Best Internet Plans and Discounts for Seniors
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.
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.
Charter Spectrum senior discounts
The Spectrum Internet Assist Program is open to applicants over 65 who receive SSI. It also costs just $14.99* per month, but if you want a Wi-Fi router, there’s an additional charge of $5.00 per month.1 Spectrum internet was also 7th overall in customer satisfaction in our 2020 customer satisfaction survey.
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. Xfinity also took 5th place overall in our 2020 customer satisfaction survey.
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.
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.
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 2020 customer satisfaction survey.
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.
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 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 2019.2 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 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.
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.
*Data as of 09/10/2020. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change
Author - Peter Christiansen
Peter Christiansen holds a PhD in Communication from the University of Utah and has been working in tech for over 15 years, working 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 edited for HighSpeedInternet.com for three years, working with smart writers to revise everything from internet reviews to reports on your state’s favorite Netflix show. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span (buffering kills). With a degree in English and editing and five years working with online content, it’s safe to say she likes words on the internet. She is most likely to be seen wearing Birkenstocks and hanging out with a bouncy goldendoodle named Dobby, who is a literal fur angel sent to Earth.