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‘Emergency Broadband Benefit Program’ Transitions to the New “Affordable Connectivity Program”

On December 31, the FCC launched the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). This program, created by Congress in the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, is a longer-term replacement for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program.

Communities working to become age- and dementia friendly are encouraged to promote this opportunity to help ensure households can afford the internet connections they need for work, school, health care, and more. Continue reading

AP-NORC Poll Highlights Telehealth Use and Equity for Older Adults

Use of telehealth has been common during the pandemic among adults age 50 and older, but that use has also brought concerns around equity, according to a survey of adults in America age 50 and older by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

While older adults, according to the poll, like the ease of scheduling visits, doing so sooner than in-person appointments would be available, and with specific clinicians, there is a concern about a lower quality of care. There are also a range of issues with technology access. Continue reading

Tools to Help Older Adults Prepare for 3G Network Shutdowns Shared by NCLER

According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and as covered in many media outlets, including the Boston Globe, mobile carriers are shutting down their 3G networks, which rely on older technology, to make room for more advanced network services, including 5G.

This also impacts certain medical devices and MHAC has learned of companies going through major processes of upgrading devices like Personal Emergency Response Systems (PERS). Continue reading

Broadband Equity Commission Invites MHAC to Present on Older Adults and the Digital Divide

This past week, the Mass. Healthy Aging Collaborative was pleased to present a statewide perspective on older adults and digital equity to the Massachusetts Broadband Equity Commission.

MHAC is among many organizations and stakeholders that have labeled technology as a social determinant of health, since the pandemic elevated the importance and use of technology, especially among older adults. Continue reading

AARP Survey Highlights Tech Adoption and Perceived Barriers Among Grandparents

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, significantly more grandparents than non-grandparents purchased smartphones (32% vs. 22%) and Smart TVs (24% vs. 11%) than they did in the 12-months prior, according to AARP research.

Ranking the top barriers to adopting new technology, survey respondents identified cost (28%), lack of knowledge (24%), and privacy issues (22%) at the top of the list. Continue reading