The Senior Guide to Shopping for Internet Service

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Whether you’re watching movies or simply want to see photos of your grandkids on Facebook, everyone needs internet access these days.

But if terms like Wi-Fi and Mbps sound like Greek to you, don’t worry! We’re here to help.

If you’re a senior interested in internet service, here’s everything you need to know about the internet installation process.

1. Find internet providers in your area

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Every city has at least one internet option, but not every internet provider is created equally.

Major internet providers offer different types of internet service — let’s break down your area’s main internet options by internet type, average price, average download speeds, and who it’s best for.

  • Satellite internet: $65.00–$300.00/mo., under 100Mbps, rural households with no alternative internet options
  • DSL internet: $25.00–$50.00/mo., under 100Mbps, checking emails and scrolling Facebook
  • Cable internet: $25.00–$100.00/mo., 100–1,000Mbps, watching Netflix and Hulu or households with large families
  • Fiber internet: $30.00–$300.00/mo. 100–10,000Mbps, households that need the fastest internet

Internet recommendations for seniors

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We’d recommend cable internet for most senior households.

Cable internet has wide availability, decent pricing, and great download speeds, so it’ll be easy to install and provide the most bang for your buck. Major cable internet providers include Xfinity, Cox, and Spectrum.

Fiber internet technically offers the best internet speeds, but it’ll be overkill for most seniors’ internet needs unless you can land a great deal.

However, Verizon and CenturyLink offer great fiber internet plans under $50 and flat-rate pricing.

As for DSL internet, it’s cheap, but it’s much slower than cable internet.

2. Choosing an internet plan

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Now that you know internet providers in your area, your next step is to find an internet plan that fits your budget and needs.

Generally, a household should pay around $50 monthly for an average internet plan. Once you get above this price point, you’ll get into higher-end internet plans that’ll generally be faster than what you’ll need.

At prices below $50 monthly, you’ll have to settle for budget internet plans.

These price points also carry over when it comes to internet speeds. For most senior households, we’d recommend an internet plan with speeds between 100 and 200Mbps.

Plans with these download speeds won’t break your budget, but you’ll still have enough internet speed for when family comes over.

If you’re operating under a budget and use the internet only for email and Facebook, your household could get by with internet speeds under 100Mbps, but you won’t be able to do more than the bare essentials.

Internet plan overview

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Here’s a breakdown of internet speeds, who they’re best for, and household size.

  • 25–100Mbps: Web browsing and watching online videos, 1–3 people
  • 100–300Mbps: Regular video calls, online gaming, and 4K video streaming, 3–5 people
  • 300–1,000+Mbps: Frequent 4K streaming and video calls, transferring large files, and for multiple people who work from home, 5+ people

3. What do you need for Wi-Fi?

setting up home Wi-Fi wireless network and router
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Every internet connection needs two pieces of equipment: a Wi-Fi router and an internet modem. Depending on your internet provider, you’ll get some of this equipment for free or pay an optional monthly rental fee.

Renting can be convenient since internet companies will set up the hardware for you, and you can typically get upgrades at no extra cost.

But in most cases, we’d recommend buying your equipment to save on rental fees.

Our top Wi-Fi router pick for seniors is the TP-Link Archer AX10, and our top cable modem pick is the Motorola MB7621.

Both devices offer great Wi-Fi performance and cost under $100 each. For more information, check out our full Wi-Fi router and cable modem guides.

Best Wi-Fi router and cable modem for seniors

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Here are our picks for devices and their prices:

Final take

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Internet is just as important for seniors as power or phone service, but don’t be intimidated by how techy the internet might be. As with any service, figure out your home’s budget and internet needs.

Afterward, you’ll have an internet plan that provides your household with the most value.

Up next are some senior internet guide FAQs.

Who has the cheapest internet for senior citizens?

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Verizon offers the cheapest internet service for senior citizens through the Lifeline federal internet subsidy program for qualifying households.

Can seniors get free internet?

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Seniors who qualify for the Lifeline program may get free internet, depending on providers in their area.

Does AT&T offer senior discounts for internet service?

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AT&T does not offer senior discounts, but seniors who qualify for the Lifeline Program may be able to get free internet service.

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