Broadband internet guide for seniors and pensioners
- Why get broadband?
- Light user broadband plans
- Senior discounts
If you have never had internet access or only ever had a dial-up connection, getting broadband internet could add an entire new dimension to your life.
Broadband will allow you to call your grandkids for free via Skype, view photos of your family on Facebook, do online shopping on websites like eBay, Getprice and Amazon, buy your groceries online and get them delivered straight to your home, pay all your bills and do your banking at home, send emails, read the news, watch TV over the internet like ABC iView, play games, write a blog (online journal), listen to internet radio and podcasts, as well as watching video clips your family has posted online.
If you become broadband savvy you could even download feature length films to watch, or whole music albums. The entire world awaits and will be accessible from your own home.
See all broadband plans for light users.
Don’t be fooled by clever companies who put the name ‘senior’ on their internet packages. Do research and find out your best options. Together with the $11 per month ‘Communication Allowance’ from Centrelink (derived from a combined $33 quarterly landline phone and internet subsidy), you should be able to get a good ADSL broadband plan without breaking the bank. Having access to a good internet connection can actually save you money, as many retailers and utilities offer discounts on shopping and bills for those who pay online.
Sadly, senior citizens in Western society are often seen as being behind the times in terms of technology. Many people think their grandparents will be happy with a 64kbps dial-up internet connection, and in some cases they will be. However, dial-up internet is from the age of dinosaurs when compared with ADSL broadband. Seniors aren’t that old!
Pensioners deserve a good, stable and fast broadband connection, and for a reasonable price. Speed is important because webpages load up much faster and streaming content - as you would it you were making a video call - becomes possible. The slowest broadband plan will still be up to four times faster than dial-up, with the added benefit that you can still make and receive calls on your landline while accessing the internet.
Cheap broadband plans for pensioners
In metropolitan areas you may be able to get ADSL2+, which is an incredibly fast, yet relatively cheap form of broadband internet that works on an active phone line. Here are some of the best ADSL2+ plans currently on the market. However, plans change quickly (usually for the better), so it is in your best interest to ask if anything new has come up.
Cheap ADSL2+ broadband internet plans
TPG: TPG has an incredibly cheap ADSL2+ phone bundle for only $40 per month, including both the internet and telephone line rental. This plan is for light users, with only 3GB in peak time, and 7GB in off-peak. However, if you do use a little bit more data, for $50 you can get 15GB in peak time and 15GB in off-peak. Call 1300 106 571 for more help with TPG plans.
iPrimus: iPrimus has the ADSL2+ Starter Plus 15GB (5GB peak + 10GB off-peak) plan for $29.95 per month. This is a stand-alone broadband plan, so you’ll need to have an active phone line as well. You may be able to get the cheaper $20 Telstra landline rental, so your combined price for one of the fastest internet connections in Australia would be $50 a month. iPrimus modems are very cheap, and some plans come with free local phone calls. Call 1300 137 794 for more help with iPrimus plans.
Exetel: Exetel has an ADSL2+ home phone bundle that costs $30 for the landline and $20 for 20GB of peak broadband. Off-peak you get a huge 180GB. Again, this plan is $50 for the ADSL2+ bundle. If you go over your 20GB limit, which isn’t very probable as it’s quite a large amount of data (especially for novice internet users), Exetel charges $1 per GB. This is incredibly cheap if you consider some other internet providers charge 15 cents per Mb ($150 per GB!) for excess data usage. Call 1300 106 571 for more help with Exetel plans.
Engin: Engin offers both unlimited free local phone calls as well as free national STD calls on their $69.99 ADSL2+ 10GB phone bundle plan. This is great for people who call interstate a lot. Or, for $49.99 you can get free local calls and 2GB of data. Engin’s modem is free on a 24-month contract. Call 1300 121 064 for more help with Engin plans.
Cheap ADSL1 broadband internet plans
If you live in the outer suburbs or in a regional location you may only be able to receive ADSL1 internet. This is priced by how fast the connection is, and comes in 256kbps, 512kbps, 1,500kbps and 8,000kbps speeds. As dial-up internet is only 64kbps, all of these speeds will be faster, but the general consensus is if you want to have a true broadband experience you should get at least 1,500kbps. This will allow you to make VoIP calls (like Skype) and stream TV (like ABC's iView) without any problems. ADSL1 is usually more expensive than ADSL2+, because it is not as competitive an industry.
Exetel: Exetel has a very cheap ADSL1500 plan for $35 per month with 10GB in peak, and 10GB in off-peak. This is stand-alone internet, so you’ll need to pay for a Telstra landline separately. Together your bill could be as little as $55 for quite a fast broadband connection. Call 1300 106 571 for more help with Exetel plans.
TPG: TPG has a very cheap ADSL256 plan for $29.99 a month with 10GB in peak, and 15GB in off-peak. This is a good plan for people who want to step up from dial-up speed, but true broadband enthusiasts would consider this to be quite a slow speed. Call 1300 106 571 for more help with TPG plans.
Cheap Mobile Wireless broadband internet plans
In certain locations you won’t be able to access ADSL broadband, so Mobile Wireless broadband will be your best option. This is especially true for rural areas, or regional locations too far away from a telephone exchange. Mobile Wireless works via a small USB dongle with a SIM card.
The USB dongle receives a signal from a mobile phone tower. It is not always the most reliable form of broadband, as signals can drop out depending on your geographical location, but much of the time most people don’t have any issues.
Mobile Wireless post-paid
Vodafone: Vodafone has a post-paid $15 a month plan with 1.5GB. The USB modem costs $49, and you are not under contract. This is a good plan for light users. Call 1300 106 571 for more help with Vodafone plans.
Virgin Mobile: Virgin has a 1GB plan for $14 per month, but you have to source your own USB dongle. This is also a month-to-month contract term. Virgin has a 12-month contract with free USB modem and 1GB for $19 per month. Call 1300 106 571 for more help with Virgin plans.
Mobile Wireless Prepaid
Some people want a prepaid Mobile Wireless plan, as they fear excess fees charged by the Mb. The only issue you’ll need to consider is how long your data lasts, as smaller plans usually only go for 1-month periods.
Vodafone: Vodafone has a prepaid Mobile Wireless plan for $29 with 2GB included. Unused data can be rolled-over to the next month if you recharge before the 30-day period expires. This is a great option for users wanting internet access without a contract. Call 1300 106 571 for more help with Vodafone plans.
How to avoid any hidden costs
Seniors and pensioners need to watch every cent they spend, so it is good to be aware of any costs or expenses a broadband plan may have hidden up its sleeves. Some extra costs you may not have anticipated are a contract set-up fee, modem and delivery fees, excess usage charges, telephone deposit and telephone call charges. Make sure to ask each internet provider about these costs when you are comparing prices between companies.