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A Guide to Internet for Seniors

Learn about how to save on internet and stay safe online.

Barbara Field Barbara Field Senior Writer and Contributor
Taylor Shuman Taylor Shuman Senior Tech Expert & Editor

SeniorLiving.org is supported by commissions from providers listed on our site. Read our Editorial Guidelines

Our Top Picks For Internet Service

Choosing the best internet service on a low or fixed income means finding the right balance between quality and value. Fortunately, some of the top providers in the country offer competitive rates, fast speeds, and plenty of extra perks. To help you fast-track your search, here are some of the highest-rated internet providers we have reviewed.

SeniorLiving.org Rating:
4.9 of 5
Call for best price: Call to Order: (844) 721-4226
SeniorLiving.org Rating:
4.0 of 5
Call for best price: Call to Order: 855-933-3525
SeniorLiving.org Rating:
4.8 of 5
Call for best price: Call to Order: 855-929-4241

The internet is a place with endless possibilities for older adults. Whether you want to connect with friends and family, learn a new recipe, stay up to date on the latest news, or shop until you drop, everything is just a click or two away. In this guide to all things internet, we'll cover costs and providers and offer tips on how to snag the best internet plan for your needs. We'll also dive into internet fraud and theft to help you learn how to avoid becoming a victim.

Reviewing the Best Internet for Seniors

Looking for an internet provider in your area? We’ve reviewed the nation’s top providers so you can find the one that’s right for your needs and budget.


Useful Internet Resources for Seniors

Whether you want to learn how to make your internet faster or get food delivered straight to your door, these resources will help you make the most of your internet connection.
delivered straight to your door, these resources will help you make the most of your internet connection.


What Percentage of Seniors Use the Internet?

Older adults are more internet savvy than ever! According to a recent survey by Pew Research Center, 96 percent of adults ages 50 to 64 use the internet. The number drops slightly to 88 percent with adults ages 65 and up.1

From internet and cell phones to wearable technology and home security, older adults are embracing the benefits of technology and being powered up and plugged in.

How Much Does Internet Service Cost for Seniors?

As you shop for an internet provider and plan, you'll discover that pricing varies widely. That's why comparison shopping is crucial.

Basic internet plans for low-income seniors start at $10 a month. Older adults requiring a top-of-the-line plan with support for multiple devices, high-speed downloads, and lag-free streaming can expect to pay between $50 and $100 a month.

Internet service and plan pricing are heavily impacted by:

  • Where you live
  • Your income level
  • The type of internet connection (such as fiber or cable)
  • How much speed is needed
  • Which providers offer coverage in your area

Is There Free Internet for Seniors?

If your post-retirement budget is tight, you're not alone. Many older adults, including veterans, lower-income seniors, and people with disabilities, struggle to pay for internet coverage. Nearly 22 million American seniors lack internet access at home, which represents 42 percent of the nation's over-65 population.2

Luckily, there is a place to turn for affordable internet. Participants in Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Supplemental Nutritional Access Program (SNAP), veterans benefits, and other federal and state assistance programs may be eligible for free or low-cost internet through the Lifeline Support for Affordable Communications program, which is part of the Federal Communications Commission.

Lifeline helps low-income consumers access phone and internet services. Eligible low-income subscribers get a discount of $9.25 per month and up to $34.25 per month if they live on Tribal lands. Check out Lifeline's comprehensive site to learn more about the program, its eligibility requirements, and how to apply.

Want to learn more about free internet for seniors? Watch our video below!

What Providers Offer Internet Service for Seniors?

If you’re shopping for a new internet provider, you’re likely wondering who the best providers are for older adults. Let’s take a look at our top picks.

AT&T

With a wide range of plans, including AT&T Access low-cost internet, you can choose a plan that meets both your budget and needs. AT&T provides coverage in 21 states.

Worried about staying safe online? AT&T has you covered with antivirus software and an AT&T Internet Security Suite powered by McAfee. You can also pair your internet and AT&T cell phone plan for optimum savings!

Spectrum

Spectrum is part of Charter Communications, a leading broadband connectivity company and cable operator serving over 32 million customers in 41 states. It offers three packages through Spectrum Internet, including Spectrum Internet Assist for low-income adults. The company also offers Spectrum TV and internet packages if you want to bundle your services.

Spectrum offers customers extra perks, such as a free modem and antivirus software. With a 30-day money-back guarantee and no contract or data caps on internet usage, Spectrum is certainly customer-focused.

CenturyLink

CenturyLink offers DSL and fiber internet packages in 36 states. Customers can choose a plan tailored to their online needs with low-, moderate-, and high-speed plans.

Tech-savvy seniors can take advantage of CenturyLink's free self-installation kit. If you're not the do-it-yourself type, help is just a phone call away with 24/7 technical support. Be sure to cash in on savings by bundling services and opting for paperless billing.

Cox

Cox provides strong and fast internet connectivity in 18 states across the U.S. There are several plans to choose from, including Cox's StraightUp prepaid internet plan. You can try Cox's service risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. If you're looking for a bundle, check out Cox's cable TV, internet, and phone packages.

All Cox internet plans come with Cox Security Suite, an antivirus software powered by McAfee to protect up to five devices. Cox provides 24/7/365 service, so you can always connect to a representative for support.

