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While internet use may be typically associated with the younger generations, the stats suggest otherwise, as 75 percent of seniors frequently use the internet.1 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 $50 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. Be aware, however, that CenturyLink's starting prices are a bit higher than competitors like Xfinity. Let's find out how CenturyLink stacks up to the competition and which of their offerings are best for seniors below!
Let's take a closer look at the internet plans available from CenturyLink. Keep in mind that different speeds and plans depend on the provider's coverage availability, so not all the offerings below will be an option for you. You'll need to opt for paperless billing to receive some hidden discounts.
|Plan||(Max) Download Speed||Connection Type||Price||Monthly Data Limit|
|Up to 15 Mbps||15 Mbps||DSL or 4G*||$49 per month||1 TB|
|Up to 20 Mbps||20 Mbps||DSL or 4G*||$49 per month||1 TB|
|Up to 40 Mbps||40 Mbps||DSL or 4G*||$49 per month||1 TB|
|Up to 80 Mbps||80 Mbps||DSL or 4G*||$49 per month||1 TB|
|Up to 100 Mbps||100 Mbps||DSL or 4G*||$49 per month||1 TB|
|CenturyLink Gigabit Fiber Internet||940 Mbps||Fiber||$65 per month||No data limit|
*DSL or 4G connection determined by location and availability.
While there are several packages available, essentially customers are choosing between DSL/4G plan and Fiber Gigabit Internet (where available). 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/4G 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 $15 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 DSL or 4G option. Plus, the DSL connection is less reliable than fiber internet overall, so fiber is 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 for the Affordable Connectivity Program, which offers a discount for low-income households.
First and foremost, the ACP is for older adults (or anyone else) on a low income. The ACP provides a discount of $30 per month through federal support, which would reduce the $50 per month packages down to just $20 when you sign up online. For this price, you'll receive speeds up to 100 Mbps depending on location and availability, which is adequate for older adults who only have light usage requirements.
Did You Know: You'll never have to sign a contract with CenturyLink. 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.
If you qualify for a tribal discount, the discount increases up to $75 per month with ACP. Another plus is that they also include 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 ACP:
There are also various tribal eligibility plans3 that are on the qualification list too. For comparison, a few other providers like AT&T and Xfinity currently provide free internet plans to low-income subscribers. 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 perks to their internet plans. For $90 per month, you can get speeds up to 100 Mbps and unlimited home phone use. Or, for $105 per month you can bundle the Gigabit Fiber Internet plan with home phone services.
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 customers 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 one of the largest internet providers in terms of profit, so who are the providers in the other top 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 $55 per month for slower speeds. This is a comparable offer to CenturyLink, who charge the same $50 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 plan simplicity.
Like CenturyLink, AT&T offers DSL, 4G, and fiber options in many states, though they are not available in all areas. There are no specific discounts for seniors either, even though AT&T offers them within their cellular plans. AT&T is part of the ACP and Access program which are ideal for seniors on lower incomes. Plans range from free to $10 per month for those who qualify.
Verizon is also part of the ACP, and will offer the discount for any customer who qualifies. While Verizon's plans aren't senior-specific, there is a lot more choice with regards to fiber internet, which starts at just $50 per month for up to 300 Mbps. Fiber internet plans also include Disney Plus for six months. The most expensive Verizon package is the Gigabit connection, costing $89.99 per month for up to 940 Mbps. You'll also receive Disney Plus and Hulu for 12 months, or Free Stream TV, a router rental, and the option to save $20 on an unlimited wireless phone plan. Overall, Verizon has 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 $50 per month for DSL or 4G 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, CenturyLink is reasonably priced.
Given most Americans aged 65 and over are spending 10 hours a day interacting with a 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 bundle plans, high-speed internet options, and ACP participation , we believe that CenturyLink fits the bill!
No, CenturyLink doesn’t currently offer a senior-specific discount for internet. However, they do offer an ACP 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 $50 per month for their DSL and 4G connections and range up to $65 per month for their fiber plan.
Pew Research Center. (2022). Share of those 65 and older who are tech users has grown in the past decade.
Universal Service Administrative Co. (2020). Tribal Eligibility.
Universal Service Administrative Co. (2020). Tribal Eligibility.