Low-Cost Internet Helps Seniors Cross the DigitalLow-Cost Internet Helps Seniors Cross the Digital Divide Divide

These days everything happens on the internet, from reading the news and finding recipes to researching healthcare treatments and applying for benefits. Not everyone’s on, though. The Pew Research Center says fewer than half of US seniors have high-speed internet at home. That’s because it’s costly – about $47 per month, on average. Some internet service providers, government agencies, and nonprofit groups are helping seniors log on with low-cost service. If you or a senior you know can’t afford home internet service, here’s what you need to know.

Local programs for low-income seniors

In parts of Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, and Palm Beach County, Florida, Comcast offers $10-a-month high-speed internet for low-income seniors, along with the things they need to make the most of it: low-cost computers and free training to help them safely navigate the online world. Learn more at Comcast’s Internet Essentials page for seniors.

Neighborhood-wide internet access discounts

In some neighborhoods where Google Fiber is installing its super-fast network, residents automatically qualify for $15/per month high-speed plans. The rate is available in areas where census data shows few residents with internet at home. Google Fiber projects are underway in Atlanta, Austin, Kansas City, Nashville, and Provo, and more than a dozen other cities are on the list as upcoming or potential locations for Google Fiber. Learn more at the Google Fiber website.

FreedomPop offers free and low-cost wireless internet access to households in selected low-income zip codes within the Sprint wireless network coverage area. Learn more on the national nonprofit EveryoneOn’s eligibility page

Low-cost internet access for SNAP participants

In the 21 states AT&T serves with home wireline internet plans, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants with no outstanding AT&T bills may qualify for the company’s discounted service. It costs between $5 and $10 per month, depending on the speed of service in the area. Learn more and apply at the Access from AT&T page.

Options for “grandfamilies” with school-age children

We’ve blogged about the growing resources for grandparents raising grandchildren or living with them, and one of those resources is affordable internet access. Households where at least one child qualifies for the National School Lunch Program may be eligible for $10/month service from several providers, including Comcast, Cox, and some regional ISPs. You can see a full list with program details on the EveryoneOn eligibility page.

More resources for low-cost internet access at home

The FCC’s Lifeline subsidy program will soon give participants $9.25 per month to spend on wired or wireless internet service. Participants in Medicaid, Section 8 public housing, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance, and other federal, state, and tribal assistance programs will be eligible. A start date for the internet subsidy hasn’t been set yet. Learn more and check for updates at the FCC’s Lifeline Support for Affordable Communications page.

Get Senior Living Advice Now

Speaking of saving money, if you’re looking for the best value options for senior care, be sure to visit SeniorAdvisor.com to see reviews, ratings, and prices for assisted living and more.

If you would like to to talk with a local expert about your senior care options, based on your needs and your budget, we’re here to help. Give us a call toll-free at (866) 592-8119 – we’re available 5am-9pm Mon-Fri and 5am-5:30pm Sat-Sun (Pacific Time).

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelance writer whose childhood was made awesome by her grandmothers, great-grandmother, great-aunts and -uncles, and their friends.

31 Comments

  1. Bev kotak May 6, 2017 Reply

    TOO BAD THE CHEAPER INTERNET FOR SENIORS IS NOT AVAILABLE IN CANADA

    • Gary September 10, 2018 Reply

      Too bad the cheaper medical and low cost medicine rates are not available in the U.S.
      I think, overall, the Canadians come out ahead between medical vs internet options.

      • Rossie September 28, 2018 Reply

        That was a good one Gary

  2. Julia Muncy May 6, 2017 Reply

    I have the AT&T $10 Internet and it works fine for my needs. Upgrades for more storage are very inexpensive too. I also have a Safelink cell phone, a “smart” phone from the Federal Lifeline program that costs me $0 and again, works great for my needs. Also inexpensive to upgrade. I do get SSI is why I qualified, but there are other ways people can qualify too. Thank you for this list! I found a similar one via a Google search, able to do so because I had Intenet I was paying for.

  3. Sharon May 7, 2017 Reply

    How about seniors in Canada that can not afford the high cost of internet

  4. Steven Keith May 10, 2017 Reply

    I’m 61years old and had to take disability, my monthly income is less than 1000.00 per month. By the time I pay rent and utilities, I have very little left. I just recently got WiFi internet with hughsnet. I get a small amount of foodstamps.,and I live in mountains of S.E.Kentucky. all of my family lives in the Nashville Tn. Area,do or will I be able to get the low income internet?

    • Amelia Willson May 15, 2017 Reply

      Hello Steven, by chance are you a veteran or the spouse of a veteran? I ask because I know of a veterans benefit that you might want to look into that specifically helps low income seniors afford senior care like assisted living, nursing home, or home care.

      • Holly Triestram November 11, 2017 Reply

        I have an uncle who is a military veteran who is on disability. How would he qualify for any internet discount in Grand Rapids, Michigan?

      • donald tilligkeit September 17, 2018 Reply

        hi im a vet. ..about vet deal ? was it internet?

  5. Terry Paschka October 14, 2017 Reply

    I am a single home owner in Pittsburgh PA with a dog and a car on a low social security- under $1,000 a month, cant afford cable or internet to be able function like others. Ide also like to easily be able to handle important needs and necessities. We are forced to be inconvenienced and with everything now on or converting to the net. Ive had a Windows 10 hoping for free or $10 a mo easy internet.

