6 Best Low-Cost Internet for Seniors
The internet is a valuable tool for seniors as it can help them keep in touch with their friends, families, and loved ones. It can also help them access various helpful services such as on-demand music, free videos, Netflix, and many more.
That’s not all; the internet is of great importance to seniors as it helps them use safety services such as automated temperature control, fall monitoring, home security, and many more.
Unfortunately, basic internet monthly access fees can get quite expensive, especially for seniors who are on fixed incomes. The good news is; some internet service providers are helping seniors by offering low-cost internet services that are specifically tailored for the seniors.
In most cases, these internet service providers offer no monthly contracts and typically offer free or low-cost equipment during installation.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the 6 best low-cost internet services for seniors. You, however, have to keep in mind that the availability might vary depending on your location and financial situation. But even with that, these internet packages are well worth it and should be on top of your priority list when looking for cheap internet for seniors.
AT&T Access – Best Internet Service for Seniors
AT&T offers an excellent program for low-cost internet known as the Access Program. This program offers internet for low-income seniors and qualifying low-income households as long as they do not have outstanding debt for AT&T internet service. The company will conduct credit checks on those applying for the Access Program and the results of the credit check might affect program eligibility.
Even though the Access Program isn’t specifically tailored for seniors, it offers fantastic features and incentives that will most likely appeal to seniors looking for cheap internet from a well-recognized internet provider.
You can also qualify if you’re on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). You can enjoy reliable internet for the low cost of $10 per month and there’s the possibility that you could end up paying $5 per month but this may depend on the speed of service in your area.
In other words, you may end up paying $10 per month for high-speed internet service and $5 per month for low-speed internet service.
One of the best features of AT&T Access is the self-installation kit that the company provides. You can also have a professional technician complete the installation for you at no additional charges.
Better still, there’s no term commitment or deposit required of AT&T Access Program customers. This means that you don’t have to pay activation fees to access internet services. Needless to say, the elimination of such costs makes this internet plan quite affordable for low-income seniors as well as those on fixed incomes.
The table below takes a brief look at the AT&T Access internet package.
Qualifications for AT&T Access
- One person in the household must be eligible for SNAP
- You must receive Supplemental Security Income if you’re in the state of California
- Specific income requirements
- They offer a monthly data allowance of either 150 GB or 1 TB depending on the type and speed of your service
- No additional costs for Wi-Fi in-home gateway
- Only available in 21 states across the country
- The company only communicates through the mail
- At least one member of the household must be on SNAP
You can find out more and apply online.
Xfinity (Comcast Internet Essential) – Best Bundling Options
Through a program called Comcast Internet Essentials, Xfinity seems to be willing to help the senior population access low-cost internet wherever they are. This program is in place so that qualifying seniors can take advantage and enjoy the benefits of low-cost, high-speed internet service.
This program allows you to reduce your internet costs from the basic $24.99 per month rate to about $10 per month! This program becomes even more appealing if you consider the fact that you can easily access low-cost computer and internet training on how to use the internet.
This is particularly a superb idea for seniors who want to get online but are not so conversant with how the internet works.
More importantly, this company offers a plethora of double and triple play bundles that can give seniors easier access to hundreds of HD TV channels for fantastic entertainment, high-speed internet, and a superb home phone line to enable you to connect with friends and family.
These bundles are ideal in the sense that they offer discounts, which makes them a lot cheaper compared to buying each service separately. Additionally, Xfinity provides contract-free bundling and various internet options to ensure that you don’t have to commit to the internet services long-term if you don’t want to.
But even with that, we recommend that you go for a long-term contract and use the plan for at least a year because you’ll receive the best rates.
The table below takes a brief look at the Xfinity internet package.
Qualifications for Xfinity
- You must be in a serviceable area
- You shouldn’t have current internet service with Xfinity/Comcast
- You should be on state or federal assistance
- You must be eligible to receive public assistance
- You shouldn’t have a leftover balance with Xfinity/Comcast within the last year
- Very fast with speeds of up to 2,000 Mbps
- Basic internet starts at $24 per month but you can get services at about $10 per month
- You get contract-free options
- There are a lot of double and triple bundle options
- You get extra perks when you bundle the services
- Doesn’t have senior-specific discounts
- Promotional prices are likely to increase after every year
- Best rates are only available for long-term contracts
Spectrum Internet Access – Best Customer Service
Spectrum offers eligible seniors on Supplemental Security Income affordable internet services through the Spectrum Internet Assist Program. At $14.99 per month and a decent speed of about 30 Mbps, this package might be one of the most expensive packages on this list but remains one of the cheapest options out there.
One of the most appealing features of Spectrum Internet Access is that seniors don’t have to sign contracts. This simply means that you can disconnect the service for any reason without having to pay termination fees. You also do not have to worry about having to read and understand the fine prints of the contract.
The Spectrum Internet Access also offers its senior customers modems as well as an option of adding Wi-Fi for an additional low-cost of $5 per month. You can also include other services such as Spectrum Voice, which allows you to access unlimited calling throughout the country as well as Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and other areas. You can also have easier access to Spectrum TV service.
This is a great internet service for qualifying seniors who do not own any debt to Charter Communications in the last year or so. Better still, there are no contracts, no data caps, and the internet speed is quite fast in many areas.
The table below takes a brief look at the Spectrum Internet Access package.
