Top 5 Senior Internet Services
Many services offered for seniors exist, including internet services. While many senior oriented services help seniors manage various aspects of life, internet and technology are often the least utilized. Specifically, Internet services and Wi-Fi access seem foreign and difficult because most seniors were not raised with them. This is especially true for the eldest citizens because the commonplace technology we now know (and largely cannot live without) simply did not exist until 1991.
The age when a person officially becomes a senior citizen ranges between 55 and 67 years old depending on the organization making the determination. These organizations include government-run medical and financial institutions and even fast food or other restaurants offering senior discounts. It makes perfect sense that internet companies also offer discounts to senior citizens. However, it is not as commonly known or widely advertised.
Discount Internet services for senior citizens are more prevalent than might be expected. Similar to discounts for the disabled, many internet providers do not make a point to advertise cheaper services as often as their more expensive packages. You have to search for and research what companies have to offer in your service area. To assist in your research the following five internet services offer special internet programs for seniors.
What Makes an Internet Service Best for Seniors?
Most internet services include the same basic elements in their available packages. A Wi-Fi connection is an obvious necessity. Hardware such as routers, modems and cables are required to establish the connection. Packages are priced based on connection speed and amount of data used each billing period. Some services throw in promotional perks as well, such as a free Wi-Fi enabled tablet or notebook with a two-year commitment. If all that sounds like gibberish to you, the good news is that you do not have to have a tech degree to get a great internet service. Once you decide on a service, the company sets most of the components up for you.
Internet service packages for the public tend to come with multiple features and higher price points. The average cost of internet packages in 2020 is $70 per month. Most senior citizens do not need all those extra features nor should be forced to pay for what they do not use. Some appropriate services are designed for low-income households or the disabled, but feature elements best suited for senior citizens. The elements helping to make an internet service best for seniors include lower pricing, ease of installation and dedicated, easily available customer service. The best companies include:
- AT&T Access
- FCC Lifeline
- Spectrum Internet Assist
- CenturyLink Internet Basics
- Comcast/Xfinity Internet Essentials.
The AT&T Access internet program is available for people who live in a household where one member is currently receiving SNAP benefits (aka food stamps). This is one of the only drawbacks to this otherwise top-rated, discounted internet service. AT&T is a reliable, household name in the United States. Senior Citizens can trust there are no scams with this company.
The Access program has a base price of only $10/month with no term-commitment, activation fee or deposit necessary for signup. A price of $5 is also possible if the internet speed in your area is lower than the maximum option provided in larger market regions. While the AT&T Access program includes a kit for self-installation, free customer service and service technicians are available, reducing the stress on seniors wary of setting up their own connections. If you are not on food stamps or government assistance, AT&T still offers a discount for seniors and offer additional discounts if you also sign up for TV with them as well.
CenturyLink Internet Basics
The CenturyLink Internet Basics plan costs just $9.95/month plus additional taxes and fees. One major perk of signing up with this service is the option to purchase a Netbook computer for $150 plus tax. A Netbook computer is smaller than a laptop but larger than a tablet. It is lightweight and portable making it convenient for use by senior citizens. CenturyLink Internet Basics also comes with free training. This company does require 12-24 month contracts, however, and eligibility requirements include customers also being qualified for the FCC Lifeline program.
The FCC Lifeline Internet service is run by the federal government and reduces the cost of monthly internet services by $9.25 or more for eligible participants. While this is not an internet service in and of itself, the government does provide free Internet to some citizens through cash assistance programs and grants. The Federal Communication Commission Customer Help Center can be reached at (888) 225-5322 for questions and assistance if you do not already have Internet service connected. For those that do, there is a list of participating companies in your area.. The FCC Lifeline program may take a little time and effort to set up but will be well worth the effort if you receive free monthly internet services in the end.
Charter Spectrum Internet Assist
The company now called Spectrum used to be known as Time Warner. Similar to AT&T, this provides some level of comfort and trust with seniors. This service provides free modems for qualified customers and charges $14.99/month for no-limit-data with the option of adding on additional Spectrum services. There are no contracts but there is an additional $5/month charge to add Wi-Fi. Limitations include eligible participants be at least 65 years old and receiving SSI. SSA and SSDI recipients do not qualify.
Comcast/Xfinity Internet Essentials
Comcast is one of the biggest communications and entertainment names in existence. Their Internet Essentials program is available in approximately twelve U.S. locations. The plan is priced at $9.95/month. It includes Wi-Fi and does not require contracts or credit checks. There are strict income and medical/disability requirements, however, so be sure to read the fine print and ask questions with a Comcast representative. On the plus side this program does offer a free computer and internet training, so determining your eligibility is well worth the effort.