Best Internet Plans and Discounts for Seniors

  • Xfinity
    • Discounts for SSI recipients
    • Plans less than $10
  • Suddenlink
    • Discounts for SSI recipients
    • Discounts for Veterans
  • Optimum
    • Discounts for SSI recipients
    • Discounts for Veterans

The internet is an important resource for seniors. It can be used to pay bills, buy groceries, and manage finances all without leaving the house. It’s also the easiest way to keep in touch with friends and family—especially during a pandemic. Fortunately, there are plenty of internet plans and discounts designed specifically for seniors.

When looking for an affordable internet plan for seniors, it’s important to remember that there are a lot of programs available to get cheap or discounted internet service. And some are designed specifically with seniors in mind.

Government internet programs for seniors

There are many different types of government programs for helping people get access to affordable internet. Depending on your situation, you might qualify for several of these programs. You can find out more in our in-depth guide to government internet assistance programs.

Emergency Broadband Benefit

One of the biggest programs to help Americans connect to the internet is the FCC’s new Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). Millions of qualified households can save up to $50–$75 on their monthly internet bills through the program, which helps low-income American households and those who have lost income because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To qualify, someone in your household must be enrolled in certain social programs (Medicaid, SNAP, Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit, and others)—or you can qualify based on your income. Applications for the EBB opened on May 12, 2021, and the program will last six months after the pandemic is officially declared as over or when EBB funds are depleted.

The program also includes $100 off the purchase of a computer or tablet in addition to the monthly internet discount. Major internet providers like AT&T, Xfinity, Verizon, and many others are participating, so you likely don’t have to change plans to get the discounts. For more information on how to apply and to see a list of participating providers, check out our complete guide to the Emergency Broadband Benefit.

Finding a competitive provider could get easier

One of the challenges of finding an affordable internet plan is that ISPs often engage in anticompetitive practices that allow them to inflate prices instead of following market demand. This puts a huge burden on those with fixed incomes, as well as those who live in rural areas.

To address this lack of competition among broadband providers, the White House issued an executive order instructing the FCC to uphold certain standards for ISPs, including preventing them from engaging in certain anticompetitive practices and requiring them to make pricing more transparent, to limit excessive early termination fees, and to restore net neutrality.2 If implemented by the FCC, these measures could reduce the cost of internet access for many Americans.

Internet provider discounts for seniors

Many service providers have their own programs for affordable internet, which you can find in our guide to free and reduced-cost internet. Here are some of the best internet programs for seniors:

Altice Suddenlink and Altice Optimum senior discounts

The Altice Advantage program offers internet service for just $14.99* per month and is open both to seniors eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and veterans receiving public assistance.

Xfinity by Comcast senior discounts

Internet Essentials from Comcast is another program for which SSI recipients qualify. This program costs a mere $9.95* per month, making it the lowest-priced broadband plan around.

Enter your zip code to find out what plans are available in your area.

What kind of internet plan is best for seniors?

There is no one-size-fits-all internet plan for seniors. Everyone has unique online needs, and your internet plan should reflect that. Here are a few of the things to consider when choosing an internet service.

Speed

Having a fast internet connection is certainly nice, but the fastest service isn’t necessarily the best. Depending on what you do online, you might use only a fraction of your total bandwidth, which means all that speed you’re paying for is simply going to waste.

A good first step is to find out how much speed you need from your internet provider. Once you know how fast your internet connection should be, you can compare internet plans that give you at least that much speed. Occasionally faster plans will beat out some of the slower alternatives, but there’s no sense in paying more for speed you’re not going to use.

Want to make sure you’re not paying for speed you’re not using? Find out how much speed you need.

Customer service

Customer service is often overlooked when comparing internet providers, but it can dramatically affect your overall internet experience. A fast connection doesn’t do you much good if it doesn’t work half the time and you can’t get anyone to fix it.

The best internet providers not only have convenient agents you can contact over the phone, but they also have online chat options, helpful articles, and responsive technicians to help you fix whatever issues you encounter. You can see how different providers ranked for customer service in our customer satisfaction survey.

