Ron Schlagheck, ingeniero jubilado de la NASA y aficionado a la tecnología, está agradecido por tener una conexión rápida a internet en su casa rural cerca de Winchester (TN). “Me gusta tener acceso a la información”, afirma Schlagheck, de 73 años, voluntario de AARP Tennessee, cuya carrera consistió en administrar equipos internacionales que supervisaban las reparaciones del telescopio espacial Hubble y entregaban cargamentos científicos al Skylab, misiones del trasbordador espacial y la Estación Espacial Internacional. Recientemente, ayudó a AARP a plantear ante la legislatura de Tennessee la necesidad de expandir el acceso a la banda ancha (otro nombre para internet de alta velocidad). “Tenemos tantas comunidades rurales con acceso muy limitado a internet o sin ningún acceso”, dice. En todo el país, el personal y los voluntarios de AARP como Schlagheck trabajan para crear conciencia del potencial para la banda ancha y están convenciendo a los legisladores para que encuentren soluciones a las brechas de cobertura de internet (lo que se llama “brecha digital”), que son frecuentes en muchos lugares, en particular en las comunidades de bajos ingresos. Los expertos afirman que estas áreas suelen ser las últimas en tener banda ancha y, a menudo, a velocidades más bajas, lo que pone a la gente de estas comunidades en una continua desventaja. El acceso a la banda ancha asequible, confiable y realmente de alta velocidad puede aumentar la igualdad y hacer que las comunidades sean más habitables para todos. Si bien la banda ancha es un tema de creciente activismo, es ideal para AARP, indica Coralette Hannon, coordinadora del trabajo de activismo de telecomunicaciones a nivel estatal y local. “La banda ancha en casa, ya sea por medio de dispositivos móviles o computadoras, presenta oportunidades particularmente prometedoras para los adultos mayores”, dice Hannon. “La banda ancha no solo ayuda a que las personas mantengan relaciones sociales, sino que les permite el acceso a servicios médicos, entretenimiento, educación a distancia, telemedicina y otras actividades que contribuyen a envejecer bien”. Así es como se hace:
As a retired NASA engineer and technology enthusiast, Ron Schlagheck is grateful for a fast Internet connection at his rural home near Winchester, Tenn. “I like to have access to information,” said Schlagheck, 73, a volunteer for AARP Tennessee whose career involved managing international teams that oversaw repairs to the Hubble Space Telescope and delivered scientific payloads on Skylab, Space Shuttle missions, and the International Space Station. Lately, he’s helped AARP make the case to Tennessee legislators that they need to expand access to broadband – another name for high-speed Internet. “We have so many rural communities that have very limited access to the Internet or none at all,” he said. Across the country, AARP staff and volunteers like Schlagheck are working to build awareness of the potential for broadband and are convincing policymakers to find solutions to Internet coverage gaps – the so-called Digital Divide – that are prevalent in many places, especially low-income communities. Experts say these areas are often the last to get broadband and often at slower speeds, leaving people in these communities at an ongoing disadvantage. Access to affordable, reliable, and truly high-speed broadband access has the ability to improve equity and make communities more livable for all. While broadband is a burgeoning advocacy topic, it’s an ideal one for AARP, says Coralette Hannon, who coordinates the association’s work on state and local telecommunications advocacy. “Home broadband, whether it’s through mobile devices or home computers, holds especially promising opportunities for older people,” Hannon said. “Broadband helps keep people socially connected, but it also enables access to healthcare services, entertainment, distance learning, telehealth, and other activities that contribute to successful aging.” Here’s how:
Information privacy button on computer keyboard
In today’s digitally connected world, I worry about the lack of control I have over the privacy of my personal information. And I’m not alone. A Pew survey found 91 percent of adults strongly agree that consumers have lost control of how companies collect and use their personal information.
are you ready ?
Digital Readiness
Deep trench for fiber cable
Frustration with sluggish, expensive or unavailable broadband has prompted a growing number of communities to find other options. Some 89 cities and towns in the U.S. have launched their own fiber-to-the-home networks, which many experts say is the fastest and most reliable way to access the Internet.
fiber-optic roll-out with worker
Affordable access to high-speed Internet networks provides communities with a powerful platform to help meet the challenges - and take advantage of the opportunities - associated with an aging population. This approach to community development deserves more attention from supporters of both age-friendly communities and community broadband networks.
Why older people need Internet access and how it can help both family caregivers and care recipients
High-speed Internet can be key to living independently (also known as " aging in place"). You can go online or get smartphone apps that help you monitor  chronic diseases, work from home to care for a loved one or prevent or delay functional decline with game systems that help you stay physically active. And, don't forget the ability to be socially connected through email, online forums and message boards.
We've talked about it before, but it just keeps coming up in the news! The baby boomer generation has such a great presence online - and the nation is taking notice.
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