Best Internet Deals for Seniors – CNET

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Astound Broadband: Internet First

  • Prices from $10 a month
  • Speeds from 50Mbps
  • No contracts

Or call to order: (877) 528-8790

AT&T: Access from AT&T

  • Prices from $30 a month
  • Speeds from 100Mbps
  • Unlimited data

Cox: ConnectAssist

  • Prices from $30 a month
  • Speeds from 100Mbps
  • No contracts

Optimum: Optimum Advantage Internet

  • Prices from $15 a month
  • Speeds from 50Mbps
  • No contracts

Or call to order: (888) 234-4209

Rise Broadband: Military discount

  • Prices from $25 – $65 per month
  • Speeds from 25 – 50Mbps
  • Unlimited data on some plans

Spectrum: Spectrum Internet Assist

  • Prices from $15 a month
  • Speeds from 30Mbps
  • No contracts

Xfinity: Internet Essentials

  • Prices from $10 – $30 per month
  • Speeds from 50 – 100Mbps
  • No credit check

Or call to order: (877) 645-2012

According to Pew Research Center surveys, 75% of adults ages 65 and over use the internet, and 64% use their home broadband connection to do so. These numbers have risen steadily over the past decade, becoming even more pronounced after the COVID-19 pandemic. I think all of us have increased our use of FaceTime, Zoom and other video-chat tools over that time.

The need to be online is imperative, but too often, the price of a reliable internet connection can be steep. That’s an amplified problem if you’re a retiree on a fixed income. How can you find cheap internet deals for seniors? I’m glad you asked. Here are a few ideas to stay connected for less.

Start with government programs

Unlike your local diner, internet service providers don’t really offer senior discounts. But seniors do need affordable internet service. There are certainly some ISP-specific deals worth exploring (and I’ll talk about those in a moment), but your best bet is to begin by taking advantage of some federal programs. Two in particular jump to mind — one has been around since 1985, and the other is a newer policy that went into place in 2022.

You should begin with Lifeline, a program that’s been around for decades and can help eligible customers with their phone or internet bills. While it’s not specifically geared to older citizens, several of its qualifiers — including participation in Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income and Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit — apply to seniors. Lifeline is also geared toward helping low-income households, so retirees on an especially tight, fixed income, including those in Federal Public Housing Assistance or those using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, might also be able to participate. 

What do you get if you do qualify? Seniors can get up to $9.25 a month off their internet bill for $111 a year off the cost of being connected at home.

Even better, once you qualify for Lifeline, you’re also eligible for the government’s Affordable Connectivity Program, a subsidy from the Federal Communications Commission. Again, this is not specifically geared to seniors, but those eligible for Lifeline assistance can also qualify for this benefit, which provides a monthly discount on the cost of broadband service.

What’s exciting is you can use the funds from the ACP toward the specific programs we list below, and you might find it fully covers the cost of your monthly internet bill. One other option is to use the ACP to help pay for a faster plan to help you better stream your favorite TV shows or get a better connection on those video chats with your family. 

Finally, a note of caution: Beware some ISP sites’ “senior deals” pages. Many are just glorified ads masquerading as helpful tips. They’re trying to sell you on higher-speed plans instead of showing you legitimate discounts or unveiling special deals. Use some discernment as you shop. 

Top internet deals and discounts for seniors

Sarah Tew/CNET

Astound Broadband: Internet First

Product details


Price range

$10 a month

Speed range

50Mbps

Connection

Cable

Highlights

No contracts, first 60 days are free

This affordable internet plan is $10 a month and features up to 50 megabits per second download speeds. No contracts or credit checks are required. Though not exclusively for seniors, it is open to eligible, low-income households and participants in SSI. In addition, Astound is offering the first 60 days for free.

Read our Astound Broadband review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

AT&T: Access from AT&T

Product details


Price range

$30 a month

Speed range

100Mbps

Connection

DSL/Fiber

Highlights

Unlimited data, no contracts, no installation fees, no deposit required

If you receive SSI benefits in California or participate in SNAP in any of the 21 states within the AT&T serviceability area, you’re eligible for this program, which features download speeds of up to 100Mbps for $30 a month or less. You won’t have to deal with any installation fees, data caps, contracts or deposits.