  6. Ashker December 29, 2017 Reply

    I live in Boro Park in Brooklyn, New York, I am 65+ young, not on social security or any government’s help program. I have lost my management level accounting job more than six and a half years back and since then I kept looking for a new job desperately but did not find any as of yet! My brothers pay’s for all the bills including the monthly rent, groceries etc and I am so grateful to them and to the Divine Lord for that.

    It will be really very helpful and I appreciate it much if anyone can inform me if I can qualify for a Low Cost High Speed Internet service as I can not afford the Verizon’s price anymore as Verizon kept increasing their prices often and their taxes are also very high! Please help me with the info if you can.T

    Thanks and wishing you all a very happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous New Year 2018! Peace on earth!

  7. Marianne Rounds January 27, 2018 Reply

    Anything available for seniors on section 8 and SNAPBin Phoenix as far as internet in home ? No asking about cell phone data,thank you very much

  8. Marianne January 27, 2018 Reply

    Any companies offer liw cost internet for seniors on section 8 and SNAP?

  9. Janet Van Ryswyk March 3, 2018 Reply

    We have to use Spectrum Charter in my apartment building. We don’t get a break for high-speed internet here. Were on social security but I don’t get food stamps or other aids.

  10. Joyce Holmes March 5, 2018 Reply

    My income is $700 monthly,so i’m unable to afford a lot! I’m in need of an affordable internet.

  11. kat April 6, 2018 Reply

    I think all seniors over 62 should have lower cost of all utilities, dont have to file or pay taxes, and have discounts or no property and real estate taxes!!! all of us arent millionaires, or have tons of money put away or at our disposal. we earned our money but prices keep getting way outa our budgets. give us boomers a break will ya!!!

  12. Carol Durr April 17, 2018 Reply

    I am a Senior on a very Limited Income. I would Love to find a Low cost Internet Service. I also could use some help with my Utilities

  13. Hopeless May 9, 2018 Reply

    Oh my goodness, I have spent 3 days searching for a low cost landline phone in Brooklyn, ny. There is no such thing. You must have Verizon service before they will offer anything. Spectrum will never ever give you a nickel, so seniors do not waste your time, as the lifeline is a bunch of hooey. They talk but will never give seniors anything.

  14. Gloria June 6, 2018 Reply

    I live in a senior building. were only spectrum is allowed my internet. Is to high is there something I can do I can no longer effort it .I have no cable TV only internet.No dish or salites are allowed.

  15. Duane Rochester June 7, 2018 Reply

    Thank you for this list!

  16. Carol June 22, 2018 Reply

    I live in Appleton Wisconsin 54913. Is there senior discounted internet here?

  17. Carol June 22, 2018 Reply

    I know that you can get a free government phone.
    Is there also free internet?

  18. Carol June 22, 2018 Reply

    Is there free government internet?
    There is free government phones!

  19. Terry Pearson July 2, 2018 Reply

    My Social Security is my only income. Facing the dillema of living on fixed income is trying, to say the least. I live in a SECTION 8 assisted living bldg. in St. Louis, Mo. I’ve heard rumors of cable/ internet being available for $10 a month, for seniors. What must I do to apply and the requsites for qualifying would be a great, great help. Thanks

  20. Elyse Craver July 6, 2018 Reply

    I live off $1,408 per month social security. Spectrum is charging me $172 a month for internet and cable. I live alone so I really need both of these services. They will not offer me anything cheaper. Can you help me?

    • Rossie September 28, 2018 Reply

      That’s a lot have you ever called in to see what you can do to lower your bill and cable is not a need but the internet can be beneficial I make 1875 a month and I can’t even afford nor willing to pay $172 I don’t watch tv and and I use the internet on my phone but I’m also looking for another internet service for my computer

  21. b July 7, 2018 Reply

    i live in maryland. i need internet. my ss check is 680 a month. is there cheap internet here ?

  22. helen jouas July 20, 2018 Reply

    I need aphone and internet service cheap my husband has parkensons and I am paying 107.00 . for phone and internet.

    • Rossie September 28, 2018 Reply

      Omg 😮 phone service is cheap ask them for their basic plan don’t fall for the upsale gimmick questions.. ask for the simplest plan local calling, no call waiting no caller Id the phone service should be 15 that’s for att and cox as well as Verizon BE SURE TO SPECIFY LANDLINE ….. a lot of times to sell you the internet they quote you the price for VOI or digital phone service

  23. Jeanne October 28, 2018 Reply

    I have had a Comcast, rthe cheapest they offer, for the last 10 years. They have gone from 99.00 to 179.00. I’m on SS and after paying my bills, cannot pay that much. I need
    my internet and like watching TV. I also have a landline from Comcast. Is there another
    service in the Nashua NH area that is cheaper?

  24. Ellyn October 28, 2018 Reply

    Make $1400 a month and live off of disability with little to no money left over after bills are paid. Prescription drugs cost $185.00 a month
    Internet is expensive and can’t afford it.
    What is available in the Parkesburg Pa area or seniors who need internet.?

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