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Best Internet Service for Seniors in 2021

Our experts have researched 7 internet providers and recommend 5 of the best options for seniors.

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Did you know that 75 percent of adults aged 65 and over use the internet?1 With the right internet plan, access to the world is at our fingertips! Whether you want to virtually connect with family and friends, learn more about a hobby, or watch your favorite movie, the internet is truly 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 five internet providers and essential questions to consider when shopping for internet service. We know living on a fixed income can be challenging, so we’ll also take a deep dive into where to snag the best low-cost internet for seniors and veterans.

How We Chose Our Top List

There’s 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 of the best. Read on for the top five providers that offer the best internet service for seniors.

What Can Seniors Do With Internet Access?

The Pew Research Center indicates that when seniors have internet access, going online becomes an integral part of their daily lives.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.

It’s been said that we never stop learning. Whether you’re taking free or discounted education classes online, learning how to make 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 for sightseeing tours, all from the comfort of your home!

Which Is the Best Type of Internet Plan for Seniors?

Several types of internet plans are available to older adults. 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, or other assistance programs
Basic internet plans Casual internet usage such as light surfing, checking email, and accessing social media
Unlimited internet data plans Tech-heavy households using numerous devices at once, streaming in HD, 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!

Is There Free Internet for Seniors?

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.

Inside tip: Discounted internet is just one way to save money! Head over to our senior discounts and savings guide for over 100 senior discounts to cash in on.

Internet for Low-Income Seniors

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.

  • Lifeline: This program is designed to help qualifying low-income consumers afford internet service. Lifeline provides up to a $9.25 monthly discount on service for eligible low-income subscribers and a discount of up to $34.25 per month for those on tribal lands.4
  • Emergency Broadband Benefit: The EBB program offers a discount up to $50 per month on the internet for eligible households and up to $75 per month for homes on qualifying tribal lands.5

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 wallet-friendly details!

Affordable Internet Services for Senior Veterans

Are you a senior and a veteran of the U.S. military? Thank you for your service! You may qualify for an affordable internet plan or internet discount specifically for veterans.

AT&T

Veterans, active-duty military 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.

Xfinity by Comcast

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

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.

10 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 don’t always provide the full picture of pricing and fees. As you research internet plans for seniors, consider these 10 important questions.

  1. Which carriers offer service in your area? The internet providers you have access to depends on where you live. An easy way to find out your service options is to ask local family and friends what internet providers they use.
  2. Are there senior internet plans? Ask your prospective provider what types of discount internet for seniors they offer. One budget-friendly perk of being a senior is special internet plans for adults age 55 and over.
  3. Are there opportunities to save? Go on and ask about additional savings! From paperless billing and autopay to bundling your internet and cell phone service, you may discover ways to trim down your monthly bill.
  4. What will your “all in” monthly statement be? Is that $9.95-per-month internet plan truly affordable, or are there hidden fees? Avoid unpleasant surprises by asking what the grand monthly total will be. The grand total they quote you here should include internet service, taxes, rental fees, and any other costs you’ll see on your monthly bill.
  5. Do you have to purchase or rent equipment? Some internet providers, such as Spectrum, provide a free internet modem and give you the option to use your own router. Other carriers may require you to buy or rent their equipment, which is an additional cost.
  6. Is a contract required? Many companies are doing away with contracts, as they understand their customers want the freedom to change plans. Before signing up with a new internet service provider, ask if the plan is based on a contract and how long you are locked into it.
  7. Are security options included? Each year, millions of older Americans fall victim to some type of fraud or scheme.6 A major part of identity protection is a secure internet connection. Ask your carrier if your plan includes an internet security program to ensure safe web browsing. You can also visit our guide to scams that target seniors to learn how you can avoid falling victim to a cybercrime.
  8. What customer and tech support services are offered? It’s important to know that your internet provider has your back, even on a Friday night when your internet goes kaput. Be sure to ask if 24/7 support is available.
  9. What does the fine print say? Companies may offer promotional internet plans for seniors. Keep in mind that these plans are for a limited time. At the end of the promo period, they may offer new plan options at a higher price. If you sign up for a promotional plan, ask what the new monthly internet cost will be after your contract expires.
  10. Is there an early cancellation fee? Life happens! For example, if you are aging in place and decide to relocate to a retirement community, you may need to cancel your current internet plan. Some internet carriers offer no-contract plans, while others charge an early termination fee.

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.

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. 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.

How Can Seniors Use the Internet on Their Phones?

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.

Tech tip: Considering connecting a smartphone to your internet? Check out our top five smartphones for seniors!

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.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Internet for Seniors

Written By

Jeff Hoyt

Editor in Chief

Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt

Citations
  1. Pew Research. (2021). Internet/Broadband Fact Sheet.

  2. AT&T. (2021). Who We Are.

  3. Pew Research. (2017). Technology use among seniors.

  4. FCC. (2021). Lifeline Support for Affordable Communications.

  5. FCC. (2021). Emergency Broadband Benefit.

  6. FBI. (2021). Elder Fraud.