While internet use may be typically associated with the younger generations, the stats suggest otherwise, as 70 percent of seniors frequently use the internet. As a communication tool, the internet allows seniors to stay in contact with friends and family. Plus, it's especially crucial for those who use devices that have fall detection and other senior-friendly features that require an internet connection to function properly.
Behind every user experience online is the internet provider that makes the connection happen in the first place. Below, we'll be taking a closer look at CenturyLink, who offers several residential DSL and fiber internet packages — starting at $49 per month with speeds up to 940 Mbps in select areas.
Unlike Verizon and T-Mobile, CenturyLink does not offer any senior-specific plans but that doesn't mean you should count them out just yet. This provider is currently available in 36 states, making them a solid option for users across the country. While CenturyLink's starting prices are a bit higher than competitors like Xfinity and AT&T, you're able to lock in your prices for life with their DSL plans, which is pretty rare for an internet provider. Let's find out how CenturyLink stacks up to the competition and which of their offerings are best for seniors below!
As mentioned earlier, while CenturyLink doesn't offer an internet plan designed solely for seniors, they do offer a plan for low-income users that many seniors may qualify for. Approximately 11.6 percent of those aged 80 and above live in poverty,1 which is why an internet plan specifically aimed for lower-income households—something many seniors will qualify for—is a huge benefit.
Did You Know: CenturyLink lets you lock in your monthly rates for life with its DSL plans, so you never have to worry about unexpected price hikes on your next bill!
Seniors who are not on a lower income budget may be interested in one of CenturyLink's many internet plans, with speeds ranging up to 940 Mbps. The company is particularly renowned for its fast internet, which is ideal for customers of all ages.
Let's take a closer look at the internet plans available from CenturyLink. Keep in mind that different speeds and plans depends on the provider's coverage availability, so not all the offerings below will be an option for you. To get the prices listed for Price for Life plans, you'll need to opt for paperless billing.
|Plan||(Max) Download Speed||Connection Type||Price||Monthly Data Limit|
|Price for Life up to 15 Mbps||15 Mbps||DSL||$49 per month||1 TB|
|Price for Life up to 20 Mbps||20 Mbps||DSL||$49 per month||1 TB|
|Price for Life up to 40 Mbps||40 Mbps||DSL||$49 per month||1 TB|
|Price for Life up to 80 Mbps||80 Mbps||DSL||$49 per month||1 TB|
|Price for Life up to 100 Mbps||100 Mbps||DSL||$49 per month||1 TB|
|CenturyLink Gigabit Fiber Internet||940 Mbps||Fiber||$65 per month||No data limit|
While there are several packages available, essentially customers are choosing between the Price for Life DSL plans and Fiber Gigabit Internet (where available), as there are only two price options that separate the two. The only difference is that the speed you get will depend on where you live, so although you may want the 100 Mbps plan, your area may only offer a maximum of 15 Mbps. Yet, you'll still be paying the same rate.
All of CenturyLink's DSL plans have a data cap of 1 TB. This is more than enough data for the vast majority of internet users, even if you live in a large household, so you should never have to worry about going over your limit.
For seniors who enjoy streaming content, upgrading to fiber internet for an extra $20 is certainly worth it. CenturyLink states that a 2-hour movie can be downloaded in just 18.4 seconds when you upgrade to fiber internet, whereas it can take up to 2.6 minutes even with the fastest Price for Life option. Plus, the DSL connection for the Price for Life plans is less reliable than fiber internet overall, so it's best for those who just need a basic internet plan to stay connected. Below is a quick breakdown of what these different speed tiers are useful for, so you can get a better idea of how much speed you'll need:
There are a few different ways to qualify for a discount on your CenturyLink internet plan. As we've mentioned, there isn't currently a senior-specific discount, but many older adults will meet the qualifications to receive CenturyLink's Lifeline Plan, which offers a discount for low-income households.
First and foremost, the Lifeline plan is for seniors (or anyone else) on a low income and is branched into ‘Single Lifeline' and ‘Tribal Lifeline' packages. The Single Lifeline plan will give you a discount of $9.25 per month through federal support, which would take the $49 per month packages down to just $39.75 when you sign up online. For this price, you'll receive speeds between 40-80 Mbps of internet which is adequate for seniors who only have light usage requirements.
Did You Know: You'll never have to sign a contract with CenturyLink, so if you're unhappy with your service or want to switch to a different plan, you can do so at any time without early termination fees.
The tribal discount offers an increased but undisclosed discount compared with standard Lifeline. Another plus is that it also includes installation assistance, which is perfect for seniors who aren't tech-savvy. Though one downside is the eligibility for the tribal discount2 is stricter than the standard lifeline option.
