Cheap Internet for Seniors

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How We Chose the Best Cheap Internet for Seniors

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!

15 Hidden Internet Rates and Fees to Look Out For

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:

  1. Activation fee
  2. Installation fee
  3. Equipment rental fee
  4. Early termination fee
  5. Data overage fee
  6. Internet Cost Recovery fee
  7. USF fee
  8. Late payment fee
  9. Administrative fee
  10. Paper statement fee
  11. Convenience fee for payments over the phone
  12. Service plan upgrade fee
  13. Unreturned equipment fee
  14. Returned check fee
  15. State and local sales tax

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.

Cheap Internet for Low-Income Seniors

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).

  • Lifeline: Eligible low-income subscribers may receive up to a $9.25 monthly internet service discount through Lifeline. Eligible subscribers on tribal lands may receive up to $34.25 per month.
  • Affordable Connectivity Program: The ACP offers a discount up to $30 per month on internet for eligible households and up to $75 per month for homes on qualifying tribal lands. This program also offers a one-time discount on a laptop or qualifying device up to $100, and it may qualify the enrollee for free or low-cost service through participating service providers.

How to Find Free Internet Access

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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cheap Internet for Seniors

  • How do I find cheap internet?

    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.

  • How much does internet coverage cost each month?

    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.

  • Why did my internet bill go up?

    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.

  • What’s the difference between fiber, cable, and DSL?

    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.

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