Seniors: Why and How to Find the Perfect Internet Plan
You may be wondering if having access to the internet is worth the cost. You may be living on a fixed income, and the monthly cost of a subscription seems awfully expensive. Plus, accessing things online can seem complicated, overwhelming—even dangerous.
But many internet service providers (ISPs) now offer special plans or other features that allow you the ability to obtain internet service at a lower cost than other customers. And some of the best internet plans for seniors offer additional perks beyond lower cost internet plans.
Read on for some of the valuable reasons that you may want to use the internet, where to find internet services for seniors and how to choose the right internet plan for your needs.
What Can Seniors Do with Internet Access?
Many seniors rely on the internet to keep in touch with loved ones and find new information. Namely, seniors often:
- Send and receive emails to stay in touch with family and friends
- View pictures from their kids and grandkids through email and social media
- Shop online
- Search for new information, especially on health-related topics
Beyond this, you can use the internet for similar reasons as all of your younger counterparts:
- Staying up-to-date on the latest news and local events
- Finding new recipes
- Learning about your family tree
- Finding new friends and connecting with like-minded seniors that have similar interests or hobbies
- Completing online education courses
- Planning vacations, including booking flights and hotel rooms, renting cars and arranging for sightseeing tours
- Catching up on your favorite TV shows
Just like all other users, there are virtually unlimited options when considering what you can do with internet access—provided that you have an easy-to-use internet service and any necessary coaching.
Exploring the internet potentially leads to new opportunities to connect with others every day. The Pew Research Center indicates that when seniors have internet access, going online becomes an, “Integral part of their daily lives.”
What Kind of Internet Plans Do Seniors Need?
You probably do not need the most expensive internet service plan with the fastest available internet speed and technologically advanced programs.
When you’re using the internet mainly for sending email messages, engaging with loved ones or searching for information online, you need an up-to-date yet simple internet plan. In this instance, you don’t need the same features and speeds that some internet users need to play online games or stream Netflix videos for hours at a time—and so you shouldn’t pay for that sort of service.
If you do, in fact, plan to stream your favorite shows on a regular basis or store and share your family photo library online—or if you just want a more seamless internet experience—you may want to choose a plan with more bandwidth.
Some companies now offer basic plans for those people that do not need or want a lot of extras—removing unnecessary buttons, links, tabs and other features that could be confusing. In general, you’ll want to find a plan with easy-to-understand features and affordable costs that you feel comfortable engaging with.
How Much Do Senior Internet Plans Cost?
The cost of internet services for seniors varies with the company and the internet service plan. While some companies do not provide internet plans or discounts specifically for seniors, many seniors meet other discount qualification requirements. When you qualify for affordable internet service, plans start as low as $9.95 per month.
You can maximize your savings by choosing internet service from one of the companies that offers other discounts for eligible seniors, such as no installation fees, no required deposits or no minimum service contract period. Consider other perks such as the companies that offer seniors a low-cost computer and free basic computer or internet instruction programs, along with their low-cost internet plan.
Where to Find Internet Service for Seniors
Do not limit your internet plan options to the first internet service provider that shows up in your online search or the only name you recognize from television commercials. Firstly, make sure you know what providers and plans are available in your area. You can also trust in resources that help seniors with their needs and that provide useful information, such as SeniorLiving.org.
Finally, ask trusted family members or friends about their experience with specific companies that provide internet services—no matter which type of plan the person has now or had in the past.
Tip 1: Have you recently moved to a new residence? You may now live in the service area of a preferred internet provider that offers the best internet for seniors.
Tip 2: Do you live in a senior apartment or senior facility? Check with the apartment manager or your case manager to see if there are limitations on which internet provider serves your residence. Some apartment complexes or senior residences have contracts with specific internet providers, potentially limiting your options.
Always Read the Fine Print
The most important aspect for finding the right senior internet service plan is doing your research.
Sure, those television commercials and internet service advertisements that you receive in the mail seem like great options. Remember, they are advertisements, not necessarily a true indication of the exact services, monthly costs, installation fees, extra equipment costs or other fees billed to customers.
Always read the fine print. Some companies indicate that internet plans for seniors are for a limited time period. At the end of that time, the company offers other plan options to the customer, which are sometimes at regular cost or near regular cost. The fine print provides additional information regarding service limitations and extra costs.
The good news is that there are plenty of good, affordable plans out there. Internet service providers today realize that some seniors were left out of the opportunity to obtain affordable internet service because of their fixed income. Several internet providers took measures to ensure that seniors have the same opportunity to enrich their lives through the internet as other demographics.
You now have the opportunity to choose internet service that enhances your lifestyle and puts a large amount of knowledge and resources at your fingertips at a cost that is within your budget.
This advice was compiled partially from SeniorLiving.org.