Did you know that 75 percent of adults aged 65 and over used the internet in 2021?1 Whether you want to virtually connect with family and friends, start a hobby, or watch your favorite movie, the internet is an amazing resource. If you’re feeling flustered about choosing the best internet service for your needs and budget, we have you covered.
Learn more about our top internet providers and questions to consider when shopping for the best internet service. We know living on a fixed income can be challenging, so we’ll also offer plenty of tips for finding the best low-cost internet for seniors and veterans.
There are a lot of internet carriers out there! We selected seven of the top internet providers on the market and compared costs, customer satisfaction, internet speed, and plan options. From there, we narrowed our list down to the best. Read on for the top five providers that offer the best internet service for seniors.
From the experts: For an in-depth look at Xfinity’s offerings, including budget-friendly bundles, read our review of Xfinity’s internet plans or our Xfinity cable TV review.
From the experts: Wondering how CenturyLink stands up against the competition? Check out our CenturyLink internet for seniors review!
According to research by Pew Research Center, 96 percent of people ages 50 to 64 are internet users, and 65 percent of people over 65 report the same.3 There are virtually unlimited options for what older adults can do with internet access.
The internet makes it so much easier to connect with family and friends, no matter where you are. It’s also an excellent resource to connect with like-minded seniors who engage in the same hobbies that you enjoy, or to branch out and make new friends via social media.
As the famous saying goes, we never stop learning. Whether you’re taking free or discounted education classes online, trying out a new recipe, watching a video tutorial on crafting, or simply staying up to date on the news and local events, the internet is an excellent resource!
Also, if you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, it’s easy to take care of all the details online. You can research and plan your trip, book your transportation and hotel, and arrange sightseeing tours, all from the comfort of your home!
Older adults can choose from a variety of affordable internet plans. From basic plans with lower speeds to full internet, TV, and home phone bundles, you’re sure to find an option that fits your needs and budget. Below, we break down our recommendations for the different types of internet plans for seniors.
|Type of internet plan for seniors||Who it’s best for|
|Free or low-cost internet for seniors||Older adults participating in Medicaid, public housing assistance, Veterans Pension, SNAP, SSI, the Affordable Connectivity Program, or other assistance programs|
|Basic internet plans||Casual internet usage such as light surfing, checking emails, and accessing social media|
|Unlimited internet data plans||Tech-heavy households using numerous devices at once, HD streaming, downloading large files, and integrating smart home devices|
|Bundled plans||Customers who want to purchase all of their tech and entertainment needs from the same provider|
Pro Tip: Using the internet doesn’t have to be intimidating! Our technology for seniors guide provides in-depth information on making the most of your connection to the world!
It’s common for local senior centers and public libraries to offer no-cost access to computers and the internet. If you’re out and about with your smartphone or laptop, you’ll find free Wi-Fi hotspots in shops, restaurants, airports, cafes, and more.
As for senior internet plans, the cost varies greatly by provider, your lifestyle and needs, and even location. We’d recommend calling local providers to find out if they offer free internet for seniors in your area. If the provider doesn’t offer free internet or a senior discount, they may have current deals and discounts that you’re eligible for. You can also negotiate with the provider to get the best rates possible.
Learn more about free internet for seniors in our video hosted by Jeff Hoyt, editor-in-chief of SeniorLiving.org.
On a tight budget? Check out our top picks for low-cost internet plans from the nation’s leading internet providers.
|Low-cost internet plan||Requirements|
|AT&T Access Program||You must participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), National School Lunch Program (NSLP), or Head Start program.
The program is also open to California residents receiving SSI.
|Comcast Xfinity Internet Essentials||You must participate in Medicaid, public housing assistance, Veterans Pension, SNAP, SSI, or other assistance programs.|
|Cox Connect2Compete||You must have at least one K-12 student in your household and participate in a government assistance program.|
|Spectrum Internet Assist||You must participate in one of the following programs: SSI (for applicants age 65+ only), NSLP, or the Community Eligibility Provision of the NSLP.|
Not all internet companies offer dedicated plans for low-cost internet. Don’t be discouraged! If you’re on a limited income, you may qualify for one of these government programs, or others.
Money-saving tip: Our research team selected the five best companies offering cheap internet for seniors. Head over to our list of the best cheap internet for seniors for the best wallet-friendly deals!
Are you a senior and a veteran of the U.S. military? As a thanks for your service, you may qualify for an affordable internet plan or internet discount specifically for veterans.
Veterans, active-duty military personnel and their spouses, and reservists may be eligible for exclusive AT&T discounts. The company offers several discounts on services such as internet, unlimited data plans, and DirecTV.
Comcast is dedicated to providing low-cost, high-speed internet to low-income veterans. Through Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, qualifying veterans can obtain internet service for just $9.95 a month plus tax (no activation or equipment rental fees). Eligible veterans have the opportunity to purchase a low-cost computer, complete with Microsoft Office, Norton Security Suite, and a 90-day warranty.
Verizon offers military and veterans special discounts on internet and wireless services. Use the ID.me verification system to confirm your eligibility.
Inside tip: Maximize your savings by choosing internet service from a company that offers other discounts for eligible seniors, such as waived installation fees and no required deposits. For more tips on affordable and free internet, head to our internet for seniors guide.
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 don’t always provide the full picture of pricing and fees. As you research internet plans for seniors, consider these 10 important questions.
Did You Know? You can snag some serious savings on technology and wireless services by becoming an AARP member! Check out our AARP membership guide for the inside scoop.
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. It’s also a good idea to ask how reliable their internet connection is, as no one wants to sign up for spotty internet!
If you’ve 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.
Pro Tip: Struggling to fit an internet plan in your budget? Check these eight helpful tips to make a budget on a fixed income.
An internet-capable phone is perfect for active older adults who need access to emails on the go, want to video-chat with family and friends, or enjoy surfing the web throughout the day.
Of course, not all cell phones are “smart,” so as you shop for the best senior-friendly cell phone for your needs, be sure to ask the provider if the phone has internet access.
Feeling the need for higher speed? If your internet is lagging or running extremely slow, check out our handy guide on how to make your internet faster.
Yes! If your hearing aid is Bluetooth-enabled, you can easily pair your device to your internet connection. Head over to our list of the best Bluetooth hearing aids for more details.
Internet pricing varies greatly by carrier, speed, and plan. With plans ranging from free to up to $30 per month with speeds up to 100 Mbps, Access from AT&T is the cheapest internet option we’ve found.
Maureen joined SeniorLiving.org with more than 10 years of experience writing in health, lifestyle, and nutrition for premium brands like General Mills, Westinghouse, and Bristol Myers Squibb. Her passion for empowering older adults is evident in coverage of topics like retirement, health… Learn More About Maureen Stanley
Pew Research. (2021). Internet/Broadband Fact Sheet.
AT&T. (2021). Who We Are.
Pew Research. (2022). Share of those 65 and older who are tech users has grown in the past decade.
FCC. (2021). Lifeline Support for Affordable Communications.
FCC. (2021). Emergency Broadband Benefit.
FBI. (2021). Elder Fraud.