Qualifications for Spectrum Internet Access
- Community eligibility provision
- Supplemental Security Income (65 years+)
- National School Lunch Program
- No contracts
- No data caps
- Offers high-speed internet
- You may incur installation charges and equipment charges
- Recipients of Social Security Disability (SSD), Social Security Survivor, and Social Security Retirement benefits are ineligible
- At least one household member must qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Cox Connect2Compete – Best Technical Support
These days, many senior citizens have taken the responsibility of raising their grandchildren and the Cox Connect2Compete internet service can be a fantastic option if you’re in a similar situation. It can be a great option if you have a child who is attending K-12 classes and lives with you.
Cox is an affordable internet provider that gives you the opportunity of applying for internet services by telephone, online, or through a paper application. You won’t have to worry about annual contracts or deposits as long as you meet the main requirement, which is to have a child in K-12 classes.
With this internet service, you and your grandchildren or any other person in your household will have 24/7 free access to free online educational resources and training, free financial literacy information as well as other online information at no extra charges.
This plan offers internet speeds ranging from 10 Mbps to 940 Mbps and is probably the fastest and most diverse internet in the industry.
The table below takes a brief look at the Cox Connect2Compete internet package.
Qualifications for Cox Connect2Compete
- At least one member of the household should be attending K-12 classes and eligible for the National School Lunch Program
- You can be eligible if you receive Tenant-Based Vouchers, live in Public Housing, receive Project-Based Vouchers or Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA)
- You can be eligible if you qualify for WIC, LIHEAP, SNAP, and/or TANF
- Offers free Wi-Fi for eligible households
- Offers internet speed starting from 10 Mbps and can go up to 940 Mbps
- Offers basic computer training, online safety information, and internet basics training
- Applicants must not be in the Cox High-Speed Internet in the last three months before applying
- Must be eligible for SNAP, NSLP, be a resident of public housing, or have a child in K-12 classes
- Services might not be available in some areas
CenturyLink – Best Security Protection
Offering the CenturyLink Internet Basics Program, this internet service is specifically designed to improve and enhance the adoption and use of broadband internet services by low-income seniors, individuals, and families.
Although it’s one of the most expensive options on this list, it can be appealing to seniors who want more protection as it comes with Norton Security Suite anti-virus protection so that you do not worry about having to buy anti-virus protection.
That’s not all; this internet service comes with the option of a free self-installation kit or a professional technician to install at no extra charge. You also have 24/7 technical support, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and free access to basic internet training.
The table below takes a brief look at the CenturyLink internet package.
Qualifications for CenturyLink
You can also go for the Lifeline Program, which is an FCC-run initiative to bring internet to low-income consumers. So you can be eligible for this program if you’re eligible for federally-recognized aide programs.
- Offers high-speed internet service
- You can be allowed to remain in the program for up to 60 months
- Available in most states
- Must meet eligibility requirements for Federal Lifeline Affordable Telephone Service
- There may be charges for installation and equipment
- The minimum term agreement is 12 months for internet service
Verizon Lifeline – Best for Video Calls
Instead of using an internet service from a fully-fledged company, you can choose to consider a government-sponsored Lifeline Discount Program through Verizon or any other company such as Frontier and Windstream.
The Lifeline Program is essentially a government-backed program that works with several providers to offer low-cost internet access to low-income families and individuals including low-income seniors.
You can use Verizon Lifeline or any other Lifeline provider database to locate potential providers in your area. At $19.99 per month and an internet speed of 200 Mbps, the Verizon Lifeline Program can be an ideal option for seniors looking for low-cost internet with fast speeds. You can easily hold video calls with your friends, family members, and colleagues.
The table below takes a brief look at the Verizon Lifeline internet package.
Qualifications for Verizon Lifeline
- Veterans’ benefits
- Supplemental Security Income
- Probably the fastest internet speed
- You can get a $9.25 off internet service discount each month
- Enables clear video calls even if other people are using the internet
- Remains one of the most expensive internet services for seniors
Below is a summary of the above-described low-cost internet plans, starting prices per month, and the eligibility requirements for each.
Things to Consider when Choosing the Best Internet Plans for Seniors
The fact that everyone has unique online needs means that there’s no one-size-fits-all internet plan for seniors. With that in mind, here are a few things to consider when choosing the best low-cost internet for seniors.
Fast internet is of great importance but having the fastest internet service doesn’t mean that it’s the best. Depending on what you do with your internet, you might only spend a fraction of your bandwidth. As such, you may be wasting a lot of money paying for the fastest internet.
The best thing to do is to find out how much speed and bandwidth you need from your internet service provider. Once you know the speed that you need, you can compare plans and go for the provider who gives you that speed. Just don’t pay for more speed if you are not going to use it.
A reliable internet connection is, without a doubt, the most important factor when choosing the best low-cost internet. Some types of internet connection are very reliable while others may suffer from constant interruption.
Again, the reliability of your internet might depend on where you live. Here are how various connections are reliable.
- Cable – Fast but can be slow at peak hours due to traffic
- Fiber – The fastest connection with minimal interruptions
- Satellite – Very fickle and weather can interfere with your connection
- DSL – Maybe fast or slow depending on how close you live to your provider’s nearest hub
Although customer service is often overlooked, it can affect the overall efficiency of your internet. For example, a fast connection wouldn’t be of much help if it doesn’t work most of the time and the provider can’t send the technicians to fix the issue.
With that in mind, a good internet provider should have convenient agents who you can easily contact over the phone or online. The technicians should be responsive and be able to fix whatever issues you experience with your internet connection.