Senior citizens need the internet to stay connected with their family, friends, and service providers. It prevents social isolation and provides increased entertainment opportunities that include on-demand music, free videos, and movie streaming.
However, not all senior citizens can afford to pay for the internet. those from low-income families may need support from government, internet service providers (ISPs), and non-profit organization. With so many ways to get free internet for senior citizens, there is no reason why anyone shouldn’t be connected.
- You can get free internet for senior citizens by signing up for any of the federal programs or through your ISP.
- Most ISPs offer discounted internet services instead of outrightly making them free of charge.
- Senior citizens should avoid jumping onto the first free internet deal, but do due diligence to avoid getting a raw deal.
How to Get Free Internet for Senior Citizens
Senior citizens can get free internet in a variety of ways. For example, through government initiatives, seniors can get discounts on their monthly internet bills. Where the internet covers the entire bill, the result is free internet for the seniors.
Participating ISPs absorb the government-borne discounts and provide either free or discounted internet. However, the ISPs may also offer free internet of their own volition. That also applies to the non-profit organizations offering free internet.
The following are some of the ways in which senior citizens can get free internet:
1. The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) was introduced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on 31st December 2021 to replace the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). Through the ACP, senior citizens get a $30 monthly discount on their internet bills. Those living on Tribal Lands get $75 off their monthly internet bills.
Participating in the ACP requires you to meet stringent eligibility criteria. that’s because you would need to provide documents proving that you participate in any of the eligible government programs. The following are the different ways to qualify for free internet for seniors:
- A household income below 200% of the existing Federal Poverty Guidelines
- Participation in SNAP, SSI, Federal Public Housing, Medicaid, or Lifeline
- Benefit from Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF, or related programs
- Meeting eligibility for the qualification criteria for senior by your ISP
- Benefit from Veterans Pension or Survivor’s Pension Plan
You may apply for the $30 ACP discount by going to https://acpbenefit.org/ and filling out the application form. Before applying, you should check for eligibility by going to the National Verifier website.
Alternatively, you may print out the application form, fill it out, attach the necessary documents, and send it via the following address:
ACP Support Center, P.O Box 7081, London, KY, 40742
2. Lifeline Assistance
Lifeline Assistance is an FCC program that provides a $9.25 discount towards the phone service for senior citizens and other low-income groups. Those on Tribal Lands get a discount of $34.25 per month.
Having existed for years, Lifeline Assistance is available in most states. Qualification criteria for Lifeline Assistance is either income-based or dependent on participation in an assistance program. Here is how to qualify for free internet for seniors via Lifeline Assistance:
- Annual income under 135% of the current Federal Poverty Guidelines
- Participation in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Benefit from Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Participation in Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans Pensions or Survivors Pension Plan
3. Xfinity Internet Essentials
Comcast Xfinity is available in 39 states. As part of Comcast NBC Universal, it offers affordable bundled and internet-only packages to its customers. Its bundled packages include high-speed internet, HD TV channels, and phone services.
Eligible seniors can get subsidized internet via the Xfinity Internet Essentials. Users pay only $9.95 a month to get broadband internet. The package might not be specifically targeted at seniors but its eligibility criteria apply to almost anyone.
The qualification criteria for Xfinity Internet Essentials include the following:
- Living in regions where Comcast Xfinity is available
- Those who haven’t had Comcast within 90 days
- Qualification for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, housing assistance, Medicaid, and other national assistance programs
You may apply for Xfinity Internet Essentials by going online and filling out an application form or via your mobile phone. Those who qualify for free internet for senior citizens get an email or text message informing them of their approval. You can start using the internet in a maximum seven days.
Xfinity Internet Essentials has several advantages, including no credit checks, equipment rental fees, activation fees, or long-term contracts. With this service, you also get affordable in-home internet, nationwide Xfinity hotspots, and free computer classes and internet training.
Therefore, if you’re afraid of not benefitting from the program because of not being tech-savvy, the training afforded by this program should come in handy. Those who fail to get approved for Xfinity Internet Essentials may sign up for any of the available packages that start at $19.99.
4. AT&T Access Program
AT&T is an industry-leading communications company that has been operating in the United States for more than 44 years. Its network covers 21 states. AT&T has a variety of plans for all kinds of customers, including senior citizens.
Senior citizens and those who can’t afford internet should enroll into low-cost programs such as AT&T’s Access. The program might not be specifically designed for seniors but those in need of the internet can apply for it.
It is available to senior citizens who benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Supplemental Security Income. Application for the program is on the Access Wireless website. You’ll get an email or SMS notification once you get approved for the program.
The AT&T Access program avails home internet to senior citizens for only $10 monthly. It is one of the best ways to get free internet for senior citizens. The program requires no deposit, no yearly contracts, or free installation.
