Internet Providers and Seniors: What Is the Best Service for You?

Oct 3rd, 2013 | By | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

Senior Computer Use Increasing

Seniors are embracing computer technology like never before. Although they remain the least likely demographic group to surf the Web, recent reports have painted a picture of tech-savvy grandparents who regularly take advantage of modern conveniences like email and social networking. A 2012 Pew Internet study reported that more than half of those 65 and older routinely go online to use the Internet or message loved ones. Some 34 percent of these senior Internet users log onto networking sites such as Facebook and a whopping 86 percent routinely send emails.

Are you ready to join the Internet revolution and take advantage of the ways technology can be helpful to you, but simply don’t know where to begin? Well, you certainly aren’t alone. With all the technical jargon and confusing acronyms that are involved, getting connected to the Internet can be intimidating. As your grandchildren throw around specialized terms like “ISP” and “bandwidth,” you might be left scratching your head.

However, finding the right Internet service doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking chore. Like any other purchase, it is simply a matter of matching your particular needs with the benefits offered by an appropriate provider. Here are a few high-speed options that you will want to consider:

Seniors Learn About the Internet

  • DSL – Short for Digital Subscriber Line, these services are often slower than those of other broadband providers, but they are typically fine for everyday Internet and email use.
  • Cable – Unlike DSL, cable broadband doesn’t slow down as you get farther from the provider’s central office. It is generally fast enough to handle any online application, but may cost a bit more than DSL.
  • Fiber Optic Service – Otherwise known as FiOS, this service uses fiber optic lines to deliver the highest speeds on the market. However, FiOS is currently available only in select markets. More information about this super fast Internet option can be found at

In order to make a more informed decision, you will want to become familiar with the following terms:

  • Bandwidth – Generally speaking, bandwidth is the measure of Internet network connection speed. The higher your bandwidth, the faster your computer will load webpages, display pictures, send email messages, and play music and video. Bandwidth is typically measured in mbps (megabits per second) or kbps (kilobits per second). Home connection speeds typically range between 28.8 kbps and 56 kbps.
  • Browsing – Closely related to searching, browsing is one of the primary ways that people find information online. Websites often feature numerous links that can lead visitors to other sites of interest. Browsing consists of clicking on these links and examining all information that is relevant to you.

  • High-speed Access – High-speed access refers to any broadband Internet connection that offers bandwidth and connection speeds that are significantly higher than traditional “dial-up” services. This allows for the transmission of data (such as e-mail and webpages) at a much faster rate. Common high-speed access services include DSL, cable broadband, fiber optic services (FiOS), and satellite services.
  • ISP – Short for “Internet service provider,” these entities provide Internet connection for individuals, households, and businesses. ISPs are also commonly referred to as “access providers.”
  • Searching – Like browsing, searching allows you to find information and services on the Internet. In order to search, you must make use a local or Internet-wide search engine (like Google or Yahoo) by entering in a targeted search term. The search engine will then produce a wide number of websites that relate to your chosen term.
Paul Beebe: Paul is a Northwestern grad with degrees in information science and Web design. He recently quit his day job to get his own technology company up and running, and he sure hopes blogging pays the bills in the meantime.

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