Researching affordable internet options can make your head spin! You don’t have to go through this process alone. After careful evaluation, our team has hand-picked five of the best cheap internet providers. We based our decision on the following criteria: plan pricing, customer support, service areas, perks, and features. We also share 15 hidden internet rates and fees to look out for.
It’s important to note that internet plans and prices vary significantly by location and seasonal discounts. The prices and speeds listed for providers below may not be the same in your area, so we recommend plugging in your address on the provider’s website for the most accurate prices and plan options. Read on to learn what providers dominated the competition!
Cox internet starts at $19.99 for the Internet Starter 25 plan with a one-year contract. You’ll receive speeds up to 25 Mbps with this affordable plan. Unlike other internet providers, Cox is transparent about its promotion price versus standard price. After 12 months, your Internet Starter 25 plan will be $44.99 per month.
Don’t want to lock yourself into a contract? Cox has you covered with the StraightUp prepaid internet plan for $50 per month, taxes and fees included. The StraightUp plan delivers speeds up to 25 Mbps. It requires no credit check, deposit, or term agreement. With StraightUp, you’ll receive a Wi-Fi modem at no cost.
If you live in a Cox service area, this provider is a solid contender. Offering cheap internet, stellar customer support, and a 30-day money-back guarantee, Cox is a budget-friendly option for seniors on a fixed income. You can rest easy with Cox’s guarantee that you’ll receive the same deals whether you order online, over the phone, or in a Cox retail store.
Ready to learn more about Cox internet plans? Head to our Cox internet review for additional details on this provider.
AT&T’s Access plan offers free installation, no deposit, no contract, and speeds up to 100 Mbps for qualifying customers. Without the ACP benefit, the AT&T Access plan can cost up to $30 per month.
If you don’t qualify for the AT&T Access plan, there are other reasonably priced options. AT&T fiber internet is priced at $35 per month for speeds up to 300 Mbps. The AT&T 10 plan is $45 per month for speeds up to 10 Mbps. This price includes AT&T’s autopay and paperless billing discount. Keep in mind that fiber internet is not offered everywhere, so while the cost is low, you may not have access to fiber in your area.
AT&T knocks it out of the park in customer satisfaction. If you live in the South, West, or North Central regions of the U.S., you’re in luck, as AT&T is rated No. 1 in customer satisfaction for residential internet service by J.D. Power.1 If you qualify for the low-income plan, AT&T is an excellent internet provider to explore.
Read our latest AT&T internet review to learn more about the company’s cheap internet plans.
Costing somewhere between nothing and $9.95 per month for qualifying customers, Xfinity’s Internet Essentials plan offers speeds up to 100 Mbps. It charges no credit check, long-term contract, cancellation, or equipment rental fees. This program also offers an option to purchase a computer for $149.99 (plus tax).
If you don’t qualify for Internet Essentials, Xfinity offers the Performance Pro internet plan. Priced at $39.99 per month for the first year, the Performance Pro plan delivers speeds up to 300 Mbps. At no additional charge, internet customers can add the Xfinity Flex 4K streaming service. This 12-month price includes a $10-per-month discount for automatic payments and paperless billing.
It’s important to note that, at $39.99 per month, Xfinity offers competitively priced internet service during the promotional period. However, that price increases considerably once the promotion is complete, with a new monthly rate of $98.95.
Prefer to prepay? No worries! Xfinity offers a prepaid internet plan with no annual contract, no deposit, and no hidden fees. At the price of $45, you’ll receive 30 days of internet coverage with speeds up to 50 Mbps. There is a one-time modem purchase for $35.
Xfinity goes beyond a simple internet plan; it offers an online experience! For customers looking to bundle and save money, Xfinity is an excellent option to check out. Xfinity’s downside? While it has some budget-friendly plans, pricing may increase substantially after the introductory period.
For a closer look at all Xfinity has to offer, read our review of Xfinity’s internet plans.
Through Spectrum Internet Assist, eligible low-income households can receive discounted internet with speeds up to 30 Mbps, antivirus software, and an internet modem, all at no additional charge.
The next-cheapest internet plan, for older adults who don’t qualify for Internet Assist, is Spectrum’s 12-month $49.99 internet plan, providing download speeds up to 200 Mbps.
Out of our five cheap internet providers, Spectrum offers the widest coverage. With bundling discounts, free antivirus software, and a free modem, customers can save on pricing without sacrificing reliability.
Learn more about Spectrum’s internet offerings in our Spectrum review.
The budget-friendly senior internet plan you just signed up for can turn costly after surprise fees, taxes, rental costs, and other charges have been tacked on. According to the 2020 Cost of Connectivity study by the Open Technology Institute of New America, internet customers face overly complicated pricing structures, poorly itemized fees, and a lack of transparency.2
Some of these fees, such as for the federal Universal Service Fund (USF) and Regulatory Cost Recovery, aren’t government-mandated. This means the internet companies can decide how much to charge their users.
Don’t let these unexpected fees break the bank. Before choosing the best internet provider for your budget, ask for detailed information on your total monthly internet costs. Knowing the charges ahead of time will help you avoid an inflated internet bill.
Ask your potential providers how these costs factor into your bill:
Pro Tip: If your internet is painfully slow, check out our guide on how to make your internet faster, which explains several ways to increase your speed.
Struggling to pay your internet bill? If you’re an older adult receiving veterans benefits, Medicaid, SSI, or SNAP, you may be eligible for free or low-cost internet through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
There are plenty of locations across the U.S. with free Wi-Fi! If you need access to a computer and the internet, your local library or senior centers are excellent options. If you have a laptop or smartphone, you can use free Wi-Fi hotspots in cafes, hotels, airports, and restaurants. For example, McDonald’s and Starbucks are two major chains that offer free hotspots.
Caution: Whether you’re using the internet in your home or at your local coffee shop, identity theft protection is important. Find out which identity theft protection services our experts recommend.
Don’t forget to take advantage of your internet provider’s free hotspots. They’re easy to find; just head to your provider’s website and check the Wi-Fi hotspot map.
Your first step is to find the providers that offer internet in your area. Then, contact each provider and ask if they offer a senior internet plan, senior discount, or low-cost coverage.
You’ll find that cheap internet prices vary by internet type, speed, and provider. The cheapest internet option is to find an ISP that provides free service through the ACP.
It’s common for providers to offer an introductory or promotional rate. Once that rate expires, your monthly internet cost may spike. Before you choose a plan, ask what the post-promo monthly cost will be.
Fiber internet uses fiber-optic cable to transmit information in the form of light rather than electricity. Cable internet uses the same line (or at least the same type of line) that your cable TV service uses. DSL (digital subscriber line) internet also uses telephone lines to transmit data.
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
Consumer Reports. (2021). Save on Monthly Internet Fees.