Xfinity

Available in 40 states, Xfinity is part of Comcast NBC Universal and is a leader in innovation and entertainment. Customers can opt to bundle services for access to high-speed internet, hundreds of HD channels with Xfinity cable TV packages, and a home phone line. Xfinity also offers affordable internet options for older adults, including the Xfinity Internet Essentials plan designed and priced for low-income customers.

5 Tips for Finding the Best Internet for Seniors

Choosing the best internet service for your needs takes some detective work. Below are our tips for finding the right provider.

  1. Determine your need for speed. Think about your internet usage and all the devices you connect to the internet, such as laptops, hearing aids, medical alert systems, and home security systems. The more devices you connect, the more speed you'll need.
  2. Get the inside scoop. Whether you live in a retirement community or you're aging in place, chatting with your neighbors about providers they use and recommend will give you excellent insight into internet providers in your area.
  3. Check up on contracts and hidden fees. Find out what's included in your monthly payment. Are you required to rent the internet provider's equipment? Is there an activation fee? Are there data overage fees?
  4. Get the best bang for your buck by bundling. Look for options to lower out-of-pocket costs by bundling internet, TV, and phone services.
  5. Ask for senior discounts. Remember to snag any senior-specific discounts. They can come directly through the service provider or a membership such as AARP.
Did You Know?

Did You Know? Internet discounts are just the beginning! From grocery and retail to travel and insurance, our research team has compiled over 100 senior discounts to cash in on.

Internet Safety for Seniors: Preventing Internet Fraud and Theft

The Federal Trade Commission's latest data is certainly alarming regarding internet crimes. The FTC received 2.4 million fraud reports from consumers in 2022; the top fraud categories were imposter scams and online shopping scams.

Security Tip: The National Council on Aging says the most common scam targeting seniors is the government impersonation scam. The criminal imposters pretend to be from the IRS or Social Security and use special technology to spoof real phone numbers from government agencies. The scammers may request payment in specific forms (cash, wire transfer, or prepaid debit cards, for example) and threaten if payment isn't made immediately.

Older adults need to be especially vigilant against cyberattacks. Research shows that 50 percent of all scams against older adults occur online rather than over the phone or in person.

Luckily, you can protect yourself by learning about common senior scams. Just follow the six simple steps below to safeguard your information and not fall prey to people with criminal intent.

6 Ways to Avoid Being Scammed on the Internet

  1. Choose strong passwords. Passwords that include letters (both upper and lowercase), numbers, and special characters help keep your accounts secure.
  2. Never use the same password twice. It may be tempting to use the same password for your My Social Security account and online shopping sites, but it makes your online information more susceptible to being compromised.
  3. Avoid unknown links and attachments. If you receive an email from someone you don't know (even if it looks official), don't open links or download attachments. They can contain computer viruses.
  4. Keep your personal information personal. Never give out your credit card, bank, or other private information in response to an unsolicited email.
  5. Check your social media privacy settings. Imposters can target public social media accounts. Stick to sharing your status updates or travel photos with family and friends.
  6. Be proactive about protecting your identity. Identity theft software offers a simple way to protect yourself from identity theft and stay safe online. Check out our list of the best identity theft protection services for seniors.
Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: If you are interested in returning to the dating game online, keep an eye out for scammers. Some senior dating sites, such as SilverSingles, take your safety and security seriously. Contact the site's management if you're concerned.

If you enjoy checking in with friends and family on social media, check out the video below. Our editor-in-chief, Jeff Hoyt, will walk you through the best ways to stay safe on social media.

SeniorLiving.org Social Media Manager Jessica Gandhi explains how seniors could benefit from social media as well as why and how to protect themselves while on Facebook and other social media platforms.

How Seniors Can Stay Internet-Savvy: Keep Learning

Whether you need an introductory lesson on connecting your laptop to the internet or a refresher course on downloading Zoom to chat with the grandkids, there are several ways to keep up with the latest tech!

Community colleges and universities: Many community colleges offer noncredit classes geared toward older adults, including computer technology classes. Many universities also offer free or discounted tuition for seniors.

GCFLearnFree.org: Supported by the Goodwill Community Foundation, GCFLearnFree.org offers completely free resources on over 300 topics, including over 6,000 lessons and 2,000 videos.

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging: The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) provides support and resources for older adults. Based on your city, state, or ZIP code, n4a serves as a gateway organization to help you find local resources.

Public libraries: The library in your town is a fantastic resource for computer assistance and classes.

Senior Planet: Senior Planet from AARP taps into technology to offer courses, programs, and activities to help older adults learn new skills.

Pro Tip:

Pro Tip: Visit our guide to tech for older adults for more resources and step-by-step guides on topics ranging from mobile apps to video chatting to food delivery services.

If you're interested in learning a new skill or mastering an old one, the internet is a great place to start. Many websites and organizations offer free or inexpensive online courses, and you can sign up with just a few clicks.


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    Written By:
    Barbara Field
    Senior Writer and Contributor
    Barbara has worked on staff for stellar organizations like CBS, Harcourt Brace and UC San Diego. She freelanced for Microsoft, health, health tech and other clients. She worked in her early 20s at a senior center and later became a… Learn More About Barbara Field
    Reviewed By:
    Taylor Shuman
    Senior Tech Expert & Editor
    As SeniorLiving.org’s tech expert and editor, Taylor has years of experience reviewing products and services for seniors. She is passionate about breaking down stigmas related to seniors and technology. She loves finding innovative ways to teach seniors about products and… Learn More About Taylor Shuman