The internet began as a simple curiosity, but as it grew, more people started to embrace it. Initially, middle-aged people and the younger generation were the ones jumping into it. But, as the utility of the internet improved, even seniors were seeing the benefits. It allows seniors to keep in touch with family and old friends, as well as stay engaged in community services and events. For some seniors, social isolation can be a problem and the internet can assist with this. In addition, they can use it to watch their favorite shows and informational videos, find good exercises, listen to music, and much more. Unfortunately, internet fees can get quite expensive, especially for those who are retired or disabled. This is why many internet service providers offer various types of discounts that can help. Here a few providers with senior discounts that you can check out.
AT&T Senior Discounts
AT&T has a pretty great program for low-cost internet to qualifying households. Although, the program is only available in 21 states. Depending on the speed in a particular area, it will cost between $5-10 a month. To qualify for this low-cost service, at least one person in the household must be part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or live in the state of California and receive Supplemental Security Income.
Comcast/Xfinity Senior Discounts
Comcast has a program called the Comcast Internet Essentials pilot program. Seniors who are eligible for this program can receive low-cost home internet service for only $10 a month. They will also get a free computer, home wi-fi, and classes that train them on the internet. This is one of the best starter programs for seniors who have absolutely no experience with the internet. To be eligible, a household must be in a serviceable area, receive federal or state assistance, not have any recent or current service with Comcast/Xfinity, not have a leftover balance with Comcast that is less than one year old, and must be eligible for or receive public assistance. Currently, this program is only offered in around a dozen areas in the country.
Spectrum/Charter Senior Discounts
Spectrum offers a program called Spectrum Internet Assist in certain areas. This program provides low-cost internet service for seniors who are getting Supplemental Security Income. They have internet service plans for as low as $15 a month.
FCC Lifeline Program
Lifeline is a federal program that works with multiple providers to offer discounts to eligible low-income people. Eligible groups include those who receive Supplemental Security Income, SNAP, Veterans benefits, and a few other state and federal assistance programs. You can use the Lifeline provider database to locate all the potential providers in your area. Some of the companies participating in this program include Verizon, Windstream, Frontier, and more
Fiber is Google’s brand of trying their hand at providing internet service. Google Fiber is only available in limited areas as of right now, so be sure to check availability on their website. Google is working to roll out to more locations quickly, but it may be some time before they reach more rural areas. In certain neighborhoods, Fiber offers high-speed plans for as low as $15 a month.
CenturyLink for Seniors
CenturyLink offers plans that can be quite fitting for the activities most seniors would be involved in. Their plans start at around $10 a month with a speed of 1.5mbps.
If any internet cost is too expensive, seniors should check with FreedomPop. They offer low cost and free high-speed internet and mobile phone service to select zip codes. Their free plan is quite limited, but they offer multiple tiers of service, which allows seniors to choose the one that is right for them. Check the FreedomPop website to see if their service is available in your area.
Check with Multiple Providers
There are a few points to keep in mind when searching for an internet provider. One of the most important is to check with multiple providers to ensure you find the best fit. Although, this may not always be an option because some areas only have one or two providers. But for those who live in an area with multiple providers, it never hurts to shop around. You may be able to find a better deal or you may not like a certain provider because of their contract terms. Many of the low-cost plans do not have a contract so that they can be terminated at any time, but this is not always the case. Another point is to ask questions if you need to, such as about contract terms, hidden fees or taxes, etc. Asking questions not only helps discover potential hidden catches, but it could also bring up some discounts or programs that may be better suited for you.
Learning Your Way Around the Internet
For seniors who have no experience with the internet whatsoever, it is a good idea to choose a provider that offers training classes as part of their program. This way, you can at least learn the basics of the internet and what not to do. While the internet can be a great way to enjoy yourself, there are also hidden dangers to be aware of. Scammers are prominent these days, so it is important to know how to protect yourself. You could also have an internet savvy relative guide you through learning the basics. Even something as simple as an email can be a hidden trap and you should know how to avoid and identify things these things.
The internet can be an incredible tool for seniors and it should be easily accessible for them. It used to be a commodity, but it is now a staple in almost every home. Instead of just talking on the phone once in a while, seniors can video chat to see their children and grandchildren. They can also stay engaged in activities and communities that they enjoy.