It’s 2022 and internet connectivity is at an all-time high. Not just connectivity, but the rate of internet adoption as well. A study conducted by Pew Research found that 75% of elder citizens over the age of 65 use the internet in some form in their life. And that brings us to the point of cheap internet for seniors.
The best cheap internet options for senior citizens are federal assistance programs like Lifeline. Beyond the government-subsidized programs, several carriers offer special plans for seniors that cover broadband internet in their homes as well as mobile devices.
Interested to find out more? Read along as we explore the best cost-effective internet for seniors.
What Kind of Internet Plan Is Best For Seniors?
It’s hard to imagine the internet as one size fits all products. Everyone has different needs and use cases. The same applies to senior citizens as well. While it’s difficult to consider individual preferences, here are some of the common grounds to cover.
We all know the speed of the internet grossly determines the cost of the plan. As a result, it’s important to consider the internet speed before signing up with a plan, especially if you’re on a tight budget.
We suggest going for moderate to above average speed packages for seniors as it will mostly cover their use cases. But if grandpa is into online RPG stuff, then you’re better off with high-speed packages.
Customer service is of paramount importance when it comes to a good internet experience, especially in the case of senior citizens. It’s granted that senior citizens might not be tech-savvy like the current generation. This situation requires great customer service experience to ease the hassle of using a plan.
Look for robust and dynamic customer support through telephone, chat, and even repair services.
The last thing you need is for the internet to constantly drop or receive poor service. This is why reliability becomes so much more important as it can ensure an unobstructed connection throughout.
Usually, the connection type determines how reliable each service will be. For example, if it’s a satellite or DSL connection, you’re looking at the lower spectrum of reliability. Make sure you get a cable or fiber connection as they are known for dropping less connection. After all, it’s more important to have a steady internet rather than a fast one.
How to Find Cheap Internet for Seniors?
Now the question is, how do you find cheap internet for seniors? Most of the time internet providers won’t explicitly list plans for seniors or even any plans that you can get at a cheap rate. As a result, finding a suitable internet plan becomes difficult. However, there are a few ways to go about it.
Federal Assistance Program
The federal assistance program that works with connectivity is the Lifeline program. The qualification criteria for the Lifeline program vary according to state but generally, pensioners under the 135% poverty guideline limit in any state can qualify for the program. And that includes senior citizens as well.
Lifeline programs often outline their partnership with different mobile service providers for an affordable plan. These can be a great way to locate a plan that works for you.
Neighbors can be a great source of information when it comes to stuff like these. Especially if you live in an aging community, chances are someone might definitely have some information on cheap internet packages.
And if not, it doesn’t really hurt to chat with your neighbors, right?
More often than not, internet or mobile plans tend to have different surcharges and hidden fees which add up to the main bill. This takes the monthly bill to a significantly higher amount than advertised initially.
The best way to identify and refrain from such a plan is to check for hidden fees in the contract.
Opt for Bundles
Mobile service providers aren’t just providing the internet these days. The best way to maximize the value is by bundling services from the same provider. For example, rather than having three different providers for your TV, phone services, and home internet, bundle the packages from a single service provider.
That way you will get a great deal on each service. Plus, it reduces the hassle of separate payments.
Check for Discounts
As we already mentioned, service providers do not explicitly publicize their value packages or senior citizen offers as there virtually aren’t any. But most service providers have senior discounts on regular plans.
For example, citizens qualifying for the AARP are entitled to discounts on regular plans from any provider. Just ask for discounts when you select your plan.
Who Are Some Providers That Offer Cheap Internet for Seniors?
Now let’s talk about some of the senior-friendly internet plans. While some of them are geared towards seniors through the Lifeline program, others are just regular basic plans which can also be a great option for seniors.
Xfinity Internet Essentials
Xfinity is probably the best value-for-money plan out there. While Xfinity has its own regular plans, the provider is a participant in the Lifeline Assistance program geared towards retired seniors.
To avail of the plan, you have to be a participant of either SSI or Medicaid or a receiver of a VA pension. In that case, you will be offered a zero-conditioned 50 MBPS connection at just $10 a month.
Users will also get access to public hotspots set up by Xfinity. You can get up to 100 MBPS speed if you pay $30 but as a senior, that might be an overkill.
Spectrum Internet Assist
The plan set out by Spectrum is specifically geared towards seniors over the age of 65 and receivers of SSI. This plan offers users up to 30 MBPS internet speed at a flat rate of $15 per month.
The best thing about Spectrum is that its nonbinding meaning there’s no contract involved. In addition to that, setup is also free.
Optimum Advantage Internet
Optimum is another great option when it comes to affordable internet for seniors. The internet plan is available for citizens over the age of 65 and receivers of SSI. Military veterans also qualify for this plan.
Users will be getting up to 50 MBPS internet at a flat rate of $15 per month. Just like Spectrum, the installation cost is also free on Optimum.
T-Mobile has a host of plans that often becomes confusing for many. However, senior users will get a flat single plan of 50 MBPS internet at $50 per month. There is no contractual binding with this plan as well.
Any citizen qualifying for any kind of federal assistance program can avail of this plan. However, check whether your state covers the plan or not as T-Mobile is still expanding its services.
Another great all-around internet plan is the one from AT&T. The phone service provider is known for its simple plans, flat rates, and no hidden charges. Senior citizens can get their 100 MBPS plan with a $49.99 monthly charge as long as they qualify for any of the federal assistance programs.
AT&T also offers different bundle options which are definitely worth checking out.
Internet Plans Compared
Is There Free Internet for Seniors?
As of right now, there are no direct free internet plans for seniors. The only available options are either the basic standard packages which apply to all or the federal Lifeline Assistance program along with a handful of other benefits that offer reduced plan rates.
Senior citizens can check whether they qualify for the FCC Lifeline program. This assistance program is known for providing part of the compensation above the reduced rate.
Internet access and usage are becoming increasingly common among senior citizens. But the cost often outweighs the benefits because of the exorbitant plans.
Thankfully, senior citizens can get specialized plans as there are several assistance program partnerships with leading mobile service providers.
While there are no free options available yet, the subsidized programs are still a good deal as they are made with affordability and accessibility in mind.