Reliability

Having a reliable internet connection is the factor most important to your peace of mind when choosing a service provider. Certain types of internet are inherently reliable, while others can suffer from various types of interruption.

  • Fiber—the fastest connection with the least interference.
  • Cable—fast, but can slow at peak hours due to traffic.
  • DSL—can slow down depending on how close you live to your provider’s nearest hub.
  • Satellite—the most fickle connection. Weather can interfere with your signal.

The type of internet you can choose is highly dependent on where you live. Most areas have access to only a few of these types of networks. If you do have several different choices, we suggest going with fiber or cable to get the most reliable connection possible.

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How can seniors get internet on their phones?

To access the internet over your phone, the first thing you need is a smartphone. Most cell phone plans come with a certain amount of monthly data, which allows you to connect to the internet from anywhere you have cell service. But you can also connect your phone directly to a Wi-Fi network as long as you have the network name and password.

How can seniors access social media?

You can use the internet to keep in touch with friends and family, and one of the easiest ways to do that is over social media. Social media can be a bit intimidating, but it’s very easy to get set up. If you’re new to social media, start with one account on the platform that most of your friends and family use.

Email

If you don’t already have an email account, set one up first. An email account will help you to set up your social media accounts. There are many great, free email services, such as Gmail and Outlook. These sites will walk you through the steps of setting up an account and a password.

Facebook

Facebook is one of the easiest ways to keep in touch with family and friends. You can make a free Facebook account, which also has tools to help you find the people you know so that you can connect with them.

It’s easy to access Facebook either through your web browser or by using the app on your phone. Both methods give you access to all the features of the site and are equally easy to use, though having a full keyboard on your computer is convenient if you’re a slow typer on your phone.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a site for keeping track of images you find online and sharing them with others. You can also upload and share your own images. Pinterest is great for getting new ideas for craft projects, recipes, or home improvements.

You don’t need an account to look around Pinterest, but you do in order to pin your own images. You can join Pinterest for free.

Instagram

Instagram is a lot like Facebook (it’s also owned by Facebook), but instead of focusing on sharing written messages about your day, Instagram is an entirely visual experience. It’s great for sharing pictures of your vacations, the highlights of your day, projects you’re working on, or that funny thing your cat just did.

Instagram requires the use of a mobile device to take and upload photos. You can make a free account on the Instagram website.

YouTube

YouTube is one of the biggest places on the internet for watching online videos. Anyone can post to YouTube, so you can find everything from professionally produced TV shows to home movies and everything in between.

You don’t need an account to watch YouTube, but if you have a Google account or Gmail, you can sign in to keep track of the videos you like or want to watch again. You can even upload your own videos if you want.

How seniors can avoid online scams

People over the age of 60 are the most frequent victims of internet crime, losing over $835 million to online scammers in 2019.1 Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself.

  • Install antivirus software on your computer (most Windows machines come with Windows Defender already installed).
  • Use unique passwords for important sites like banks and your email.
  • Never give your passwords out to anyone.
  • Make your social media accounts private.
  • Don’t click on anything if you’re not sure where it’ll take you.
  • Never give out your personal information to someone you don’t know.
  • Never agree to send money or give out your credit card information to pay fees on free gifts or prizes.

Another way to protect yourself is to become familiar with some of the common scams that you’ll encounter on the internet. Once you know what you’re looking for, many of these scams become fairly easy to spot. Most of these scams involve impersonating someone you might trust, like a representative from your bank or a government office, or contacting you for a special offer, such as giving you tech support for a problem you didn’t know you had or telling you that you won a contest you didn’t enter.

Even if you think the issue might be genuine, you should never respond to the message, but instead contact your bank, the appropriate government office, or a reputable tech support service to see if there’s an actual problem.

Never trust someone who contacts you out of the blue on the internet. When in doubt, contact the actual organization directly.

