Two in five U.S. seniors lack sufficient broadband

Two in five U.S. seniors lack sufficient broadband

WASHINGTON (Axios): Twenty million U.S. seniors lack a high-speed wired connection to the internet, according to a new study by the nonprofit Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), which works to get seniors access to the internet.

Why it matters: Internet access has long been critical for seniors, but has become absolutely essential during the pandemic for access to healthcare, online shopping, social outlets and more.

By the numbers:

Black seniors are 2.5 times likelier and Latinos more than 3.3 times likelier than whites to lack fixed internet access.

Medicaid enrollees are more than 2.7 times likelier to lack fixed Internet access.

Rural Americans are 1.6 times likelier to lack fixed internet access.

Between the lines: While many of those without wired internet have a smartphone, the group notes that a larger screen is often needed to fully utilize internet-based services.

What they’re saying: “Getting older adults online has never been more urgent,” OATS said in its report. “The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted our nation’s systems for social support, communications, and health care, demonstrating that home-based internet and digital skills are an essential lifeline for older adults.”

What’s next: OATS has a goal to get 1 million more seniors online this year.

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