5. CenturyLink Internet Basics
CenturyLink is a major telecommunications company offering fiber and DSL internet packages across the United States. It serves millions of customers in 36 states. The company offer internet in a variety of speeds, enabling seniors to pick one that works for them.
The CenturyLink Lifeline program targets people from all age groups, including senior citizens. Of course, this program isn’t specifically earmarked for the seniors. Eligible low-income families get a $9.25 monthly discount on the Standard Federal Lifeline Program for broadband internet services. It includes a $5.25 discount monthly for telephone services.
Senior citizens residing on Tribal Lands may get a larger monthly broadband discount of up to $34.25. You can know your eligibility by applying online via the United Services Administration Company (USAC) website. The discount targets households and not individuals. Therefore, the discount applies to the entire household, not the individual.
6. Spectrum Internet Assist
Spectrum was established by Charter Communications to provide broadband internet to over 32 million customers across the United States. It operates in 41 states and has three packages for people of all age groups and income statuses.
For those looking for free internet for senior citizens, the Spectrum Internet Assist program can be a good starting point for impressive discounts. Seniors above 65 years can get this discount if they participate in the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The no-contract package includes 30Mbps of high-speed internet and no data caps.
Although Spectrum provides some of the most reasonable internet speeds around, it can be costlier than other ISPs. Users are required to pay $14.99 in monthly internet charges. The package includes a free modem and security suite to protect senior from possible breaches.
Spectrum makes it possible for you to bundle internet with other services, resulting in substantial savings for senior citizens. Once you get the package, you won’t have to purchase separate services from Spectrum or any other providers.
7. Cox Connect2Compete
Cox offers internet services to millions of customers in 18 states. It has several reliable plans for customers from all kinds of income groups. Besides, some of their packages include cable TV and phone services.
Senior citizens and other members of low-income families can get affordable internet via the Cox Connect2Compete package. Eligible households pay only $9.95 monthly to get an internet connection. The program mainly targets families with school-going children.
Therefore, for senior living with grandchildren, this internet package is a must-have. The program is available on a no-contract basis and allows senior citizens to cancel subscription at will. Therefore, you won’t get down to the package if you no longer need it.
Besides Connect2Compete, Cox has several affordable internet packages for seniors living alone. These packages are free from the many bells and whistles associated with other internet packages. For only $29.99 monthly, you can get the Cox Internet Starter 10 package, which is more affordable than those from competitors.
EveryoneOn is a non-profit organization that offers free internet to low-income households with school-going children. Therefore, senior citizens living with their grandchildren can take advantage of the program to get free internet. since the organization has no network of its own, it works with ISPs to avail free internet to senior citizens.
The main purpose of EveryoneOn is to promote digital inclusion for the underprivileged members of the society. Besides free internet, they provide training to senior citizens on how to use tablets to surf the internet and access services. The organization also offers financial literacy to all the people connected to it.
Tips for Finding the Best Free Internet for Senior Citizens
Most senior citizens fail to do due diligence when searching for free internet. They focus too much on the lack of payment of monthly internet bills and fail to check other pertinent details. Before signing up for free internet for senior citizens, pay attention to the following:
- Internet Speed: Internet speed is critical, especially concerning the number of devices you can connect to the network at a go. Having high-speed internet is critical, especially if you want to use multiple devices like laptops, home security systems, medical alert systems, and hearing aids.
- Contracts and Hidden Fees: Some free internet providers may require you to sign up for a long-term contract and pay hidden fees. Beware of such providers since the ‘free internet’ may end up being more expensive than a conventional plan. Things to look out for include equipment rental fees, data overage fees, and equipment rental fees.
- Ask Your Friends: It helps to ask your neighbors or other senior citizens about the internet they use in their homes. With that, you’ll learn about the available free internet deals and pick one that works for you.
- Use Bundled Services: If you can’t find free internet that adequately meets your needs, you may have to sign up for a paid package. The best packages are those that come in bundles of other services like phone and cable TV. Paying for all of these in one package helps you to avoid acquiring them separately.
- Get Senior Bundles: Most ISPs have discounts specifically targeted at senior citizens. You can take advantage of these discounts to avoid paying to the full cost of an internet package. Since the discounts keep changing from time to time, you have to be on the lookout for them.
The Bottom Line
There are many ways to get free internet for senior citizens. Through government programs like Lifeline Assistance and the ACP, you can get substantial discounts, which eventually lead to free or subsidized internet. Since these are programs for the general population, you must meet the laid down eligibility criteria to benefit.
Alternatively, you may get free internet from non-profit organizations or the ISPs. However, some ISPs don’t offer free internet but reduce the cost through substantial discounts. Therefore, you have the option of getting either free or subsidized internet.