Read our AT&T home internet review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Cox: ConnectAssist

Product details


Price range

$30 a month

Speed range

100Mbps

Connection

Cable

Highlights

No contracts, free modem, free Wi-Fi hotspot

Cox has long had a discount program called Connect2Compete, aimed at low- or fixed-income families. But in 2021, it introduced ConnectAssist, geared toward low-income households without children. Several eligibility programs – including Veterans Pension, Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid — apply to seniors. For $30 a month, qualifying households can receive a 100Mbps plan — including a free modem and access to 3 million Wi-Fi hotspots across the country. There is a monthly data cap of 1.25TB, but no contract is required.

Read our Cox Communications review.

Optimum

Optimum: Optimum Advantage Internet

Product details


Price range

$15 a month

Speed range

50Mbps

Connection

Cable

Highlights

No contracts, free modem/router, free installation, unlimited data

This program includes eligibility for people 65 and older who receive SSI, and US military veterans receiving state or federal assistance. The no-contract internet plan features up to 50Mbps download speeds for $15 a month. It also includes free installation, unlimited data and a free modem/router combo.

Read our Optimum home internet review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Rise Broadband: Military discount

Product details


Price range

$25 – $65 per month

Speed range

25 – 50Mbps

Connection

Fixed wireless

Highlights

Unlimited data on some plans, low price increase

Sarah Tew/CNET

Spectrum: Spectrum Internet Assist

Product details


Price range

$15 a month

Speed range

30Mbps

Connection

Cable

Highlights

No contracts, free modem, unlimited data

Seniors aged 65 and over that receive SSI are eligible for this assistance plan. It features up to 30Mbps download speeds for $15 a month and includes a free modem, no data caps and no contracts. Wi-Fi is available for an additional $5 monthly.

Read our Spectrum home internet review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Xfinity: Internet Essentials

Product details


Price range

$10 – $30 per month

Speed range

50 – 100Mbps

Connection

Cable

Highlights

No credit check, free Wi-Fi hotspot

If you’re a senior, participating in Medicaid or SSI, or receive a VA pension, you may be eligible for this internet plan, which features up to 50Mbps download speeds for $10 a month. No credit check is required and participants also get free access to Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots. There’s also an option to double your speed to 100Mbps for $30 per month, with similar terms.

Read our Xfinity home internet review.

Best internet deals and discounts for seniors FAQs

Can seniors get internet service for free?

Technically, yes, but it’ll take a few maneuvers. First, you must be eligible for the federal program, Lifeline. It’s not explicitly for seniors, but if you participate in Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income or Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, you may likely qualify. Once you do that, you become eligible for a subsidy program from the FCC called the Affordable Connectivity Program. This would provide you with $30 a month toward your internet service. If your ISP is participating in the ACP and offers an internet plan for $30 or less (and many of them do), you can get your internet service for free. 

Do any cable companies offer discounts for older adults?

No, not specifically. But several cable internet companies feature discount programs and plans that can apply to seniors. For example, Optimum offers Optimum Advantage Internet, a low-cost, 50Mbps plan for $15 a month that includes free installation, unlimited data, no contracts and a Wi-Fi router. Among the eligibility criteria are veterans receiving state or federal public assistance or seniors 65 and older who participate in Supplemental Security Income. Astound Broadband’s Internet First program and Spectrum’s Internet Assist also include the SSI participation qualification. Finally, Comcast Xfinity’s Internet Essentials accepts SSI and participation in Medicaid or a VA pension. 

Does Xfinity offer discounts for seniors?

Xfinity does not offer a discount that’s explicitly for seniors. Still, Comcast’s Internet Essentials program for low-income households — featuring a 50Mbps plan for $10 a month and free access to Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots — does include eligibility that applies to seniors. Among the qualifications is participation in Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, public housing assistance and VA pension.

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