Internet Usage Rates Way Up but Too Many Seniors Still Lack Internet Access at Home
Over the last two decades, the percentage of adults age 65 and older who use the internet has shot up in Colorado and around the country – from 14% in 2000 to 73% in 2019.
But too many Colorado seniors lack access to affordable at-home broadband access, which limits them from engaging with family members online and benefiting from the news, information and entertainment that the internet provides.
In fact, when older adults lack access to the Internet at home, they are less likely to connect with other resources. Internet access – and digital literacy – are key for seniors to stay connected to family, to gain information about health and wellness, and to access health care information and services.
But for many seniors, the price of at-home Internet can be prohibitive.
The Internet Essentials program, which offers $10/month at-home high-speed internet access from Comcast, aims to address this challenge and ensure that as many seniors as possible experience the benefits of Internet access.
Comcast just announced a sweeping expansion of eligibility for the Internet Essentials program. Any low-income senior in Colorado is now eligible. Applicants simply need to show they are participating in one of more than a dozen different government assistance programs including Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans Pension, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), among others . A full list of these programs can be found at www.internetessentials.com.
Over the past three years, participation in the Internet Essentials program in Colorado jumped nearly 110% from 7,600 households enrolled in 2016 to 16,000 enrolled in 2019. But there are still many more low-income seniors in our community eligible for the $10/month internet access, free digital literacy training, and low-cost computer equipment that Internet Essentials offers.
The recent expansion of Internet Essentials more than doubled the number of low-income Coloradans eligible to receive low-cost at-home internet service.