, you’ll need to be eligible for the federal program, Lifeline. It’s not explicitly for seniors, but if you participate in Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income or Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, you may likely qualify. Once you do that, you become eligible for a subsidy program from the FCC called the Affordable Connectivity Program. This would provide you with $30 a month toward your internet service. If your ISP is participating in the ACP and offers an internet plan for $30 or less , you would be able to get your internet service for free.
How Can Seniors Access Social Media
Seniors can access social media through a phone, on a computer or a tablet. Social media can be a bit intimidating, but its one of the easiest ways to keep in touch with friends and familyand its very easy to set up, requiring no extra costs or fees. If youre new to social media, start with one account on the platform that most of your friends and family use, like Facebook or Instagram.
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Things To Keep In Mind About At& T Internet
- Available in only 21 states: AT& T currently operates in only 21 states, with California, Texas, and Florida having the widest coverage.
- Added fees: Although prices start at $55 per month, AT& T also charges taxes and installation fees, so your bill might be higher than the listed price.
- Limited speeds available: Not all of AT& Ts advertised speeds are available in all locations. Internet speeds depend on your proximity to AT& T centers and service areas. Make sure you check to see the availability in your area.
Questions To Consider When Searching For The Best Internet Service For Seniors
Ready to find an internet service plan that fits your lifestyle and budget? Research plays a key role! Sure, those television commercials and internet service advertisements that you receive in the mail seem like great options. However, as advertisements, they dont always provide the full picture of pricing and fees. As you research internet plans for seniors, consider these 10 important questions.
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Dont Always Stick With What You Know
It is important that all seniors pay attention to development within their plan and the terms and conditions of the service. While some companies plan to increase their coverage and improve services, some have made cut. This is what happened with CenturyLink. This plan was highly-recommended only a couple of years ago because they provided vast coverage of low-income households across the states for just $9.95. However, this was scrapped in all but three states. This left many users stuck and unsure about how to afford their service.
Does Xfinity Offer Discounts For Seniors
Xfinity does not offer a discount that’s explicitly for seniors. Still, Comcast’s Internet Essentials program for low-income households — featuring a 50Mbps plan for $10 a month and free access to Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots — does include eligibility that applies to seniors. Among the qualifications is participation in Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, public housing assistance and VA pension.
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Does Aarp Have Internet Service
AARP does not offer internet service, and most internet service providers do not have a standard discount for AARP members. However, when comparing internet providers in your area, speak to an agent over the phone if you can because they might be willing to throw in a senior discount if thats a crucial factor in your decision.
Hidden Internet Rates And Fees To Look Out For
The budget-friendly senior internet plan you just signed up for can turn costly after surprise fees, taxes, rental costs, and other charges have been tacked on. According to the 2020 Cost of Connectivity study by the Open Technology Institute of New America, internet customers face overly complicated pricing structures, poorly itemized fees, and a lack of transparency.2
Some of these fees, such as for the federal Universal Service Fund and Regulatory Cost Recovery, arent government-mandated. This means the internet companies can decide how much to charge their users.
Dont let these unexpected fees break the bank. Before choosing the best internet provider for your budget, ask for detailed information on your total monthly internet costs. Knowing the charges ahead of time will help you avoid an inflated internet bill.
Ask your potential providers how these costs factor into your bill:
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