How to troubleshoot internet problems

Even if you find an internet plan that works well for you, there will still be the occasional issue with your connection. Many internet services have excellent tech support, but you can often save time and money by troubleshooting some of these problems yourself.

Why does my internet keep disconnecting?

If your device keeps disconnecting from the internet, you might have a fixable problem with your router or have a plan that doesn’t meet your needs. Here are some of the top reasons your internet might disconnect.

How do I make my internet faster?

Slow connections are one of the most common internet issues. While you can always upgrade to a faster plan, it’s often possible to improve the speed of your connection. Check out this article for tips on how to improve your Wi-Fi speed.

How do I cancel my internet service?

One of the obstacles to switching to an internet service that meets your needs is often getting rid of your current plan. If your current plan is holding you back, check out this guide to canceling your internet service.

How can seniors bundle TV service with internet?

Bundling can save you money every month on services that you would be paying for anyway. There are a lot of different options, so you should learn more about the TV bundles each provider offers.

Another way to watch TV shows is to sign up for a streaming service. You can subscribe to streaming services like Hulu and Disney+ to access movies and TV shows over the internet, without paying for a separate TV plan. These services also stream on demand, so you’re free to binge-watch your favorite shows whenever you want.

How can I get an internet-enabled device?

For those who need help purchasing a computer, there are a number of organizations that can help. Some of these organizations also offer training programs for digital skills to help people get the most out of their new devices. Many of these organizations, like PCs for People and Human-I-T, focus on refurbishing old computers and reducing electronic waste.

Other organizations, such as EveryoneOn, are there to help people through the whole process of getting online. EveryoneOn helps people get computers, helps them find affordable internet service, and teaches digital skills through various training programs.

Bottom Line: There are lots of options for seniors

Between government programs and service provider discounts, there are a lot of internet options for seniors. Even if your current provider or one you’re considering doesn’t have any advertised offers for seniors, you can always talk to an agent to see if there’s a discount available. It’s always better to ask questions and voice concerns than to just trust that the technician knows exactly what you need. You should never feel stuck with an internet plan that doesn’t meet your needs.

FAQ about internet for Seniors

Is there free internet for seniors?

There are several government programs that provide reduced-cost or free internet for seniors, including the FCC’s Lifeline program and ConnectHomeUSA. Low-income applicants and those enrolled in government programs like SSI and Medicaid are also eligible for many of these reduced-cost or free internet programs.

What’s the best internet for seniors?

Xfinity is the best internet for seniors because it is widely available and offers discounts for seniors who are eligible for SSI. If Xfinity is not available in your area, Suddenlink, Optimum, and Spectrum also offer discounts directed at seniors.

What is the cheapest internet service for seniors?

The Comcast Internet Essentials program offers broadband internet for $9.95 per month* to those enrolled in a qualifying program such as SSI, SNAP, Medicaid, and more. If you don’t qualify for the Internet Essentials program, or if you want to learn more about reduced-cost and free alternatives, check out our look at everything you need to know about free internet.

Does AARP have internet service?

AARP does not offer internet service, and most internet service providers do not have a standard discount for AARP members. However, when comparing internet providers in your area, speak to an agent over the phone if you can because they might be willing to throw in a senior discount if that’s a crucial factor in your decision.

What brands offer internet discounts for seniors?

Altice Suddenlink, Altice Optimum, Spectrum, and Comcast Xfinity all offer internet discounts for seniors who are eligible for SSI. Altice Suddenlink and Altice Optimum also offer discounts to veterans receiving public assistance.

  1. FBI, “2019 Internet Crime Report,” 2019. Accessed August 22, 2020.
  2. The White House, “FACT SHEET: Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” July 9, 2021. Accessed July 13, 2021.

Author -

Peter Christiansen writes about satellite internet, rural connectivity, livestreaming, and parental controls for HighSpeedInternet.com. Peter holds a PhD in communication from the University of Utah and has been working in tech for over 15 years as a computer programmer, game developer, filmmaker, and writer. His writing has been praised by outlets like Wired, Digital Humanities Now, and the New Statesman.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.

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