If you qualify for the following programs, then you may also be eligible for the Lifeline plan:
There are also various tribal eligibility plans2 that are on the qualification list too. For comparison, a few other providers like AT&T and Xfinity currently provide internet plans to low-income subscribers for as little as $10 per month. While CenturyLink's discount isn't as affordable as this, it's still a great option if CenturyLink is the main internet provider in your area.
The CenturyLink bundle options offer some much-needed perks to their internet plans. For $85 per month, you can get speeds up to 940 Mbps and unlimited home phone use. That's just $20 more per month than the standalone 940 Mbps fiber plan, for both top-tier internet and unlimited calling.
FYI: You'll get the best deal on your CenturyLink internet plan when you opt for paperless billing, so make sure to choose this payment method when you sign up!
For seniors who want to stay connected, this package is ideal, especially if you prefer a home phone to a cell phone. To qualify, you must opt for paperless billing, meaning less-tech-savvy seniors could miss out. The total speed is also dependent on where you live. That being said, you can enter your zip code beforehand to get a speed estimate to guide you as to whether the bundle is worth it or not.
As previously mentioned, CenturyLink is the third-largest nationwide internet provider in terms of profit, so who are other providers in the top two spots? You might not be surprised to learn that AT&T followed by Verizon currently hold the top spots. Here is what they offer in comparison to CenturyLink.
AT&T has several internet plans with prices starting at $40 per month for slower speeds. This is a fairer offer than CenturyLink, who charge the same ($49 per month) for all plans unless customers switch to fiber internet. However, one area where CenturyLink has a leg up compared to AT&T is pricing long term.
As we've mentioned, with CenturyLink's Price for Life DSL plans, your monthly rates will never increase. On the other hand, your monthly AT&T internet rates will increase after the first year. Like CenturyLink, AT&T offers DSL and fiber options in many states, though they are not available in all areas. There are also no specific discounts for seniors either, even though AT&T offers them within their cellular plans. AT&T is a part of the Lifeline Program and Access Programs which are ideal for seniors on lower incomes. Prices start at $10 per month for those who qualify.
Verizon is also part of the Lifeline discount program, and will offer a discount of $20 per month for customers who qualify. Unlike CenturyLink, the explanation of who qualifies for Lifeline3 is a lot more complex, which some seniors may find difficult to understand properly.
While Verizon's plans once again aren't senior-specific, there is a lot more choice with regards to fiber internet, which starts at just $19.99 per month for 200 Mbps. This also includes Disney+ for 12 months. The most expensive package is the Gigabit connection, costing $59.99 per month for up to 940 Mbps. You'll also receive Disney+ and Hulu for 12 months, as well as Free Stream TV, a router rental, and the option to save $20 on an unlimited wireless phone plan. Overall, Verizon offers several extra perks and streaming features that CenturyLink doesn't. However, they are much less widely available throughout the country, so they might not be an option in your area.
Despite not offering any senior-specific internet plans, CenturyLink is still a solid internet option for seniors. CenturyLink offers the majority of its packages at $49 per month for DSL speeds ranging anywhere from 15 Mbps up to 100 Mbps, depending on your location and availability. For those who want faster, more reliable internet speeds, fiber internet will offer a solution if you live in an area where it can be installed, though it will cost $65 per month. These prices may seem high compared to budget internet providers, but you'll be able to lock in your rates for life with the DSL plans, and for its fiber plan, CenturyLink is reasonably priced.
Given most Americans aged 65 and over are spending 10 hours a day interacting with a screen4 such as computers or tablets, it's clear that seniors have a need to find an internet package that offers great value to meet their needs. With their lifetime price lock, bundle plans, high-speed internet options, and Lifeline discount, we believe that CenturyLink fits the bill!
Mbps stands for megabits per second. The faster the number you see before ‘Mbps’, the quicker your internet will be. Though, faster internet usually comes at an increased cost so it’s not ideal if you’re on a tight budget.
No, CenturyLink doesn’t currently offer a senior-specific discount for internet. However, they do offer a Lifeline Program discount to low-income customers that many seniors may qualify for.
CenturyLink internet is currently available across 36 states. They have the most widespread availability in Arizona, Colorado, and Washington.
CenturyLink’s internet plans start at $49 per month for their DSL connection and range up to $65 per month for their fiber plan.
Congressional Research Services. (2019). Poverty Among Americans Aged 65 and Older.
Universal Service Administrative Co. (2020). Tribal Eligibility.
Verizon. (2020). Lifeline.